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“It’s like a sneeze guard,” the younger, ponytailed man says. He has not nonetheless concluded the tallboy of Seattle Cider in front of him, and is partaking in a thing like a dwell tunes tradition: bantering with the band. The band is certainly guiding a a little something like a sneeze guard, a plexiglass wall at the edge of the phase, but it can make the musicians glance significantly less like a salad bar distribute and a lot more like a museum show, some thing walled off and safeguarded from the sticky intimacies of community life—the breath, the contact, the droplet.

In this exhibit: two adult males with guitars and the Honky Tonkers spelled out behind them on a cutup of license plates that recollects a ransom notice. The singer, Ricky Gene Powell, wearing a cowboy hat and a pink western shirt included in very small horses, croons country tune following region tune.

This is the to start with indoor concert I have been to considering the fact that February of 2020. I am now regarded completely vaccinated, so I am by itself on a Thursday night time, seated at a table on the dance floor of Greenlake’s Little Purple Hen. The bar was, so far as I can explain to, the to start with songs venue to get started keeping indoor concerts in the metropolis, just after the county went into Period 2 of reopening again in February. We’re now in Stage 3, but other indoor live shows continue being unusual and liminal. Pioneer Square’s Owl N’ Thistle is yet again holding Tuesday night time jazz jams. I saw Marshall Legislation Band participating in in a parking great deal in Fremont a few weeks back. The Black Tones performed at the Museum of Flight and did a home in Gary Simmons’s The Engine Space at Henry Artwork Gallery Ishmael Butler will take up that role in June. Damien Jurado did a stint of tiny reveals in Ballard not long ago, that had been a minimal nearer to ordinary (no glass wall). But Neumos, the Tractor Tavern, the Moore, the Clock-Out Lounge? All lie tranquil.

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It is tiny shock that the Small Red Hen returned first it is a twanging anomaly in the community, a place bar in an indie metropolis, a squat and aging setting up throughout the avenue from a new combined-use compound that contains, among the other items, a day spa, a Pure Barre studio, a PCC, and a farm-to-desk cafe. At the Hen, the unique scrawled on a board is a pound of rib-eye for $19.99—with either fries or salad. Previously its dance floor hosted boot-shod line dances nightly, the city’s oldest honky tonk. Tonight the floor is dancerless, a vacant house given over to a few tables—me at a single, the ponytailed male and the female with him at another. Close by a sheet of paper trapped to a article declares: “No Dancing.” All around the room sit other prospects, largely lone adult males scattered about. A number of groups in booths. A few a lot more fellas in back again, seeing baseball on Tv. The place smells less like a deep fryer than I’d be expecting, a lot more like cleansing products.

The musicians are able guitar solos pleasantly amble. That’s plenty for a female to my appropriate, in a pink floral shirt, who claps profusely. Other folks applauded way too, but the area just can’t escape a lonely bar vibe. I’d expected, before coming, to locate a location that had carried on unworried—the venue begun holding live exhibits back in February, following all. I assumed people might crack restrictions and dance. But, at the very least on this night, I’m completely wrong. The for a longer period I sit listening, the a lot more eerily apt this scene feels. 

The nation audio I like ideal is lonely. Here—with the band behind glass, and the other shoppers distant and scattered—all the audio feels this way. Prior to I finish my pint of Manny’s, the band trots through a music with the refrain “my lifestyle commences where the pavement ends.” It’s jaunty, and vaunts a wayward Western individualism (“he’s a backwoods Romeo son of a gun”). But coming immediately after more than a year of so quite a few of us feeling perplexingly individual—discrete entities trapped in our chambers of safety—it leaves me craving only for the thoroughly communal, so I increase and mask and go.