Yesterday was Joel’s birthday and we both had a great time. In the afternoon we headed to Boquete for practice with Chris, the drummer in our band. We have an unusual Monday booking because of the Carnavales holiday in progress, so Saturday was a good time to prepare, and then we could go out and hear other music which is a real treat for us.
There is such a wonderful community of excellent musicians in the Boquete area. Everyone gets along, is super supportive and friendly with each other, and it’s a great feeling. We have also been here long enough to watch many of them grow and evolve as musicians and performers.
We started at Mike’s Global Grill. Saturday is Asian food night and Mike makes some great meals. Their regular menu is always good too but I especially enjoy their Asian food.
Power Trius was the band. I first heard them so long ago I don’t remember when it was. They are three Panamanian guys, Eduardo on bass who I know from when he and Joel were in Yella Fever, a drummer I don’t know, and Julian on guitar and vocals, a flamboyant and creative performer. They have improved a lot and also changed their music selection to please dancing gringos, and the dance floor was busy most of the time. What fun for Joel and I to be able to dance together! There were a couple other Panamanian guys who sat in. I talked with one who lives in Mexico City but was back visiting his family. Lee, a Boquete guy, also sat in on saxophone.
We had a lot of fun and could have stayed there all evening but we were curious to see what was going on at the Boquete Brewing Company, so after a couple sets we moved on. Hashtag was at the Brewery. I first heard them at Mike’s quite some time ago and they sounded promising but now, my goodness! They are on fire! We heard them a few weeks ago at the Brewery when there was a wedding party in addition to the regular crowd and the place was nuts, people dancing on tables, jumping up and down and having a wonderful time. Last night also had a large and enthusiastic audience which is very fun.
And, as I said about the supportive music community, we were invited to sit in with the band. I didn’t feel comfortable picking up an unfamiliar instrument to play music I wasn’t 100% confident about, but Joel and Chris participated.
From the left, Lucho on guitar, a quiet, shy guy and excellent musician. Then, Joel, behind him Chris our drummer, then Lee on Sax (he’d come over from Mike’s), the guy in the gray t-shirt is their lead singer, Arya on bass (super amazing musician on both bass and guitar, beyond amazing!) and in the black shirt Mike, Hashtag’s drummer. Joel had sang Breaking the Law with very enthusiastic audience reaction, and now they were getting ready to play the Thrill is Gone.
From the left again, Lucho, Joel, Chris hidden behind on drums, then Hashtag’s lead singer, Arya, and Lee. The song went on, morphed into a total jam session that went other places, and everyone was really excited playing together.
After the jam session Hashtag took to the stage again to play some more. On the right is another excellent singer who had sat in earlier.
I wish I also had pictures from Mike’s but the lighting was low, except for a bright light outside so they didn’t come out well.
As I participate more in the making of the music, I am appreciating the whole process more and more. You have this instrument and if you are fortunate, a good voice, and these boxes with knobs and connections and speakers, and then as if out of thin air, you use them to create this magic. It’s not like photography or painting which can hang on the wall for decades. It’s so fleeting. It happens and then it’s gone. But it can be such an experience on some emotional level I can’t explain. But, when you are still filled with happiness and gratitude for the experience the next day, maybe it isn’t exactly gone after all.