This weekend, my Friday night activities were such that I planned to generally take it easy on Saturday evening. After all, a girl’s liver can only take so many martinis within 24 hours. So Saturday found me happily having a late dinner with friends and sitting a spell on the patio of local bar. I was pushing the martini limit when a friend, who we will call Johnny, called.
Johnny generally has “band practice” on Saturday evenings. There has been speculation amongst the female members of My Group of Friends about what “band practice” really entails. There is obviously a lot of drinking and some serious male bonding, but the amount of actual guitar interaction was in question. It appears that guitars might actually be picked up in between beers, however. On Saturday, Johnny informed us he and his fellow “band mates” would be performing an impromptu set at a bar called The Dolphin Lounge. Needless to say, this was the type of occasion that one does not miss, even if it is at a bar that is across town, only accepts cash, and has aquatic themed decoration. My friends and I downed our drinks (martinis are not meant to be chugged), went to the ATM, and high tailed it to the debut of The Toledo Luggage Problem (yes, the band even has a name–and I hope that’s it…It might be The Toledo Luggage Incident… I had too many beers to remember).
What can I say to properly convey the ambiance that is The Dolphin Lounge? In this case, I don’t think words can really do justice to the establishment, but I’ll try. The Dolphin Lounge is owned by a woman named Nancy. It seems Nancy is of my grandmother’s generation and has run The Dolphin since before my birth. Further, Nancy has not updated The Dolphin since she acquired the place, except to add a few more neon swimming dolphin globe things to the decor. All the seats in the bar are now covered in black electric tape and/or black duct tape. The stalls in the ladies face a wall of mirrors. And the stall doors are actually shutters strategically placed to sort of cover private functions. I can truthfully say that peeing at the Dolphin is unlike anything I’ve ever done before.
Nancy has decorated the patio with AstroTurf and fake trees that are a strange combonation of half palm and half deciduous, several chairs, and a kiddie sandbox. She also keeps Duplo blocks and toys off the side of the bar. Apparently, The Dolphin doubles as a daycare. All beers are $3, and the selection is varied enough to contain both Bud Light and Miller High Life! I forgot to ask if they had Nattie…In keeping with the extensive dolphin decor, Nancy’s tip jar is actually a trash can that has a cover on it which is shaped like a dolphin’s face. To tip her, I had to push back on the snout and deposit the tip on the dolphin’s mouth. The stage area (and I use the term loosely) sports a fire pit with a sign that says “fins up,” a set of bongo drums and a carpet covered stage. Oh, and dolphins pictures behind it.
When I arrived at The Dolphin Lounge, my three friends and I outnumbered the other patrons two to one. With our arrival, the place got packed… Anyway, The Toledo Luggage Something-or-other was in the middle of their first set. Toledo Luggage is a cover band consisting of a drummer and three guys who play things that looks like guitars. I’ve been informed that they are all actually different instruments, but I don’t know jack about musical instruments and in my mind, if it has strings and is electricish, it falls into the guitar family. Anything more specific is too complicated to understand when one is drinking enough Bud Lite to kill any and all germs that might be conveyed from the surroundings. But I digress. Two of the guitar playing guys also sing, with the drummer pitching in occasionally for sound effects and deep voice things. Johnny is one of the guitar guys, and the best one. Granted, he’s the only member of TL that I know, so I am biased, but he was also the only person to use the shiny metal thing that I later learned is called a slide. That counts for something, right?
The Toledo Luggage Problem/Incident/Happening played everything from The Cure’s Just Like Heaven (which they played twice–limited set list) to Modest Mouse’s Float On. There were covers of Pink Floyd, that Stacy’s Mom song, and an attempt at Sultans of Swing but nobody could remember the words. The best part of the evening was learning that the drummer had broken a finger earlier in the evening, but being a true musician and subscribing to the “show must go on” mantra, he just duct taped it to another finger and played away. Now that man deserves some Miller High Life!
I got to sit through two and a half sets, pee four times in the mirrored bathroom, and after the show, get my boobs signed by the band (Mom–I’m kidding about that last part). It appears that The Toledo Luggage (insert third word here) is in talks with Nancy to make an appearance at The Dolphin Lounge in the near future. If they do, I plan to bring hand sanitizer and an extra bra to throw at the stage.
All photos thanks to Kelly, who I nominate to be The Toledo Luggage Group’s publicist.