I went to my first show of the year last night, making the 2 hour drive from Huntsville to see Adia Victoria at JJ's Bohemia in Chattanooga. It was my 2nd time to see Adia Victoria and band, and my 1st show at any venue in Chattanooga. One thing I wasn't prepared for was the amount of smoking establishments in Chattanooga, JJ's Bohemia was one such place. A dive bar at best with a capacity of around 100 people, and a tiny stage that barely fit a 4-piece band on the stage. Having been out of the bar scene for a few years, any cigarette smoke just murders me and this was no exception. Every person who walked through the door had a lit one in their hand, and reveled in the freedom.
The show was advertised as a 9pm start with 4 bands on the bill, we arrived at 8:45. At 10:15, the stage was still bare and not a single band had even acted like they were going to take the stage anytime soon. A few minutes later, a 3-piece band rushed in, hastily set up their equipment and played a quick 5-6 song set, ending just before 11pm. I was resigned to a very long night, thinking the headliner, Adia Victoria, would take the stage close to 1am given the way the night was progressing. Then I learned Adia would be playing 2nd on the bill. They began their set around 11:30, a blistering 6-7 song blues soaked set, finishing a few minutes after midnight. Highlights were 'Stuck in the South' and their new track 'Sea of Sand', but there wasn't a bad performance in the set.
Apparently, they were ready to get home to Nashville, and had all of their equipment broken down and ready to be loaded in less than 5 minutes. Chattanooga was the last stop on a 2 week tour, and the late start could have explained why they went on 2nd instead of last. They might have been as miffed as I was at the late start, just speculating. Anyway, interesting venue, great show, but could have done without the cigarette smoke.
Speaking of smoking establishments in Chattanooga, for lunch, stopped in at The Honest Pint, an Irish pub pouring the perfect pint and serving authentic Irish pub fare. The online menu and photos looked great, but wasn't quite prepared for the table next to light up in between their appetizer and main meal, and then immediately after their meal was finished. I wasn't aware that they allowed smoking and there was a non-smoking section, my fault totally. And then, for dinner, another interesting place with a great sounding menu, the Pickle Barrel was covered up with folks smoking like chimneys. I was already in the door and seated, hungry and ready for a pint, before I noticed the cigarettes ablaze. Funny enough, clove cigarettes were not allowed, the next table over lit up a fat cigar. Really not sure what is worse.
I won't make those same mistakes again, non-smoking establishments for me from now on. I just can't handle the assault on my senses, and my clothes and hair, it's just terrible. And that's coming from a former tobacco user. This will be the last of my cigarette smoke rants, ever.
Adia Victoria's set was fantastic. She's a natural performer, and is no pushover when she hits the stage, even calling out and hushing some folks talking as she performed. I'm excited for her upcoming EP.
I took my pro camera with me, a Canon 5d Mark III with a f2.8 24mm-70mm lens, but since I did not know the venue's rules about DSLRs, I opted for the Canon G15 point and shoot. It's still a point and shoot camera, but its settings can be manually configured and it saves in RAW format. They aren't my best work though, but not bad for a point and shoot, cave lighting, and a haze of cigarette smoke.