Despite this minor setback, they put on an incredible set at Plush on Friday. While the venue never quite had to worry about reaching the maximum occupancy limit, that didn't stop a trio of traveling bands -- including the Dock Ellis Band and headliners Deadstring Brothers -- from putting on a show.
Those who did attend the Plush festivities were treated to two opening bands with a touch of twang and a charming performance style. The first 50 patrons were also treated to a free Stag beer that would be eventually added to the newly christened wall of Stags growing on the right side of the main bar.
The headliners hailing from Detroit capped off the night with some slick slide guitar that would leave any exile excited to be alive. Deadstring Brothers played their hour-long set with a less than commanding stage presence, but with their Mick Jagger-esque vocals and early '70s Rolling Stones sound, there was no need to be showy.
The five-piece band brought the willing from their seats to the front of the stage with its alternative country feel. The patrons seemed to enjoy a little bit of spinning and sliding on the dance floor. The Brothers played the night out with a song dedicated to bassist Jeff Cullum's future ex-wife, the room thanked California for her wine -- not to mention St. Louis for its Stag -- and the show came to an end.
Before Deadstring Brothers took the stage, the Dock Ellis Band seized its moment. The St. Louis country band made it apparent why Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton had been playing on the PA system throughout the night, and brought to the stage the classic sound of old country mixed with a bit of off-color comedy. Tunes such as "Get That Pregnant Woman Another Beer" and "Dumpster Baby" had the onlookers cautiously cutting up as they tossed their empties into the Stag bin.
While the two main bands might have had more local notoriety, the act that truly stole the show was a lesser-known folk duo from New York City. Shaun and Abigail Bengson met one day years ago playing in a pickup band and found themselves getting married two weeks later. As the Bengsons, they've been playing, teaching and learning together ever since.
After a brief technical issue when the guitar was accidentally unplugged at the beginning of the show, the couple didn't miss a beat as they continued to entertain the crowd. They brought an incredibly fun and delightful performance to the stage as they excitedly jumped around during songs and shared swigs of water out of a gallon jug between them.
Their chemistry and genuine enjoyment of their art shined as they shared smiling glances to the sound of simple guitar chords and solo drum beats played behind their lyrics of life, love and the pursuit of music. The Bengsons' lighthearted melodies provided a rare type of energy that enchanted the audience and reminded those present in the room that true love still exists in the world.
On top of touring and making music, the Bengsons are currently weaving together a rock opera called "Hundred Days," which tells the story of two lovers who know that their time together is limited, and they've promised themselves to live their 100 days like an entire lifetime together. "Hundred Days" is set to be completed early 2014.
The evening at Plush was filled with a wide variety of entertainment that marked another successful night of music in St. Louis -- and a successful night for the Stag wall.
All photos by Mike Gualdoni.