Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Evening in Downtown Brooklyn: First Annual Downtown Brooklyn Hoedown at the Bond Street Garage

We spent a couple of hours early on this very rainy evening on the fifth level of the Bond Street parking garage between Livingston and Schermerhorn Streets, enjoying the first annual Downtown Brooklyn Hoedown.

Avoiding the weekend Lorimer Street L train shuttle bus mishigass, we took the fabulous G train to Hoyt-Schermerhorn and walked across to the garage, and then up the steps

to where we heard the sounds of a crowd and good bluegrass music. Originally scheduled as an outdoor event on the parking lot's top level, the thunderstorms moved it indoors one level below (though we did go up to the top to get the view).

This all-ages, outdoor event began at noon with pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, barbecue from The Good Fork (some carnivores told us the pulled pork was great). Then came "stars of the Brooklyn Bluegrass and Country scene" playing till midnight.

The Five Deadly Venoms, a great Brooklyn-based bluegrass band, were playing their tunes for most of the time we were at the Hoedown. They are Rick Snell, guitar; Elio Schiavo, mandolin; Rob Hecht, fiddle; James Kerr, dobro; and Jared Engel, double bass. The Verde Valley News said that their debut album "is full of delicately executed musicianship and beautifully written ballads, many of which feel destined to be standards."

You can hear The Five Deadly Venoms, finalists in the 2009 Telluride Bluegrass band contest, on this video as they play "Will the Roses Bloom":

Their set was terrific. For the last set, they were joined by a banjo player.

We also caught a little of Mimi LaValley and Friends, who were really good.

Mimi's music is funny ("All My Boyfriend's Ex-Wives Look Alike") and bright.

Downtown Brooklyn may not be the most down-home place in the USA, but we really enjoyed our time at the Hoedown.

There were a lot of little kids running around.

And of course, it's one week until Halloween so there were the jack-o'lanterns carved earlier in the day.

Hey, some audience members (including us) got to sit on bales of hay.

This was the schedule of music:
1pm - Open Bluegrass Jam with Michael Daves
3pm - The Cozy Shack Fiddle Extravaganza and Family Square Dance
5pm - All-Star BLUEGRASS with Melody Berger (whom we missed), The Five Deadly Venoms with Elio Schiavo, Mimi LaValley and friends
8pm - Dancing under the harvest moon with Brooklyn's best County Rock: Alex Battles, SAMMO, Jessica Rose and the Highlife.

We had to leave early for dinner in Brooklyn Heights but are certain the crowd at the Hoedown continued to have a lot of fun at this really nice autumn event.

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