Today was a hard day of work, tending the person I work for, installing glass tiles behind the vanities of a master bathroom. It was also extremely stressful dealing with rapid-setting mortar and keeping up with the cutting and the mixing. As have been happening regularly on this job, not long after getting home, sometimes before even showering, I have been passing out in deep sleep, completely wiping out the entire evening.
This evening, things took a whole new course.
Awoke after napping for about three hours, almost complete nightfall, to the battery backup unit for my computer beeping. The electricity was interrupted due to a bad lightning storm that also interrupted my sleep with loud thunder claps in its approach. At the first beeps, I turned over thinking this would be just a glitch, but it beeped again – and again.
I had to finally get up and shut down the computer safely and sat at the computer waiting for the electricity to come back on. Nothing doing! I had the idea of going onto my laptop computer to find out anything I could about the black-out, which at this point had a duration of about 20 minutes. I took the laptop out of the closet and began setting it up. Well, whilst doing this, the battery backup could not even support the modem and its blue lights peetered out. The last beep of the backup unit was a tiny chirp. I was now in complete darkness and had to pull out a candle and light it.
I went out to check my mail as it was getting hot in here. It looked like I got a pretty important piece of mail, so I decided to go to Shamrock’s Ale House, which was a few steps away from the mailboxes, to see what was going on there. I could see the Conn Gymnasium down the street had its lights, so this interruption was pretty local, or else what I was looking at was emergency lighting over there. I peered in the window of Shamrock’s and could make out a small crowd of people through the steamed-up window and I found the door propped open.
Light in the Darkness!
I went inside and was delighted to find an individual playing a Beatles song on his acoustic guitar, and a woman with a tambourine accompanying with the percussion in the near-darkness silhouetted by the emergency lights of the sports bar/restaurant.
I took my place at one of the high tables and set my mail down. One of the servers came over and asked what I wanted to drink and I just wanted some ice cold water. No food was being prepared of course.
The guitar player was providing a happy environment for the patrons who decided to stick out the black-out, going from one classic rock song to the next. As I sipped my water, the music was warding off the melancholy mood I came in with. I felt like I was with a group of people marooned on a desert island, making the best of the situation. There was clapping, dancing and cheering to the music coming from the guitar player, and some were singing along with him. Like a torch-bearer, the guitar player led all of us through the dark perpetuation, invoking his musical light with another Beatles tune. Some were snapping pictures with their smart phones and cameras.
All the sudden, as we were all grooving to the third song since I arrived, “Twang-yang-yang-yang!” the guitar player broke the G string on his guitar! At the melodious “Awww!” from the patrons, the guitar player went to looking for another string to replace it. I could not tell in the darkness if he had actually found another, near the lights of what I then noticed was a “TIPS” can, lighted round about by a few small battery-operated lights. Suddenly…
Electricity Comes Back On and Reveals True Identities…
Ka-THUNK! Whirr, Whirr! the darkeness was overcome by the restoration of the electricity and all the lighting and air conditioning came back on. There was a loud cheering from the patrons.
Before I could get up and head back to my apartment to get needed work done on my computer, the guitar player pulled out his electric guitar and it turned out this wasn’t just someone in there who happened to have an acoustic guitar with him – it was the “Just Friends” band here to do the entertaining for the house this Friday evening! The one doing the guitar playing was Paul. The two other members of the band were Shirly and Bryan. When the electricity came back, the house came alive with awesome tunes from the ’60s and ’70s! I became acquanted with the band members when I went over to the next table and asked if anybody had gotten a photo of the Paul playing during the black-out.
Nobody at the table did but I was directed to Shirley, who did get a couple photos with her old Coolpix Nikon camera. I asked her and she was delighted to show me what she had. I chose the snapshot I wanted and that she would send Paul over during a break to my table to get my details. During the conversation I told Shirley that I too, have a smaller version of the Coolpix camera and that it is still going strong for the age of it! Hers is about the same age mine is only hers is larger than mine though with the same exact controls on the back.
I wasn’t going home just yet. The music was just too awesome as it continued in the vein of classic-to-somewhat-obscure rock ‘n roll. Eric, the manager of Shamrock’s came over to my table and I ordered two fish sandwiches (one of which will be my lunch tomorrow) with sides from the small menu. There would be no burgers tonight. The grill was done and was being cleaned up. I ordered a Sprite with my sandwich. I did not have my wallet and needed to walk back to my apartment to get it. The owner said he would let me ring up a tab but I told him I live five minutes away in the apartment complex next door. I told Shirley on the way out that I would be right back…
The band continued to play, taking requests. When the break came, Paul came over to get my email address so he could send me the picture. I told him I wanted to write this article to describe my experience at Shamrock’s during the black-out. We went on with conversing. The owner, all of the band players and some patrons were very friendly to me. The band players told me their story after I got acquanted with them – notably Paul, how he and other started a band, “The East Side” before he got drafted into the Army and wound up in the Vietcong. When he completed his commission, he returned to find his band members totally messed-up on drugs and unable to play anymore. Paul gave me their card to contact them with my details. I listened to them play for a while more before I had to go home to get ready for work and go to bed. Before I left, Paul impersonated a female vocalist’s voice so well, covering a song originally released in 1966, that it could have been mistaken for the original! Now that’s some awesome playing!
A Happy End of a Hard Day!
When I got home, I did not hesitate to find details about their early band I did not find any though I didn’t look very hard. I am interested in getting some CDs from this band, especially songs that they might have done in 1967 before the draft occurred to him. I would be more than happy to have their contribution to the music history of the turbulent years in my collection! I will make it a point to come to Shamrock’s anytime the Just Friends are scheduled to appear there!
The black-out reminded me that we are vulnerable to being thrust back into stone-age technology at the whim of Nature, but this awesome band and equally awesome Shamrock’s have more than proven that, no matter the age, the heart can be warmed and troubles can be temporarily put on hold for an evening before bed!
I very highly recommend this band to any entity desiring top-notch Classic Rock entertainment for the house! Based out of Plant City, Florida, this band is ready to go! Contact information is below. They also play country music and I would suspect, some blues and folk as well!
[place copy of card front and back here to replace below]
Join Us For
Plant City, FL
Paul & Shirley – (813)982-1924
Bryan – (813)967-3822
Book ’em for your next event – You’ll be glad you did!