Last night my friend Matt and I ventured out from the depths of South Tulsa and headed downtown to check out some live music. We went up to Fassler Hall – the “German concept” bar created by Elliot Nelson (also known for opening McNellie’s). He seems to be conquering downtown one block at a time…
Our mission was to see the Paul Benjaman Band. I’d seen Paul play before, but not with his own band, and I was really curious to hear him on his own. Matt, who I know from work, agreed to come along, even though there was no punk band to be seen.
One thing I hadn’t anticipated was not only was it Oktoberfest weekend, but it was raining, which would drive all the drunks to take cover indoors somewhere. When we got to Fassler it was packed, loud, and smelling like french fries. PBB started at Standard Tulsa Band Time ( = late) but that gave us time to mill around, watch the early drunks, and find a few of my friends – Dylan, and Brad and his wife Anne.
Both Dylan and Brad are veterans of the Tulsa scene, and they’re great people to watch music with (which isn’t often, as most of the time they’re up on stage, not in front of it). They always manage to get good seats & know everyone worth knowing who’s playing music. Which is great for an up-till-now recluse like me – it’s the fast track to getting to know people.
So regarding the music – I think that Paul Benjaman is one of, if not the best, guitarists in Tulsa. That dude is good. Respect.
Things really got good when bassist Daniel Sutliffe sat in for the first two songs of the second set. I’d never seen him before, but that is some mighty funky bass. He’s small in stature, but huge in sound, and brought a little extra funk to the night.
Paul did originals, covers including a few JJ Cale songs, and it was all good. I didn’t write any of the set list down, sorry. But take my word for it – super good. I’ve included a clip off of YouTube so you can get more of an idea of his sound. It’s from last year, but you get the idea.
The audience was a little distracting though – Oktoberfest or no, I honestly haven’t seen that many people dancing on tables all at once in that small of a space before in my life, and I’m a veteran of Fender’s Grand Ballroom in the ’80’s so that’s saying something. And there was the drunk girl that passed out at our table… and the Car Bombs that Brian bought for everyone… And the yelling, and the sloppy staggering (I thought for a minute I’d get my eye poked out by one woman and her brand of “dancing”)… I’m not a big fan of alcohol to begin with and a night like that just reinforced my belief that not much good comes from it.
People kept asking me what I wanted to drink, and I would say, “I don’t drink” and they all seemed surprised. This isn’t the first time I’ve hung out with these folks so I’m not sure why it finally only came up last night. One theory is the addition of a short skirt and cowboy boots to my bar wardrobe.
Dylan says that Fassler Hall has that semi-controlled chaotic atmosphere on a regular basis – not just during Oktoberfest. I was surprised to hear this, and I guess a little disappointed. They say the sausages are good, so that’s a plus…
All that said, I had fun – good music, good friends, good times. Paul plays every Sunday at the Colony, and tonight Brad is sitting in with him – but I can’t go. I’m one of the squares with a Day Job.