First off, Bridge Street Live. What a lovely space to see live music! Cabaret seating (last night, anyway, I imagine they change it up for different shows), efficient bar service with drinks and munchies, a great stage with pro sound and lights. It was everything one wants in a concert venue. And clean - even the rest rooms were spotless and new. Much has been made of the Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk (and with good reason, they have great music coming through) - but this place has better seating, and is a heck of a lot closer. Although they seem to be a bit more eclectic / blues in their booking, I see faves such as John Gorka, Patty Larkin, NRBQ, Ellis Paul, and Chris Smither on the calendar. Highly recommended!
The Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars - not someone I would usually seek out, but Zippy is wonderfully eclectic in his tastes, and the group was a winner. Engaging, dancing, uplifting - the sound bounced somewhere between reggae inflected and the music that Paul Simon brought to the public eye with Graceland. I was particularly struck by the guitarist who played his left-handed Gibson SG strung upside down (not a right handed guitar, the knobs were in the right place, although one can imagine he learned to play a right handed guitar upside down). The resulting sound was so characteristic to African music that I have to wonder if playing a guitar strung this way is common or customary in Africa.