Bobby Lee Rodgers & Fil Pate | The Independent 08.31.14

Are we the only ones not over there?!?

That was Wayne, co-host of WMNF’s In the Groove, the jamband show, greeting Linda and me as we arrived (late) at the Independent, a great, relatively new place on Florida Avenue in Tampa. I knew exactly what he meant, although there were plenty of patrons there, inside and out.

It was a huge day over yonder in St. Pete, what with the Umphrey’s McGee/Heavy Pets show at Jannus and numerous pre- and post-concert gigs dotting the landscape. And I certainly thought about going. Planned on it. Wrote it on the calendar. Contemplated it that morning.

IMG_20140904_073936_795I am so delighted we opted to see Bobby Lee Rodgers and Fil Pate as a duo. I have seen BLR dozens of times and am an unabashed fan, but I have only recently come to appreciate what Fil Pate brings to the stage. Together, they are an acoustic hurricane. Recently, these two teamed with CopE’s Stadelman brothers and Tom Damon for everybody’s first sip of Lemonade, with much more promised (watch out, Downtown River Jam!). And Pate has guested with BLR several times at the Ale & the Witch and at Orange Blossom Jam in addition to a fine Friends of Fil set.

When I reviewed the Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio at A&W (06.21.14) with Fil Pate sitting in, I mentioned how much I enjoy BLR’s jazz trio recordings from New York and from the Green Room in Ft. Lauderdale. I was lucky enough that night to hear him play a couple of jazz tunes. I really was not imagining that this duo setting, with Fil on mandolin, would yield much jazz.

Boy, do I ever LOVE being wrong!

Shortly after we arrived, they lit into one of my favorite John Coltrane compositions: “Mr. P.C.” (named after Trane’s bass player, Paul Chambers). At some point, Fil switched to acoustic guitar, and they nailed a superb “Star Eyes.” They interspersed the standards with some of BLR’s originals and other songs I probably should have recognized. Jordan had to help me with “Donna Lee.” They closed with a truly sweet rendition of “Sweet Georgia Brown.”

It was just a magical two hours of wonderful wooden music under a beautiful blue sky, at a delightful bar and café/watering hole housed in a 1940s gas station with a hip crowd, very good food, and a simply stunning beer list of drafts and bottles.

It got even more magical for me when I asked about the porters and stouts, having perused their online beer lists, and Aly (I think) “mentioned” something not on the list. Would I like to try Terrapin Liquid Bliss? It is a chocolate peanut butter porter, about like drinking a Reese’s PB cup. Liquid Bliss is what we call truth in advertising!

Great to see Wayne and Sharon and to meet Nicholas and to see Jordan (Serotonic) and Kelly-Ann (apparently, I am following them around!).

[If you want some idea about BLR’s jazz chops, here is one of many great shows you can stream or download for free:]


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