The entire 3 Minute Record staff attended the opening night of Twangfest 15 last night as Hayes Carll, Elizabeth Cook, and Kentucky Knife Fight turned The Pageant in St. Louis into a honky tonk (albeit with clean floors and bathrooms).
We throughly enjoyed ourselves talking about aspects of the St. Louis music scene to various involved parties - musicians, KDHX disc jockeys, record store clerks, writers, friends and fans - all while downing a few cold ones.
The venue slowly filled up over the course of the evening as sharply dressed fans ranging widely from 25-60 years old enjoyed the first evening of the St. Louis festival celebrating Americana and roots music. With the balcony closed, the lower portion of the venue filled to about three-quarters capacity at the peak. The discussion at the bar was a bit loud to hear the performers at times, but if you ventured off to the sides or down to the floor the sound was much clearer. While the sound for headliner Hayes Carll hit a nice level, Elizabeth Cook's set could have been louder. That said, the bottom end for opener Kentucky Knife Fight covered up the guitar sound somewhat.
Both Carll and Cook entertained the crowd with not only their music, but their sharp storytelling between songs. During his set, Carll mentioned that he had recently played The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Receiving a mixed reaction including more than a few boos from the crowd after his comment Carll acknowledged that he and most people seem to like Conan O'Brien better though he removed himself from playing favorites quipping, "I can't get involved in that shit I just wanna be on TV." Further, he advised that there are always celebrities who frequent the late night talk shows and the musicians get to meet them back stage all leading up him revealing dryly that they had met Kathie Lee Gifford at the Leno taping. In this vain, he continued the story by discussing how the band missed being on the Late Show with David Letterman even though they had travelled hundreds of miles to get there. When the found out they were bumped the band went back to the hotel and flipped on the television that night to see who was more important. There they saw that Letterman had every Sports Illustrated swimsuit model from the recent issue on the show. Carll joked, "I don't know if any of you have been in the green room at these shows, but they're pretty small. Something would have had to give."
As the evening wound to a close we talked to pals from Kentucky Knife Fight at their merch table in Suite 100 still riding the high of their performance. Just then, Twangfest opening night headliner Hayes Carll stepped up for a short autograph and picture session. Even though he looked tired from the tour and nearly two hour set he just played, here he was not more than 15 minutes after his performance ended. We played the role of excited (but cool) fans as Carll signed our "Operation" style posters (Shhh! Carll told me not to tell) , shook our hands and chatted with us for a few minutes.
For more, read Scott Allen's official review of the evening for the KDHX blog. Then, look for us Saturday at The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill for The Baseball Project, Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 and Marah.