I've still got some growing up to do, but I did most of it as a child in a little neighborhood off Grace Street in the heart of Greenwood. My older brother and I spent long afternoons riding our bikes through the streets surrounding nearby First Baptist Church and playing in our neighbors' backyards, where we found vegetable gardens and swing sets and a muddy creek. The neighborhood was filled with magnolia trees -- those are good for climbing -- and older ladies who wore capri pants and invited you onto their broken tile porches for a cold sweet tea. It was a magical place to be a kid.
Those were the good ol' 1990s, right before cellphones took over the world, before I knew what a "selfie" was and before I was old enough to care about anything but how fast I could race across the monkey bars when I showed off for Dad after he got home from work. That was back when I was learning things like how to catch lightning bugs. My first catch, in our neighbor Dot Wise's yard, ended in me peeing my pants and my brother practically rolling in the grass with laughter.
I wonder sometimes if we'd had smart phones then if we'd have been so busy trying to capture every memory that we might have missed the pleasure of the moment itself. I thank the good Lord the lightning bug incident isn't immortalized anywhere on film. (Instead, my brother gets to tell that story exactly as it is burned into his memory.)
Nothing burns good music into your memory like hearing and seeing it performed live by a talented musician. I found myself at Howard's on Main last Friday for just such a thing. The Bonnie Situation, our local '90s tribute band, played a high-energy show to a packed house, and that's no exaggeration. I haven't seen that many people in Howard's since last year's Festival of Discovery. It sure is good to see my favorite local bar alive and kicking.
Bonnie Situation absolutely rocked the house last weekend. On nearly every song, the crowd was singing along with lead singers Kenny Price and Rachel Davis, who performed '90s favorites like "Shine" by Collective Soul and "Better Man" by Pearl Jam. Kenny also moved the crowd with an acoustic version of Sir Mix a Lot's "Baby Got Back." As usual, Duane Terry worked his crazy magic on electric guitar and Russell Holley kept up an impressive pace on drums for a long night of upbeat songs. Austin Landers, who even took the time to sing happy birthday to his mom in the crowd that night, provided his signature, consistent rhythm for the band on bass.
I caught up with lead singer Rachel earlier this week to ask some questions about her background in music because I am downright impressed by her outstanding vocal performances. Rachel doesn't stand on stage and safely perform predictable songs; she absolutely goes for it. Last weekend she sang classics like "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy." She puts an incredible amount of energy into the songs she sings and told me she grew up singing with her mom, who "would encourage me to really belt out lyrics and see what my voice could do." Rachel said her mom "made it fun and would challenge me to 'take the high part' or whatever seemed most challenging."
Rachel also credits church choir for her ability to find harmonies in a song, and she said she's been influenced by "strong, unapologetic, female lead singers" like Aretha Franklin, Grace Slick, Rihanna and Janis Joplin. You should hear her sing "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes. I don't see enough female musicians out playing the weekend music scene, but we'll be alright if Rachel keeps blazing the trail. Follow The Bonnie Situation on Facebook so you can catch their next show live and in person, the way God intended.
I'll see you out there this weekend -- and now that I think of it, I might even turn my cellphone off, ride my bike to a gig, and make a memory the old-fashioned way.
Brooks lives in Greenwood. Find her on Facebook or Instagram, @laurabethbrooks, or email@example.com. Let her know if your bar is featuring a new drink or your band is playing next weekend.
Coming up this weekend
-- Stan Lockaby & Ronnie Goldman at Howard's on Main
-- Steve Hardy at The Mill House, 7-10 p.m.
-- Dave Mauldin at Inn on the Square, 6-9 p.m.
-- Honeybone Reunion Show at Howard's on Main, 8:30 p.m.
-- The Remedy at TW Boons, 9 p.m. until
-- OutShyne at Sports Break, 10 p.m.
-- Alex Davis at Montague's Restaurant
-- Ashby Stokes & Chris Hardy at Inn on the Square, 6-9 p.m.
-- Jake Bartley Band at The Dock, 9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 22
-- Steven Galloway at Inn on the Square, 6-9 p.m.
Shout-out to Austin Landers for contributing to the weekly gig update. Follow him on Facebook for last-minute performance updates. Don't see a start time listed above? Most bands open up around 9 p.m. on the weekends, with gigs at Montague's or Inn on the Square typically starting earlier, around 6 p.m.