After much hanging out, garden geeking, and petting of cats, we headed out for the show. This venue has a couple of big advantages over the Rams Head in Baltimore. The Baltimore one allows smoking (even at all-ages shows) and has maybe 3-4 dozen seats, everyone else has to stand. The sight lines for most of the standees aren't very good, either. The Annapolis version has seating for everybody, and is non smoking. They also serve food and drink. The arrangement is a little odd, the room is a long thin rectangle, with the stage in the middle of one long wall. This keeps anybody from being too far from the stage, but since the aisles run lengthwise, the food servers block the stage when they're coming or going (which is pretty frequent).
The show was a good one, Junior Brown was in a good mood and enjoying himself, and the sound mix was decent (a little too much high midrange, which made some of the higher guitar notes painfully piercing). The last show we'd seen him at, he'd been in a foul mood and the first few numbers were played in a somewhat flat, aggressive style, but then he got to guitar noodling. This man (like any true guitarist) loves just playing around with a guitar. So he just let loose with maybe 12 solid minutes of playing snippets of things, bizarre chords, warping strings with the tuners while playing them, that sort of thing. And when he was done, he was in a much better mood.
At the Rams Head show, there was still noodling and medleys, but he was just doing it for his and our enjoyment, not as mood therapy. We'd kind of hoped Dick Dale (who was playing there earlier) or Steve Keith (who's local to Annapolis, and has showed up at Junior Brown shows before) would turn up and sit in for a couple of numbers, but that didn't happen. It was a good show, and the time flew by (it felt like a short set, but fizzygeek checked her watch and he'd been playing for quite a while.
We had a good time in Alexandria, hit a chocolate shop, bought some excellent cheese (and found some saffron salt we had to try), and sniffed around at the other local shops. One woman having ice cream with her young daughter at The Dairy Godmother noticed my shirt (Roger and Jessica Rabbit with a surfboard), so we told her we were going to the Dick Dale show. She was quite interested, so we told her it was that night at the Birchmere, and she was talking it up to her daughter.
We had planned to have dinner beforehand, but couldn't find a place that grabbed us, so we ended up eating at the Birchmere. I tried the cajun macaroni & cheese (which was decent, but hardly cajun, but the house hot sauce cured that). Andrea had the honey mustard chicken, but swapped buffalo wing sauce for the honey mustard. That sauce was good too, but a poor match for the mac & cheese I tried it with. We ended up at a table near a corner of the stage which gave an oblique view, but we were close enough to see the goings-on.
Dick was having a great time, and just ripped through a bunch of numbers, singing and playing guitar, drums, trumpet, harmonica, and even piano. He also did the only version of Taiko Guitar Hero I've ever seen, playing a bass with drumsticks, taiko style. He also composed a piano melody on the fly, having the audience call out numbers from 1 to 8 and using those notes (from a major scale). He was having a good time picking on both the older and younger people in the audience, flirting with all the women in range, and generally enjoying the vibe.