Concert review: Todd Snider at Skipper's Smokehouse

I gotta be honest, I go to a lot of shows. Anyone who pays any attention to the calendar page of my site knows that. An unfortunate side-effect of that is that I've become slightly desensitized to the excitement of seeing a concert, so I'm rarely genuinely excited about seeing a show. This past Friday's Todd Snider show at Skipper's, however, was one of those rare occasions.

Todd Snider brought his brand of politically charged jingle-jangle with a little folksoulcountry wit to Tampa for a sit down show at the always amicable Skipper's Smokehouse. Mother Nature even seemed to be in a good mood, giving us a break in the rains long enough for the entire show to take place sans dripping trees. The show started out somewhat clunky. First was a full-band that opened up the show (I apologize, I came in during their set and never caught their name) very well. They played a crackling '78 version of Americana well enough, so I was sad I only managed to catch three songs. This mystery band was followed by Rebecca Zapen, who was, in a word, forgettable. though I'm not even sure it was her fault. I mean, she may suck outright, but I was disinterested long before I could decide if she was good or not. Why? Why, WMNF, did you sandwich a largely unfamiliar girl doing standard coffeehouse singer/songwriter fare in between a full band and Todd Snider? She had no chance from the start and the entire crowd seemed largely bored with her. Personally, I headed to the bar for libations and conversation with a fella who just moved to Tampa from Chicago and I was marvelling at his shorts and 'flops in February attire.

Todd took the stage in pretty much the most perfect way I could have imagined. No announcement, no fanfare, no shoes. He walked out and just started playing. He even saved the "I'm Todd Snider" banter 'til he was done with the opening tune. Then after a quick introduction he plowed through a short set of pre-planned songs before opening up the floor for song requests. He then spent the next 70 or so minutes playing requests, sharing stories and offering opinions.

Now, I wanted to type a short story about this show, but whilst marinating on what I was gonna say it continually boiled down to one word; inspiring. Todd Snider's show at Skipper's Smokehouse was inspiring. It lived up to every hope and expectation I had and I think anyone at the show understands what I'm talking about and, odds are, they're the only ones still reading this. However, should you still be reading this but weren't at the show, then make a mental note to go see Todd next time he is in town. It's well worth the effort. Hell, go early and eat dinner, after is Skipper's. I recommend the fried Catfish dinner.

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