Last night I was invited to a benefit concert by a friend of mine. It was in a small bar in town, called Partners Bar & Grill. Before it even started, I liked it. It was for a very good cause – to raise money to pay the medical bills of a girl named Mallory Owens, who had been assaulted on Thanksgiving – beaten almost to death – simply because she was lesbian. Now, I’m an open minded person, and I try not to stereotype – but in my honest opinion, it takes a special kind of stupid to commit a hate crime. It takes the mind of a killer to beat someone almost to death.
I wondered if I would enjoy the atmosphere of the bar. I knew I wouldn’t fit in. After all, I’m not in my 20’s anymore, not a party girl by any stretch of the imagination, and I was afraid I might even get sleepy after 8 pm. I hadn’t even been inside of a bar in 20 years! My fears of not fitting in quickly melted at the door.
This was a unique place filled with old energy – a place where open minded people from all walks of life were free to gather and mingle. Soon, it was filling up wall to wall with people making their way in to hear the local bands and support the cause. And when the music started (beginning with the acoustic musings of Cody Phillips) – the energy was amazing.
Izzy Miller was who I was invited by and who I came to listen to. I’ve known Izzy for years, because he grew up going to school with my oldest daughter, and over the last two years I have become a big fan of his original music. He’s only 20 years old, but his influences of rockabilly and southern rock, his maturity, and charisma give him an appearance that is years beyond.
I arrived early to the bar – early enough to watch the sound technicians setting up an hour before the concert got started. Izzy got there early too. My first impression when I got there was seeing Izzy doing a sound check as he walked the entire bar floor, guitar in hand, making sure he had adequate reception on the wireless amplifier. I was in the far back of the bar, near the pool table when he made his way. I calmly smiled, “Heyyyyy, fool.” I said in a warm, tired voice, and he greeted me with an open arm and a smile, “Heyyyy, ” as he strummed the chords and strolled by, undisturbed by the presence of little, old me. I had no idea why he was doing a sound check in the back of the bar versus on stage. I naively thought, that must be how he gets ready for a show. Later on I found out though – during his show when he jumped off stage and performed half a song walking around the bar, mingling with folks as he played and sang. It wasn’t long before I was clapping to the beat of the rockabilly twang, and shouting with every applause, and like everyone else, I wanted more.
I’m told the benefit concert raised over $450 for the young lady. She doesn’t even live locally, but that’s one thing that is awesome about my home town. It doesn’t matter if you’re from around here or not, we love you anyway.
May you heal well, Mallory Owens, and always love life – on your own terms.