It’s mid-morning and the baby girl whose name means “Little Fiery One” is fussing and crying and, in general, pitching a bit of a fit.
Maybe it’s time for her bottle. Or a diaper change. Or maybe Aidan Sullivan just hasn’t had her daily dose of the blues.
“She loves the blues,” says the tyke’s mom, Kelly Sullivan. “It must be from being pregnant around it.”
Indeed, all of Coeur d’Alene might be a bit more cranky if it weren’t for Kelly Sullivan and her husband Tom. After all, we, too, need our dose of the blues. A dose of good live music, period.
So here they are, a young couple just starting a family and a business. It’s called Tubs and it’s one of three relatively new outfits infusing Coeur d’Alene’s nightlife with a little more … well … life.
Tubs - along with Moon Time and Mad Daddy’s Blues Club - have survived nearly a year in business. And between the three (as well as some other fine establishments), a tasty selection of blues, folk and jazz is available on just about every night of the week.
“We had pretty grand ideas when we came up here,” Kelly Sullivan says, explaining that she and her husband moved last spring from San Francisco.
Although the couple started out serving coffee and pastries, their mutual love of the blues led them to begin hosting live bands in October. They now have a faithful following of music enthusiasts.
The cafe/club is a small, homey place with just enough wiggle room for a little dancing.
Tubs holds no more than 40 or so people, which allows the crowd a certain feeling of intimacy with the artists they come to see. Music nights are Tuesdays and Fridays and buying tickets in advance is recommended because shows often sell out.
Last weekend Tubs pulled off its crown jewel - a three-night sold-out run of performances by A.J. Croce, son of folk-legend Jim Croce.
Croce’s steaming rhythm and blues and intense piano work had the packed house jumping. It was so popular a draw, Croce agreed to add an extra show Saturday night.
It was a bold move for Tubs, and the Sullivans hope it marks the beginning of bigger things.
“We want to get some major people out here,” Kelly says, explaining they hope to allow for larger crowds by opening an outdoor beer garden and stage this summer.
Tonight at Tubs (313 Lake Coeur d’Alene Dr.), Catch Nancy Lynn Allen and Fine Time Communion for a taste of country, folk and ragtime.
On the same side of the Lake City sits Moon Time, an English-style pub that compliments a truly tasty menu with some cool musical side-dishes.
Moon Time is owned and operated by gutsy young entrepreneurs Jeff Meagher, John Grollmus and Brad Fossen. All are in their late 20s.
Meagher said he tries to make sure Moon Time’s music is the kind a soul can eat to. And Moon Time keeps the cover charges either at nothing or to an affordable minimum.
Usually “more mellow stuff” is featured Thursdays; Saturday shows offer a higher energy. Among the bands that have played there or are scheduled to play there: folk rocker Derek Wolf and Moments of Clarity, a new-age jazz group that features hand drums and a didgeridoo.
Catch folk-bluesman Jim “Bossman” Brown at Moon Time (1602 Sherman Ave.) on Thursday night. No cover charge.
With Mad Daddy’s in town there’s barely an excuse to stay home. This full-blown blues club, owned by Jim and Robin Gilliard, boasts live music five nights a week.
Friday and Saturday the club features local and bigger-name artists. Junior Wells, Phillip Walker and King Biscuit have been among the performers. Archie Johnson plays on Wednesdays and Sundays. And every Thursday is open blues jam session.
Oh, and don’t forget the dance floor - it’s a big one.
The Gilliards, who have lived in North Idaho since 1978, saw a need for true blues club after Chelsea’s closed a couple of years ago.
When the former Shanty bar came up for sale, they jumped at the chance to give it a whirl.
With three new bars offering live music, some might think the competition could turn cutthroat.
No way, says Robin Gilliard.
“It’s just filling a big gap,” she says. “And it’s about time, too.”
Charlie Butts and the Filter Tips take on Mad Daddy’s, at the corner of Seltice Way and Heutter, tonight and Saturday.
Mayfield Four you
They may be only nine months old, but to call the Mayfield Four a new band just doesn’t seem right.
“We’ve all been playing for 10-plus years so it’s not a new game for us,” says guitarist Craig Johnson.
Although this guitar-driven rock quartet had never played as a formal unit, they have served their time in numerous solid groups.
Johnson and singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy fronted Citizen Swing. Drummer Zia Uddin played in Shoveljerk while bassist Marty Meisner performed in Give.
Add all that to the fact the Mayfield Four have been friends since their junior high school days in Spokane and it’s easy to see where this band gets its maturity and cohesion.
Kennedy’s powerful and versatile vocals manage to be spicily enticing while still retaining an edge. The driving guitars are flecked with ear-pleasing ingredients.
“I think we try to walk that fine line to be able to push the envelope musically and still let it be accessible to people,” Johnson says.
Not that the going has been easy. While Johnson and Kennedy live in Spokane, Uddin and Meisner live in Seattle. That means weekends are dedicated to little more than driving and practicing.
But Johnson looks at the bright side. “I found we utilize our time a lot more efficiently than if we had all week to play,” he says. “We know we only have a day and a half to work on things so we get right down to business and things get done.”
Sample some of the Mayfield Four’s hard work when they headline Outback Jack’s tonight. Seattle’s fun and unapologeticallypoppy Micro-Mini open. Guitar rockers Elizabeth Emblem play the middle slot.
Cover is $5. Show starts at 9:30.
Stalking the Pimps
You know a band must be getting close to hitting the big time when they have their very own stalkers.
Such is the life of Seattle’s ultra-soul-funkers the Super Sonic Soul Pimps.
“This guy is just totally obsessed with us,” says keyboardist/vocalist Daniel (a.k.a. Wonder Bred). “He sends threatening e-mails. He love-hates us. He’s one of those guys if he had a bunny rabbit he’d probably pet it to death.”
If the Soul Pimps haven’t truly hit the big time yet, well, they’re certainly making a go at it. And stalking is really just one of the signs.
The others signs? How about selling out the 1,100-seat Showbox Theater in Seattle last month as well as the 850-seat Crystal Ballroom in Portland. How about a full-blown West Coast tour this summer.
And then there’s their new full-length album. It hasn’t been released to the yearning public yet, but, according to Mr. Wonder Bred himself, it is getting some serious label interest.
Of course, it may not come as a big surprise that the Soul Pimps have stalkers. After all, this four-man band has always been a bit off-center itself.
Take for instance the tale they spun when they first moved their show out of the garage two years ago.
Wonder Bred said he was a mad scientist who had cross-bred a space alien female with a human male. The infants who sprung forth were the rest of his bandmates - half-man, half-alien sons who go by the names Otto E. Roticize, Taboo and Intellijamus.
This crew studiously developed its stage personas, dressing up in everything from nuclear outfits to alien costumes to Zoot suits.
Daniel says the whole thing developed as a sort of reaction against the tide of the times.
“You were in your post-grunge punk stage and it was cool to ignore your audience and look down at the ground and act like dejected youth - which we’re not about,” he says. “We’ve always believed in putting on a good stage show. We’ve always had wonderful interaction with the crowd.”
The groundswelling of support the Pimps are riding is forcing them to “become considerably more serious,” Wonder Bred says, sounding decidedly un-mad-scientist-like. In addition to taking on a real manager, their sound has taken “a big step up maturity level wise,” he says.
“We were exceptionally humorous and we still do have a cynical humor edge. But on this upcoming album there will be some more of what you refer to as serious material.”
The sound is being described as a cross between Queen and Devo.
Fans need not fear, however. These guys have always worked hard to give their audience a good show and they don’t intend to change that.
The Soul Pimps will be dressed and ready funk at the Northern Corner tonight. The stalking begins at 9 and will cost ya $5.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Nightwatch picks Best bets at area clubs: TONIGHT: Big Daddy and the Bluenotes at the Fort Spokane Brewery SATURDAY: Big Daddy and the Bluenotes at the Fort Spokane Brewery Moral Crux, Cos and Clabberhag at Ichabod’s North TUESDAY: Five Fingers of Funk, Loose and The Plants at Outback Jack’s