Strolled down to Christy’s on the Square tonight and was pleased to see that Christy’s Thursdays are working out pretty well. For the past couple months, the live music booking on Thursdays has skewed toward the louder variety, which is welcome indeed. Hell, live music period in downtown is welcome indeed, especially when clubs that opened swearing they’d never have DJs now host nothing but.
Even though the bands are allowed to be loud at Christy’s, the sound system is crisp, and not muddled. What’s more, the doorman is unimposing, a healthy change from the unnecessary velvet-rope of the location’s former incarnation as Upper Fourth (the swift demise of which is still one of my favorite Santa Rosa stories, which I probably shouldn’t repeat here, but if you see me, ask). Yes, the attendant in the bathroom at Christy’s offering soaps and cologne is a little out of place, but in front of the small stage, there’s plenty of dimly-lit room to mosey around and chat with friends, drinking cozily in their booths. A five-dollar cover seals the deal.
Playing was Derailed Freight Train, a band that keeps getting better and better. It’s always a pleasure to watch drummer Jamie Voss, who many know from his behind-the-beat laze in Cropduster, but in Derailed Freight Train, he’s fast, crisp, sharp and anything but derailed. Jesse Kindt holds down a solid bass. But the treat is frontman Damian Cohn, a brilliant paradox who plays his well-weathered guitar with simple open tuning but goes off on abstract, strange solos. Over the years in Sonoma County, Damian’s proven himself a master musician, not only adept but excelling at hip-hop (Kranky), free jazz (Army of Ants), cut-and-paste electronics (Scattershot Theory), novelty rap (again, ask me in person) and who knows what the hell else.
In short, Damian knows music inside and out, but instead of playing some ridiculous amalgam of all his influences, he’s choosing to dominate at straight-ahead power-trio rock. So dominating, in fact, that Flavor, downstairs, asked Christy’s to stop Derailed Frieght Train’s set until their dining hours were over! If that’s not a good indicator, I don’t know what is.