In the days of my youth I often lamented that Huntsville was a dead town. That broad criticism was applied to two specific laments: no band worth seeing ever played here and I couldn't get a date at gunpoint (which in retrospect may not have been the best approach to dating in the first place, but...). My interests were simple: music and girls, girls and music. I didn't need drugs, I didn't like cars, I didn't care about clothes. Not much has changed.
I got older. I got married. One area corrected itself, the other stopped mattering to me as much not because I quit enjoying live music but because I became more and more of a homebody. Bands weren't coming to Huntsville, and why should they? This isn't a major market and there were three good ones that were a reasonable drive from here. As years went by those reasonable drives seemed less reasonable. First, it was the explosion of ticket prices. Then it was the dreaded day job, making a quick midweek jaunt to Nashville or Atlanta seem impractical rather than a carefree adventure. My heart was willing, my body, mind, and pocketbook weren't.
There was an initial surge of excitement when I found out Nick Moss & The Flip Tops were coming to Huntsville because finally a band whose music I love was coming to my town. What could be simpler? Could there be any less of a no-brainer than Nick Moss in Huntsville? Maybe. I refrained from writing about it because I was just as sure as sure could be that my anti-social side would rear its ugly head and I'd chicken out of going and I didn't want to call my shot and then wuss out.
It turns out I know myself pretty well because two hours before showtime I was sitting in my apartment looking for excuses not to go. It also turns out I can surprise myself because I forced myself to leave the house; I was richly rewarded.
It wasn't billed as "An Evening With Nick Moss & The Flip Tops" but that is indeed what it turned out to be, and it made what was always going to be an enjoyable evening all the more memorable.
I arrived about an hour before showtime. I found a table not far from the stage and quickly recognized Flip Top drummer Bob Carter. Carter's profile on the cover of Moss' most recent studio album Play it 'Til Tomorrow — a fantastic record, I hasten to add — is unmistakable. As he assembled his kit, multi-instrumentalist Gerry Hundt and keys man "Piano" Willie Oshawny also went to work setting up their gear on a stage that wasn't much larger than a deck of cards.