In this fill-in role for Jen Chen, we hit the RB on a Tuesday night to see how Westport's best place for music does pre-hump day. We already knew the Record Bar manages to attract national acts like Eagles of Death Metal. It wasn't long ago, during the Record Bar's ACLU benefit, that we did our best Courteney Cox as 30 Minute Recess channeled Bruce Springsteen to fans in atrocious '80s outfits.
But as Mike Reno of Loverboy adroitly pointed out once, everybody's working for the weekend, not Tuesdays. So we weren't sure what to expect.
We got there at 9 p.m. and happened upon the Honky-Tonk Standards Chuck Wagon Dinner Show. The country-western-themed outfit is headed by the namesake of Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys. While the band kicked out cover after cover, a sizable crowd tossed back draft beers. Alone on the dance floor was a striking brunette wearing a jean skirt and cowboy boots. She didn't give a damn that she was the only one up there shaking her hips.
A few covers in, a supercute girl took the stage. Her singing was a little shaky at first, but with the band and the crowd supporting her, she eventually got her croon down and polished off a Patsy Cline number.
Fresh from her debut performance, 22-year-old Melanie told us that she'd wanted to sing at the dinner show for some time. "I told them I would sing if they played Patsy Cline," she said. "And they did."
"I'm the stage mom," added her friend Amy. Both work at Lady Luck Hair Parlor down the street on Westport Road, which explained their fabulous hair. "We love Rex and the band," said Amy, the salon's owner. "We try and come here every Tuesday. "
Leaving the ladies and their shimmering highlights, we made our way to research assistant Maygun, who was well into her second beer and sitting next to a ridiculously tall man. They sat in a small enclave off the far side of the bar. "Rex has a built-in crowd," commented the giant, aka Keanon Liggatt. "But then, this place is great anytime. The people that run this place are music fanatics, so I don't have to drive to Lawrence now to see most of the bands I want to see."
Ordering a Guinness, we noticed a svelte guy standing near us, wearing a bright-blue headband, a green shirt and flip-flops. Daniel Cummins made our head hurt by revealing that he studies English, economics and linguistics at Rockhurst University. "I can speak most romance languages," he explained, "since I study Latin." Before we could ask him how to say drunk in Latin, he impressed us by teaching us how to say slut. "It's meretrix. That's where the term turning tricks comes from."
Making a mental note to remember that the next time we ran into biblical enemies, we left Daniel and ordered a Beamish. The band finished up, and DJ Tulipana took the stage to spin LPs. As Minor Threat filled the air, much of the dinner crowd exited and new faces arrived. One of those faces, musician Thommy Hoskins, headed over to our enclave, a spot that we quickly realized was where the cool kids sat, like on the back of the bus. Thommy intrigued us with his tale of a recent brush with fame.
While performing in St. Louis last weekend, he got to hang out with hottie Jessica Alba at a ritzy club. "Did you get a picture of her standing under the arch?" we asked. He didn't, but he did get to hang with her and some other Hollywood types at a top-notch strip club known as the Penthouse.
"I don't know if it's because we're musicians, but it was her idea to go to a strip club," he explained. "She was super sweet and picked up the entire tab. I also got to dance with her during some Jamaican song nothing racy, but we definitely danced."
We asked if the dance could be re-created for us. Keanon agreed to stand in for Jessica Alba. He and Thommy shuffled a few steps, which was not an easy task, with Keanon clocking in at 6 feet 8 inches and Thommy at, oh, normal. But they pulled it off, re-creating the awkwardness of two eighth-graders at their first school dance.
Checking out a behemoth photo booth near the restrooms, we discovered that, sadly, it was out of service. Owner Sherrill had the answer as to why. "We co-opted it from a friend of ours in the Golden Republic, and he's the one who knows how to fix it. Unfortunately, he's on tour in Europe right now."
Sherrill was hanging out in the enclave with local promoter and booking agent Cat Simpson. "I came down tonight to give Steve shit for spelling Metallica wrong when he posted it online," she explained.
Ah, well, so the boys at the Record Bar once misspelled Metallica. But at least we've got a club that plays 'em. That has a country-themed dinner show. And rocks on a Tuesday.