Hancock is a mad scientist of Texan swing, an alchemist mixing honky tonk, traditional country, and rockabilly swag. He's worked on his musical amalgm since the early 1990s. You can compare him to Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, and Jimmie Rodgers, but Hancock is always original and never a rip-off. This sonic sorcerer's powerful potion was in full effect on Friday night at Five Points Lounge. All the cool cats came out to party on his High Rollin' Train.
Opening for Hancock was no other than local swoon-worthy, bluesy, soul musician (and magician) Diablo Dimes who -- along with vocalist Celine Lee -- played a set that was short, sweet, but most definitely worthy of acclamation. The heavenly voices of the Dimes-Lee duo effortlessly caressed the ears of perfectly coifed heathens in attendance.
A luscious, besequined beauty by the name of Miss Cherry Mae took the stage and introduced the Cupcake Burlesque performers. And holy moly, "That's What Daddy Wants, indeed!"
The ladies of Cupcake Burlesque, it is safe to say, aren't the nu-wave, modern burlesque-ers we're bombarded with today but rather a feather-frocked and rhinestone-bedazzled homage to the classic strip teasers of yesteryear. The Goddesses of Cupcake (mmm!) certainly reset a bar for us, as Miss Eva Jade, Jenna Beth, Candy Muldune, Lila Starlet, and Cherry Mae shimmied and shook their way into our hearts and into the pockets of many a love-struck patron.
It was hot, steamy, and sexy in there. In defiance of the heat, the crowd awaited Wayne Hancock like true-blue American rock 'n' rollers by flocking to the bar to grab a cold one or two (who's counting?) and feasting on some roadside grub provided by the Rebel Grill food truck.
By the time "The Train" had rolled into the station, at nearly 1 a.m., everyone was quite drunk. But their enthusiasm didn't falter, and neither did the man of the hour. His disposition was reminiscent of a grown-up Dennis the Menace, wearing classic Chuck Taylors with greaser cuffed jeans. This Dennis, though, has an affinity for tattoos, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and probably an occasional shot of whatever whiskey you've got handy.
"I had a real nice guitar once," Hancock slurred into the mic while tuning his acoustic guitar after Kansas City Blues, "but Delta lost it, so fuck 'em, ya know?" We expected a "Yeehaw!" but didn't hear one.
During "Juke Joint Jumping," the proverbial lid on the crowd had blown off and couples took to the dance floor to jive away to "Louisiana Blues," "Take Me Back to Tulsa," a first-rate cover of Hank Williams Sr's classic "Lost Highway," and rockabilly anthem "Wild, Free, and Reckless." The walls shook as Hancock and company shredded away.
By the time we left, the joint was still on fire. Antique cars lined the one-way street, and the betties still hadn't wilted one bit. Our feet were sore, but our spirits were high on Hancock's vibe and that of the Five Points Lounge lizards, the wailing of the guitars and twang of the choruses hadn't yet let up.
Personal bias 1: It was funny to see the amount of Red Stripe being downed during a very Americana evening.
Personal bias 2: You can bounce and shake a little to any variety of rockabilly. Take my word for it.
Random anecdote: I pulled up a floral-tapestry-wrapped barstool next to a nice older gentleman who, I learned, goes by the name Piano Bob. He was conversationally engaging as he sipped wine from a perfectly kitschy plastic glass. We talked about music and what Miami was like 40 years ago.