Saturday night at the Nectar Lounge, The Caleb Klauder Band proved that the only thing more fun than saying the term “honky-tonk” is listening to it live. Originally from nearby Orcas Island, WA, and now living in Portland, Klauder embodies honky-tonk tunes with a pinch of the Pacific Northwest. As evidenced by the title of his 2010 album, “Western Country,” his songs contain plucky puns, references to soul-saving roads, and that swoony twang capable of melting even the Seattle freeze. The air smelt of whiskey and the fresh sweat of lively dancing. It made me smile to note the spectrum of ages at the show; young couples kissed in every corner as clearly lifelong partners swung one another around in front of the stage. With all the button-ups and cowboy boots about, I half-expected to see people sipping sarsparilla. Not everyonelooked dressed for a hoedown, though -- those who’d be labeled by pop culture as “hipsters” were right in the thick of it too, stomping their feet and cheering at each fiddle solo.
Urging the audience members to all “take home someone sweet” that night, Klauder’s clear charm and warm voice filled the venue with positive vibes all through his set. When one of his strings broke and he had to dash off to fix it between songs, the band burst into an instrumental number with just the rightamount of giddyup to keep people swaying. As each member participates in a multitude of other projects, their experience shone through, making for a cohesive and catchy show perfect for the Nectar Lounge’s stage and size. I highly recommend hitting a Caleb Klauder Band concert to anyone in need of a pick-me-up with plenty of country-style panache.
Words // Photos by AJ Dent