12/23/11…Ryan and the Relics @ Friends Bar

Friends Bar

Friends Bar

So I mentioned about a week ago, when I went to Antone’s, that I was looking to get my blues itch scratched.  Yeah, it was scratched pretty well tonight.  I have been up and down 6th Street, but haven’t actually stopped in to too many bars.  I specifically went to check out Friends tonight and Ryan and the Relics had the dubious honor of performing in the 7:30 pm time slot.  7:30 is really early for 6th Street…for any bar, really.  I imagine this place fills up later.  It’s a nice space and it’s in a prime location. When I walked in there were a few people in there who seemed to be stragglers from the previous band that had performed.  They did stick around for about 15 minutes into Ryan’s set though.  Once they left, it was just me, the bartender, and the band.  I got a really good look at the bar.  It’s a long, dark space with one main bar.  There are tables scattered throughout the bar from the back of the space up to the front, closer to the stage, which is just to the left of the entrance as you walk in.  There is a more intimate area with couches all the way in the back of the bar if you wanted a little more privacy.   I stayed closer to the front so I could enjoy the band. There is no cover to get in here.  And I also noticed some $2 shot specials up on the board behind the bar.  After the handful of people left me alone in the bar, things got more interesting.  Ryan bought a round of shots for his two band mates and when one of them declined the shot, Ryan offered it to me.  Pretty nice, huh?  I also got my own private guitar show when Ryan walked off the stage and came and played right in front of me.  I have to admit, I really dug it!!  He even took a quick second to shake my hand and introduce himself.  It got even better when he borrowed the candle off my table to use it as a slide.  Man, I have to say, this guy plays a mean-ass guitar.  He may not have had much of an audience but one thing is apparent, he is in love with his guitar and that was quite evident in the way he played it.  For such an unassuming, laid back guy, he had no fear while playing.  He even walked outside for a minute and played to try to draw some people into the bar.  Eventually, that paid off  because about 30-40 minutes into their set more people started coming in.  The two guys playing with him (drums and bass) didn’t seem to be regular members of his band, as I noticed Ryan calling out the songs and keys to them before they would start playing.  They managed to keep up though.  It seemed to be a set focused on covers.  Makes me wonder if Ryan does any of his own music anywhere.  During the show I had tweeted that they were a cleaner version of the Black Keys, but the deeper into their set they got, the dirtier that guitar playing got.  I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but I had to collect my car before the meter ran out.  I was happy to get my blues fix tonight and hope to see Ryan and the Relics play again.  He played the shit out of that guitar and I loved every minute of it!

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