Show Type – Hootenanny
Main Attraction – Al Scorch
“Woooooooo-wee. Boy, that was a miiiighty fine a-pickin’ and a-singin’”
-O Brother, Where Art Thou
Hootenanny [hoot-n-an-ee, hoot-nan-]
noun, plural hootenannies.
1. a social gathering or informal concert featuring folk singing and, sometimes, dancing.
2. an informal session at which folk singers and instrumentalists perform for their own enjoyment.
Ok, this was pretty much the textbook definition of a hootenanny. The joy exhibited by Al Scorch and his backing band of drums, upright bass and two fiddles was contagious. Despite being in a dive bar, families danced and had a good ol’ time! Mr. Scorch is a fine picker on the banjo and sings with such gusto that it was impossible for anyone in the crowd to stand still.
This show was part of what’s known as Al Scorch’s Winter Slumber where he takes over the Empty Bottle on Sunday afternoon a month. This is not to be missed.
Would You See Them Again? Rating: Definitely
Already planning on attending the February Slumber!
Venue Notes: The Empty Bottle is another Chicago dive bar/live music institution. It’s hard to believe it hasn’t been around even longer than 25 years! They feature plenty of local bands just getting started as well as national touring acts starting to move up the ladder. Despite being a fine music venue in its own right, this place is a corner bar at heart and features daily shot and a beer specials as well as $3 PBR drafts. Since the show was at 2 PM on a Sunday, I decided to get there a bit early and try the brunch menu. I was not disappointed—I had a great brisket omelet served with hash browns formed into a crab-cake-like configuration that was excellent.
Dive bar. Music venue. Brunch spot. Doesn’t get much better than that.