I have to admit, I was really looking forward to this show. I had never been to this venue, nor had I ever seen Shakey Graves perform, but I just knew it would be a good night overall. When I drove up and parked, (I ended up parking on the street because there is very limited parking outside the venue) the first thing I noticed was that Mean-Eyed Cat very glaringly stands out on the corner next to a shiny new complex which includes a parking structure, a sushi restaurant, a day spa, and a Subway shop. It’s kind of hilarious and kind of refreshing that it maintains its prominent spot there next to all that is corporate. When I walked in, I was hit in the face by the bar, to my left a small room with tables and a jukebox, and to my right another room with a pool table. There is sooo much paraphernalia EVERYWHERE, that I just had to stop for a minute and do a walk through of the place to catch a bit of it. It’s all about Johnny Cash in here. The owner dedicated himself and his love for Johnny and poured that all into this joint. The feel of it is like you’re walking into an old friend’s house. It’s very inviting and every room just begs you to take a seat, relax, and have a good time. The bartender pointed through a small corridor and to a door leading out to the backyard for the music. After I was done with my quick peek of the walls, I walked outside where I saw the stage, picnic tables, and a cute corner set up with couches. Even though it’s outside, there is a roof over this part of the space and space heaters are hung above the tables and stage to keep it pretty warm. Shakey Graves started his set right before 8:00 pm. He was looking pretty dapper in a suit, tie, and a hat. While he was performing he sat on an old suitcase that was outfitted with a kick drum and a tambourine with foot pedals. He kept the beat with his feet while he played his acoustic guitar. The minute he opened his mouth to sing, he transformed into a musical troubadour. I could totally imagine him, back in the day, traveling with his suitcase and guitar from town to town telling his musical stories. And he definitely is a story-teller. I got a nice chuckle from quite a few of his lyrics. He has a great voice, emoting very well over the later chatty audience. You could get caught up in just listening to his voice and guitar playing, but I suggest you do pay attention to the lyrics because he is trying to tell you something. Most of the first half of his show was done alone, but he did have a friend come up and accompany him on electric guitar and backing vocals for a couple of songs to end the first set. I preferred him on his own, but it was nice to change it up a bit. This guy is going somewhere. He’s very talented both musically and lyrically and people should start paying attention. He’s already garnering some attention from what I’ve seen on his Facebook page, but I think there will be more to come. Shakey Graves & Mean-Eyed Cat, thanks for a cool night!