Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bats, Watermelon, and the always wicked good Winterpills

Caught a show last night at the West Whatley Chapel in Whatley, MA, located exactly in the middle of nowhere. The reward for successfully executing a challenging series of lefts and rights, a couple of which were identified by farm animals and mailbox styles, was one of the coolest shows I've seen in a long time. The venue was a hundred year old chapel fully outfitted with big potbelly woodburning stove, 95 wooden chairs, and a small alter/stage in the front. Close your eyes and picture the ultimate New Englandy scene... an old rustic white church, lush gardens of strawberries, tomatoes, and wildflowers all around, big old overweight black lab walking in front of your car as you tiptoe up to the grass parking lot. Guy with a beard, a pair of Wranglers, and a grin that only a stressless existence can provide, meets you at the front door to his little house of worship.

Upon paying the bargain price of twelve bucks to see what I consider the premier local band of an area rich in local indie music-makers, the hearty and somewhat hippie group is invited into the small chapel. Bre and I quickly find seats just a couple rows from the front. Within a few minutes, the place is full to its capacity of 95. The show was billed as 'acoustic' but the speakers and amps suggest there might be a few more decibels than that in store. It doesn't take long for the place to fill, and 7:30 on the button, the guy with the beard and the Wranglers makes his way to the stage to introduce the band. He explains that the first set will go until 8:20, so that we can all break for watermelon and the bats. The bats, hmmm. Free bat night at the Chapel? If I find a chilled glass of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA under my seat it will truly be the perfect night.

Needless to say, the Winterpills are amazing. They're so great to see live because not only is their music beautiful and melodic and heartfelt and honest, but they really seem to enjoy performing together and making people happy with their music. Phillip Price, the lead singer, injects just the right amount of funny or interesting banter between songs. Sure it was loud, but my ears weren't even close to ringing like a night at the Eleven's.

The band tries to break at 8:20 but are told 'the bats aren't ready yet'. So after one more song, the crowd grabs a slice of watermelon and wanders outside. As we mulled around the front of the church, sure enough, bats start flying out of the eaves of the chapel. I must admit it was probably the coolest intermission I've yet to experience.

After the bats had cleared the belfrey, we return to our seats for another hour plus of great Winterpills music. We are even treated to a taste of new songs from their upcoming EP coming out this Fall. It was one of those shows you just didn't want to end.

I couldn't locate a photograph on-line of the West Whatley Chapel so I just might have to go back and take one myself. When I do, I'll definitely post it up here. In the meantime, check out the watermelon wednesdays lineup, and if you've got a free Wednesday, check it out. Just leave extra time to find this little slice of paradise.

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