At 9 p.m. on October 31, 2013, The Plum House in Riverside, California held their annual Halloween Party. The all-ages event began at 9 p.m. as the eatery was immediately ensconced with costumed customers. The non-corporate venue has its own unique charm and seemed the perfect place to tout the tuneful talents of the locals.
As your costumed chronicler and his sidekick Mary “Cowgirl” Sparks entered the establishment and made their way to the back patio they were met with an assortment of attired audience members. There were bad guys and heroes, Zorros and zeros. There were doctors and nurses and drag queens with purses.
Regular readers know that your sequestered scribe solemnly swore to take time to venture out and actually enjoy events more often. So, as usual, don’t expect an in-depth analysis or a perfect playlist. It’s all about the overall experience and not a detailed documentation. Just be happy to hear highlights, mmmkay?
The show was a musical mixed bag of live music by amateurs and professionals, karaoke and improvisational jam sessions. The “Open Mic” masquerade was hosted by singer and bassist Randa Lee on an outdoor patio stage. The evening officially opened with an introduction by owner “J.P.” Lee and her husband Jeff Brent opened the show backed by some guest musicians including Chad Rios (drums) and Bob Reeves (bongos).
Lee and company cut into covers of such song improvisations as Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes” and Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”. Other memorable moments include Lee’s rendition of a personal favorite—“Me and Bobby McGee”—by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster and a fan favorite Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”. (Regrettably, it was too chilly for your rascally writer to strip down to his socks and tightie-whities.)
The entertainment also included an impromptu performance by 12 year-old Caleb Anderson. Anderson used Lee’s keyboard to play some original, classical-influenced instrumentals. A young rapper by the name of Ferro added more variety to the night as your outfitted author enjoyed some of the restaurant‘s famous pizza which sold out before eve’s end.
A group of musicians including Gary (guitar and vocals), Kristine (congas), Adrian (bass) and Christopher (guitar) also gathered onstage to crank out their version of The Youngbloods’ “Get Together”, Jimi Hendrix’s hit “Hey Joe” and Santana’s “Evil Ways”. Crystal Ocean Veil who performed a cover of “I’m Yours” with a guest drummer.
This interesting, oft’times surprising open mic program of pro performances, karaoke and improvisational jam sessions was spontaneous and musically diverse. The whole evening had this wonderful "Little Rascals"-Let's-put-on-a-show-in-the-barn/neighborhood black party feel to it. Anyone looking to get into the act or simply enjoy an assortment of artists should check out The Plum House every Friday at 7 p.m. and every Saturday at 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that's the bottom line.