Furtado gets people dancing at old St. Teresa’s
Although Tony Furtado and The American Gypsies might not have known it, the audience at the Brewery Arts Center’s new performance hall Friday night was really getting into their music.
“I have to tell you,” Furtado leaned into the microphone, perplexed by the calm crowd after a few songs. “Our gig last night contrasted wildly with this one. Everybody was up, drunken, dancing, yelling…”
Someone hooted in the front right section of pews in the old St. Teresa’s Church.
“There you go,” laughed Furtado on stage. “That makes us feel at home.”
It turns out Furtado’s last gig was up in Bend, Ore., on Thursday.
That crowd of new-age mountain bikers and rock climbers may have danced more enthusiastically than the BAC crowd but I doubt they heard the music as deeply.
In fact, there was some pretty serious head bobbing and wild foot tapping going on in St. Teresa’s Friday night compared to many shows there.
When those two fans made their way to the front right aisle I figured they were heading back stage but no — they were going up to DANCE! I looked around and noticed a couple more in the back left and then more still behind the blue fabric walls behind the seating.
“When I see them dancing in the aisles I know we’re doing something good,” laughed the art center’s Kevin Ray.
Though the venue “contrasted wildly” to what they were used to, Tony Furtado and The American Gypsies were comfortable enough to create some excellent music Friday.
Furtado, who holds his guitar up high when he plays as if to say “hey you guys, check this out!” later played his banjo with such vigor he looked like a bald, Italian Jimi Hendrix. I was surprised he didn’t light the banjo on fire or go scooting across the stage, in front of the old altar of St. Teresa’s, on his back.
“But they showed respect for the church,” marveled Joe McCarthy, the city’s new economic development manager. “They showed respect for the church.”
Actually, rhythm guitar player Gawain Mathews opened up the show with a funny ice breaker when he told the crowd, “Please open up your prayer books to page 34.”
Mathews, who grew up in England Wales and Salt Lake City, told the crowd he had “a very religious upbringing” and gazed up at the mural of Jesus walking among the wheat with his disciples on the ceiling.
Bass player Patrice Blanchard moved his fingers so quickly over the strings of his instrument that they appeared to be doing the River Dance. Forward, forward, back, back, back — and kicking furiously all the while. You could feel the reverberation from his playing in your chest.
Drummer Tom Brechtlein got to talking with McCarthy during the set break, and it turns out the two grew up in the same area — “Long Island.”
“I’m from Woodside, we played you guys in basketball,” McCarthy said.
“Oh yeah, you’re from Queens — just before the 59th street bridge,” Brechtlein said.
Furtado and his band will play at the Sierra Vista in Tahoe City tonight. “Tony always fills the dance floor and moves the club for sure,” said Sierra Vista employee Bob Jones. Tickets for the show are $12 or $15 at the door. Call (530) 583-0233 for information.
Meanwhile, tonight at the Bewery’s performance hall is Golden Bough’s Celtic Christmas at 7. Call the Brewery at 883-1976.
ON THE NET
Tony Furtado Band: http://www.tonyfurtado.com
IF YOU GO
What: Golden Bough’s Celtic Christmas
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Where: Brewery Arts Center’s new performance hall
Tickets: $15 general admission, $12 BAC members and seniors, $5 students with valid ID and FREE for children 12 and under