Rock Gods #11: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Curious place, the Bullfinch. For instance, who runs it?

Hamilton’s, we all know, is on the third generation of its hallowed titular family: Edie’s the current figurehead, running the restaurant end weekdays. Dollaires (yes, we really do know how to spell it, it’s just more meaningful for us this way) is largely controlled by the booking agency which relies on it as a geographically perfect venue for touring bands migrating through the state on the way to larger cities.

But the Bullfinch? Technically, it’s owned by a faceless consortium of low-level investors who generally cede control of day-to-day operations to a paid manager. Said manager, the fabled Yuri Theotokoski, is pretty hands-off himself, bound more to the back room than to any action at the bar or stage. Most patrons wouldn’t even recognize him as a regular, and would only know his name because it’s emblazoned on the liquor-license “proprietor” plaque on the Finch’s front door.

So who does propel the Bullfinch? Surely, there’s no end of entertaining personalities happy to bask in the club’s limelight whenever the house mic is plugged in. But these are largely (and we know we’ll get heat for this) king-for-a-night types who host their own events or lead their own housebands. Much as we love and respect Open-MIc Merck, he’d be the first to say that he’s AT the Bullfinch, not OF it.

So who’s the foundation, the wallpaper, the thread, our metaphor of choice to represent the alchemical spirit and soul of this invaluable amped-up, tuned-in watering hole we call home?

Our candidate is Q, the humble barback. He seems to log more hours in the place than anyone, from lugging the beer deliveries down to the basement in the mornings to locking the doors at closing time.

He doesn’t book the bands—anyone who waits around to catch Yuri’s attention will be penciled in on the grid. But from what we can tell, Q provides essential quality control in that process, gleaming the sched for double-boookings or too-frequent appearances. When some out-of-town touring act gets a last-minute opening slot at the Finch (and thus are able to afford a meal or even a motel room en route to the nearest metropolis), that’s usually Q’s doing. Some of these acts turned out to be sensational. At least a couple have repaid the kindness by returning to the Finch when they’d made it big. That includes, as we all know, one certain superstar band in particular (a national act too big for our local-motive mouth to speak aloud in the context of this column) which has continued to sneak into the Finch amid its sold-out stadium tours, under such made-up-for-the-occasion monikers as Shower of Gold, Leda’s Swan and White Bull. For such divine favors you can credit the unassuming Q.

And he’s young! Still in his 20s, anyway. He’s been hanging around the club since he was a toddler, we’re told—grew up in the neighborhood—and has worked there since he came of drinking age. (Not that he drinks.)

Some have said Q has secret, simmering musical projects of his own. If that’s true, Q’s humility must be superhumanly high (or his self-esteem extremely low), since the Bullfinch stage is the most open and undaunting in town.

If he’s got artistic aspirations, we’d love to hear about them, but our advocacy of Q as the hard-working heart of the Bullfinch is not based on that sort of ambition. We know he’s got taste, we know he’s got style, and we know he’s the only one at the Bullfinch who ever dares to clean the bathrooms. Makes him godly in our eyes.

Our devotion is, at this point, one-sided. As they say in journo circles, Q “would not consent to be interviewed for this article.” That just means he shrugged, didn’t understand why we’d want to make any sort of deal over him, and went back to work. We realize that this story, singing praises of a guy who doesn’t mind them unsung, may limit our communications with him even further. Maybe we’ll just have to pray to him quietly over here for a while.

Enough about the Finch, which—for all our unremitting praise—is closed tonight AND tomorrow for private parties. Here’s what’s up elsewhere:  Reach Out and Semester Abroad bring their tireless, endless world jams to Dollaire’s on doomsday, or Tuesday, whichever comes first… Hamilton’s has The Sandwich Hams tonight and—we can’t make this stuff up—Stinky Leftovers tomorrow. The undercard includes Bar-S, White Egret (which, to save you some trouble, is a new local band that has nothing to do with White Bull and Leda’s Swan as referenced above) and a short acoustic set by the Allen Brothers tonight, then Sadia, Morrell & Co. and Guy’s Real all tomorrow….

Plan your weekend stroll now: Art Books Bibles, Custom Framing and the sanctimoniously self-descriptive known simply Gospel Music will all be playing at stops along A Walk In Truth, the charity walkathon which winds around the downtown parks Sunday, starting at 1 pm at town center common. We mention it now so you won’t be surprised when you run into any of these bands at clubs this week and they hit you up for contributions. These three acts boast some 22 members amongst them, so you can’t escape. And with them all playing, who’ll be left to walk the trail?…

One thought on “Rock Gods #11: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene”

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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