From: Kathy & Ken
Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2000 115943 -0800
Subject: [hix] Dan & CJB at the Humbug Hoedown

Hi all,

We're back from our trek to Santa Cruz to see Dan and the Christmas Jug Band, at the KPIG Humbug Hoedown. Hope some of you out there got to listen to it on the webcast on KPIG's site.

We got to the Catalyst at about quarter after 6, thinking we would grab a bite to eat at their restaurant before getting in line at 7 or so, for doors at 8. But the line had already started forming, so we took our place. By 7PM the line was around the corner, and lots of people were trying to score spare tickets for the sold-out show. We shared a sandwich while standing in line, and watched the Santa Cruz street show go by.

From listening in on our line-mates conversation, we discerned that the thing to do once inside was to head for the balcony. As soon as the doors opened, we made a beeline for the few balcony seats, to find that it was closed off to all except KPIG personnel and their guests. So we detoured into the cavernous barn of a hall, with some tables and chairs set up around the perimeter of a large open area in front of the stage. This was euphemistically referred to as the "dance floor" earlier in the evening, but we knew it would soon be "the place where everyone who got there after 8:30 stands in front of you so you can't see anything from where you're sitting". We were not disappointed. (It was referred to by someone on the KPIG website's Pig Squeals as a "mosh pit" later in the evening, so we guess it's not all bad that we didn't stick around after the CJB.)

Robert Earl Keen was the headliner for the night, and many in the Hoedown audience came dressed for Tex-cess. The stage was decorated with a huge REK backdrop for his "Wild Shiner Nights" tour theme. As in, Shiner, Texas, and presumably Shiner Beer. Nothing personal, but after our combined 40 years in Texas, we fail to appreciate this in the same way as many of our fellow Hoedowners. One couple sitting near us, dressed in matching multi-colored Garth-Goes-To-The-Rodeo shirts (which were so popular on TNN's "Club Dance"), asked the fella at the next table to take a photo of them in their his-n-hers glory. The folks in back of us pleaded for the "Wild Shiner Nights" tent card on our table as a souvenir. As I handed it to them, I wondered how much it would fetch on eBay.

Fortunately, Dan and the CJB took the stage at 9PM sharp. (One good thing about having it broadcast...) The lineup was Our Man Dan on vocals, percussion, dobro, jug, and miniature washboard, Tim "Brain Trust" Eschliman on guitar and percussion, Austin DeLone on piano, guitar and accordion, Paul Rogers on piano and accordion. Lance Dickerson on drums and washboard, Blake Richardson on string and washtub bass, Adam Gabriel on guitar, and we're not sure, but we think it was Jim Rothermel on sax and clarinet. Tunes were, in no particular order:

Winter Wonderland
Christmas Time Is Here
Santa Don't Do It
Washboard Road
Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit
Merry Christmas, Baby
Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Christmas Card

Dan looked like he was enjoying himself, and he treated the crowd to some jazzy vocals and cool dance moves. Looks like all the road work has kept him really limber! We have to admit, we are a bit sad that this will be his only appearance this year with the CJB, since they have been such a memorable part of our Bay Area holiday rituals.

The set ended just as much on time as it began, as the giant red LED clock on stage said 1001 as the CJB finished their set. We figured they wouldn't be back, since Keen's band's equipment was behind the CJB, ready to set up ASAP. We were willing to stand for the CJB's set, but didn't really care for either standing for all of Robert Earl Keen, or sitting down and looking at people's butts for all of Robert Earl Keen. If we weren't interested enough to go catch his act while we lived in Texas, we didn't think it would be so much fun to hang around last night and not even be able to relax and enjoy ourselves, so we headed out while the getting was good.

It definitely wasn't "Dan's People" at this show, for the most part. We thought the billing to be kind of odd. When we got home, we checked the Pig Squeals on the KPIG website, and found this post from someone who simply doesn't get it:

Sunday - Dec 03, 2000 - 1218am
From Birdman

gotta say, that set by Dan Hicks sucked. I gotta say, I was glad not to have paid to be there... Danny Boy, the egg nog has gotten to your noggin. That jug band is junk band in need of a bandage. You would be great at a retirement home for morons. Sorry, but you were not witty, not creative and not worth the price of the ticket. Dip into the blues scale when all else fails. And be sure that your lyrics (sic) plead to the audience to buy your CDs... Are you desperate or just cynical?

We wonder what "Birdman" woulda thought of Shorty? (Shorty did *not* make it to the Catalyst. Hope he will be all rested and ready for Christmas In Hicksville!)

Kathy & Ken