There is always something to do in SoCal. Tuesday night after a long weekend seemed like the right kind of night to step out, away from dvr’d Wheel of Fortune episodes and join society. Five minutes surfing the internet, and I was printing tickets to Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors show at the BellyUp.

A thick marine layer of fog parted as I traveled north on The 5 to Solana Beach. We’ve been to the BellyUp before. It’s one of our favorite venues even tucked away from the hustle of San Diego in a sleepy beach town. There is no need to go over in detail how great the sound is, what a cool vibe the place has and how you shouldn’t go for the sight-lines to the stage.

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors concert with Sean McConnell at the BellyUp Solana Beach

I wasn’t interested in doing a review of the venue or even the band. Drew Holcomb killed it. Opener Sean McConnell had pipes any organ would be jealous of. So, I just took notes on my little memo pad of what I saw. What I thought. It went a little something like this.

Lightning Bolts of Awesomeness

• People taking pictures of people taking pictures. A never-ending story in low light. Another one of those sights that have become ubiquitous when the fluorescents fade to neon & the ghostly whispers of cigarette smoke long since dissipated floats on, over and around the beams.

• Sometimes a beer doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be cold. 

• Sitting against the wall looking at out everyone and no one has their phone out! No recording, no flashes going off. Just people taking in the sound. I’m so proud of us. Experiencing instead of documenting. Who knew?

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors concert with Sean McConnell at the BellyUp Solana Beach• Going to a concert alone always leaves me with a blissful sort of melancholy. A cool warmth that forces me to bundle back into myself & reclaim parts of me that may have been misplaced. This is true of solo movies, early morning cups of coffee at the beach and hiking in the woods.

• The courage it must take to stand up on stage with just a six-string for company, stare out into a crowd of expectation & natural blondes only to smile & wink before launching into song. Sean McConnell can blow, and make it feel natural. Also, he looks like a friend of a friend named Beau, but with more hair product. I wonder if they are related?

• This song about a snapshot reminds me of a girl I knew. I know. A musical description of someone’s personality without her & him ever crossing paths.

• The red fades to orange to burnt wooden notes. Gravel pours forth. Blues splatter all over the walls. It’s a good ol’ fashioned bloody soul of a show. Laying it all out there. YEEEAaaaaaAHHHH! (That’s how it was written in my notes).

• I’ve heard these songs before, but the words came out of someone else’s mouth in a different order. The voices a different timbre but the heart, the sentiment the same. The hoots, the metaphors, the ease at which I, we, understand them the same. The end resulting in a full, if melancholic hearts, weary minds & my beer half gone.

• Would you move to be closer to a bar or a venue you loved?
…Maybe if the drinks were cheaper.

• This guy (S.McConnell), for this song, sounds like a countrified Timberlake who grew up inspired by Marc Cohn, and brought to life by a weird orgy involving the Willy Porter, The Black Keys and Grace Potter. It must have been a helluva night.

• The BellyUp should be recording all of these shows & selling digital downloads at the end of the night. Split the proceeds with the bands directly. I’d buy that. The record looks cool but I can’t play it in my car or on my phone. The sound here is incredible. Makes up for the pole blocking my view.

• Everyone thinks, “This is my song.”

• Future song idea: Lovin’ you ain’t easy but you gotta pull it from somewhere.

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors concert with Sean McConnell at the BellyUp Solana Beach

• Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors start off with “American Beauty.” Sure enough the drummer is a bald-headed, bearded man. Every band has to have one legally at this point. Usually, it’s the drummer or bassist. We’re everywhere. Just biding our time. Eventually, we’ll rise up as one and take our rightful place on the throne.

• This woman next to me smells incredible. Like a sage forest or nice Massage Envy shop.

• When did crowds get so subdued? I love that they are all paying attention but this doesn’t feel like the beginning of Roadhouse at all.

• How much time do I spend thinking as a consumer instead of just thinking? Hmm. Deep.

• God, that shitty beer was good.

Lightning Bolts of AwesomenessAnd that was the end of my notes. It was a good show. If I learned one thing from watching Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors & Sean McConnell pouring their hearts out for a crowd of weekday music lovers it was this:

Whatever you do, music, art, accounting, city planning, just do You. Do it your way. Because why the fuck not? Who knows better? Do you.

Thanks for the inspiration guys. And BellyUp thanks again for a great experience, and think about some weekday beer specials. Just saying.

Check out the full up-coming concert schedule at BellyUp here.