Ever have one of those moments when you meet one of your favorite musicians and get so tongue-tied with excitement that you fumble your words and make a complete fool of yourself? Yup. It was one of those evenings for this girl. I came face to face with Al Schnier on this fine Friday evening down at The Arch Street Tavern (again, thanks to Nectar’s Presents.) As for what came out of my mouth when I shook his hand, I have very little idea. Al is most widely known as one of the guitarists/songwriting forces in jam band moe. This evening he was in town supporting one of his newly born side-projects titled Floodwood with fellow moe.-mate, Vinnie Amico. The two gents along Woodenspoon‘s Jason Barady, Nick Piccininni, and Zachary Fleitz complete this all-American bluegrass/string band.
For those that follow my reviews, you will have read that I am a complete sucker for bluegrass and folk: Mandolins and banjos and fiddles, oh my! CT folk band The Shoutbacks were on stage as we walked into the venue. It is that time of the year where flannel shirts are coming out of storage, grown men let the facial hair run wild and the ladies get to break out their cutest winter hats and scarves. Amongst the crowd I spied gents of Floodwood throwing back a few pints and talking to their fans. It was easy to pick out the “moe.rons” in the room as the flocked around Al and Vinnie looking to sneak in a high five if they could.
The Arch has a very warm & cozy rustic feel to it with wood beams running through the high vaulted-like ceiling. As you walk in, the stage is set back in front of you under a few soft house lights. The back drop behind the drums is an old fireplace facade with tall mirrors flanking both sides providing a nice depth to the stage as well as the entire room. Floodwood took the stage and kept the crowd on their feet from start to finish. They all looked as if they were having the time of their lives performing together to such an energetic and intimate crowd.
A small crew of rambunctious ladies (I say that kindly) thought it a good time to start doing the dosey-doe front and center. And as they swung around from partner to partner, Nick fiddled his way into their minds and hearts! Mid-stage next to him stood Jason on the mandolin with a dapper looking vest and braided pigtails. Vinnie was set in the back middle looking happy as he ever is with that large shit-eating grin (I also say that kindly.) At the point when Nick and Jason stood atop their speakers and amps and went string to string, if you will, I could feel and see the energy level positively growing. Being in rooms like this with all of these amazing people is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world.
The boys took a quick break as “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King was playing over the house sound. I saw my opening to introduce myself to Al and spoil him with many well deserved compliments. I was a ball of nerves and never usually find myself feeling that way even around some of the more famous people I have encountered. But there was no more time to hesitate. I made my move and all I could get out was how awesome I thought he was and thanked him for all of the great music. And for being awesome. And then I walked away with a pounding heart and with a great image of he, Zach and myself…and some other fan that photo-bombed my moment! I completely forgot to tell him the one thing I wanted to: how insanely photogenic he is! I have captured some great shots of that man throughout the years! I hope the impression I leave in my photos is more captivating to him than my conversation! #wordfail
Floodwood will be releasing their debut album shortly into 2013. I myself am looking very forward to it. In the meantime, for those interested, you can stream or download some of their recent shows which include here to include their set from this past summers Summer Camp Festival. The Arch is growing into a great venue with the right people working towards the greater good of live music. In the coming weeks, its stage will host Ryan Montbleau Band, Mates of State and Marco Benevento and I will be there to capture it all!