The Hang Loueys @ the Crossroads Coffee House in Cross Plains -September 11, 2009
I’ve never seen Dale Kidd happier as a performer than I did on Friday night at the Crossroads Coffee House in Cross Plains. He and Andrew Nath, calling themselves The Hang Loueys, genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves. The crowd did as well, hooting repeatedly and calling them back for two encores.
With their two acoustic guitars and dressed-down appearance, I expected set lists of sensitive, soul-searching, singer/songwriter-type material. Instead, the two of them rolled out a nearly-raucous collection of Soul and Motown hits with some added Bee-Gees and a little Ben E. King. Talented songwriters in their own right, they only tossed in a smattering of originals, which all seemed to show up in just the right places to balance the tempo and keep the crowd focused.
Dale and Andy both kept the stage patter alive throughout the show and often solicited the crowd for requests – another indication of how comfortable the two of them felt. When I asked later about the depth of their material, Dale turned to Andy and asked “How long have we been together? Almost a year? So yeah, we can do a four-hour gig easy now.” And, evidently, between the two of them, they know plenty enough to handle obscure requests like Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans”. Dale took that one and ran down a story of when he was a kid and latched on obsessively to Horton’s song “The Sinking of the Bismark”, a few bars of which he then ran through keeping the patter going as he did. It was a funny story and a good way to handle the unknown. It’s always easy as a performer to ask for requests, but it’s the pro who can play something completely different and still leave you feeling like he’s played your song.
Great guitar playing, some fine harmonies, some song surprises, good coffee, and free wireless access made for a fun night for all. The Hang Loueys are playing next at the Mt. Horeb Fall Festival on October 6.