Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dinner and a show: Little Miss Higgins at the Blue Chair Cafe

A few weeks ago while listening to In Concert on CBC2, they featured Little Miss Higgins. I'd heard a few of her songs played on the radio before, although I wasn't otherwise too familiar with her music. The concert played on CBC2 sounded fun, then at the end of it they announced that she would be touring throughout Alberta including Edmonton. I asked Andrew if he would be interested in going to a concert and I looked up the details: she was playing at the Blue Chair Cafe (we'd only been once before, when the string quartet of a co-worker of mine was performing there). Cover charge was $15, and we could opt to have dinner there beforehand. I made reservations the next day, and as it turned out the timing of the concert (last Friday) was perfect as I've had a couple of tough weeks at work.

The menu at the Blue Chair isn't huge, but it's interesting (with many vegetarian and vegan options) and they have specials, which seem to change weekly. By some weird twist of fate I ended up with two courses that included cucumber. I hate cucumber, I can't even stand the smell of it when Andrew chops it up for his lunch. The first cucumber containing item we ordered were the salad wraps, which when dipped in the delicious spicy peanut sauce that came with it, the offending ingredient wasn't too noticeable. For my entree I ordered the kefta pita, which came with a nice colourful salad-type thing, which again unfortunately included cucumber. However, when I paired it with the absolutely delicious kefta's (a type of black bean patty) and topped it with goat cheese is wasn't too bad. At the end of dinner Andrew and I both ordered our own 'giant cookie,' which was exactly what I wanted to end the evening. A chocolate chip cookie with cashews and ice cream. Yum.

About halfway through our dinner the show began. For those of you who haven't been to the Blue Chair, it's a fairly averaged sized restaurant. One section (near the windows) is on a slightly higher level then the back half of the restaurant (where we were sitting). There's a stage nestled in the back corner of the room with the necessary sound equipment--a very cosy and intimate setting to be sure. Not knowing a whole lot about Little Miss Higgins (and having only ever heard her on the radio) I assumed that she only sang, and had a band who backed her up. Therefore, I was quite surprised to see her strap on a guitar. Not only did she play guitar, but she was lead guitar and fantastic! The group was completed by Joey Lorer on bass and Foy Taylor on stomp box and guitar.

Little Miss Higgins seemed to have as much fun performing for us as I had listening to her. I told her later (when we were in the lineup in the women's washroom) that my cheeks were sore from smiling. I liked that occasionally she seemed to change her mind about what they were going to play (by saying to her band members, 'hey let's do...') I'm not quite sure how to describe Little Miss Higgins sound. The placard on our table described her as roots/blues, which was maybe just a catch-all phrase for a mashup of: swing, big band, 50's rock, blues and country. Whatever it was, it was fun and I could have happily danced all night except for that I was eating during most of it. Some of the songs I enjoyed the most included: The Tornado Song, The Dirty Ol' Tractor Song, Slug on my Boot (followed by a humours story about how it came to be), Glad Your Whiskey Fits Inside My Purse (also accompanied by a good story) and possibly my favourite: Bargain Shop Panties.

All-in-all we had a great night. I would definitely go see Little Miss Higgins again if she came back to Edmonton, plus Andrew and I are planning to go back to the Blue Chair Cafe on Valentine's Day. We don't usually make a big to do about Valentine's (it being a fabricated holiday and all...) but it happened that while there we heard there was supposed to be a jazz harpist playing that night and well...we (Andrew) couldn't resist the idea.




Lisa said...

I've seen her once too, and Bargain Shop Panties is high-larious! She's quite good, glad you enjoyed the concert. She might turn up at folk fest this year if you're lucky. Let me know if you ever want to go to a storyslam at the Blue Chair (or at Haven).

S. Andrea Milne said...

I heard some of the other ladies in the washroom saying they'd seen her at folk fest before, or where hoping she'd be there again sometime.
And I'm not exactly sure what a storyslam is...