March 24, 2019 - National Doldrums Day: It was a Sunday. For a few minutes it looked like University of Central Florida would pull off the Upset of The Century (2019 edition) by beating Duke in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka ‘March Madness’) but alas when push came to shove the UCF Knights indeed lived up to their Internet 15 minutes of fame by proving to be March 24 Florida Man (Google it). Indeed, in depth research (looking at 2 websites for 52.4 seconds) produced the stunning revelation that the history of the mascot (“Knightro”) is infinitely more interesting than the basketball game itself. And besides. It’s Duke. The NCAA has long since written the script for March Madness and sealed the results in a mayonnaise jar kept in a locked vault at Nike Headquarters.
The Final Curtain came down on the 22 month run of The Mueller Probe leaving audiences everywhere perplexed as to the meaning of the final scene. More in depth research (another 52.4 seconds) produced the stunning revelation that the outcome was actually determined in the same manner as the Duke - UCF March Madness basketball game. It is currently unclear if the results of these two events of National Importance share that same sealed mayonnaise jar but give me another 52.4 seconds and I might come up with the answer.
Or maybe not.
The only clear determination from all of this, though, was that come Monday morning, my Social Media Timelines were going to be a complete wreck of Knights and Democrats threatening to burn it to the ground amid screams of ‘It was Rigged! We were Duped! That was a foul!’ while a hastily cobbled together coalition of Blue Devils and Republicans shrugged a collective shoulder at the lot, telling us all to move along, nothing to see here.
So that was it. The evening of Sunday, March 24 2019 was going to be our last shot at any sort of normalcy, a final blessed dose of solace before the Zuckerbergs and Dorseys of the ether ramped up capacity and filled our timelines with words and pictures of Doom and Gloom (complete with sponsored ads and 140 character tomes both with a side of memes aplenty).
Thankfully the Musical Gods at Froggie’s had the foresight to bring in Little Doors to provide the soundtrack on The Last Night of the World.
Lawrence Lambert started the show off solo on the stage, his voice and guitar providing all of the accompaniment for a few of his original creations, a veritable siren song inviting us to shore to be a part of what was to come. As he took his temporary leave of the stage, the space was occupied by Larry Berwald (guitar), Jimmy Masters (bass), and Russell Scarborough (Drums) with a particularly moody and enchanting version of the Miles Davis jazz standard ‘All Blues.’ Perfect accompaniment for our impending doom of Monday. The chord changes of All Blues painted the ideal framework for what was to come. And done to perfection to the point that this listener could hear the muted trumpet stylings of Miles himself playing the head. Three musicians on the stage, one between our ears, a trio becomes a combo. And the musical journey is enjoined.
This was (surprisingly) my first time hearing Lawrence play with Little Doors. I’ve caught him before as a solo artists; from the first notes I was a fan. His voice is equal parts Aaron Neville and Tracy Chapman, a somewhat unlikely pairing that works perfectly when embodied by Lawrence and his musical selections. But to be clear, it wasn’t the selections that were the star of the show (although the choices were beyond reproach and a perfect playlist for the day); I’d listen to this group perform the M through P sections of the Virginia Beach phonebook and hang on every syllable, every phrase. Thankfully other arrangements had been made and the evening was peppered with jazz and soul standards and favorites so we were spared a soliloquy of last, first, MI followed by seven numbers.
The stage contained years of musical experience, all of it on full display for the duration, demanding attention without being intrusive or overbearing. When the group launched into Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ it set off an internal conversation amongst us all: ‘You know we’ve got to find a way…..to bring some loving’ here today.’ To hear the songs of my (largely misspent) youth with an updated frame of reference can be at once a jarring and refreshing experience, Little Doors provided the map and drove the bus on this roadtip, the passengers alternated hanging on for dear life and enjoying the view from the side windows. All arrived at the destination, better for our travels.
And it wasn’t just me. By the time the first set was complete, Froggie’s on Shore Drive was Standing Room Only. On a Sunday at 7PM. The back room at Froggie’s was the perfect setting for this adventure, providing space to observe and contemplate, closeness to connect and converse. And dance because this soundtrack had a beat in addition to soul.
Epilogue: A few days have passed since Little Doors and Froggie’s. In a somewhat shocking development, the world is still revolving, nobody has burned it to the ground, UCF has faded into distant memory as yet another recipient of Orange Slices and a Participation Trophy. The next Big News Travesty of Justice is yet to hit. In essence a lull. And for that, we have Little Doors to thank, their musical message of inward introspection and outward understanding may have taken root, awaiting sunshine and water to hit full bloom.
My Social Media Timelines? A complete wreck but I hold Lawrence, Larry, Jimmy, and Russell (along with guest harmonica player David Holding) blameless.