Howard and I arrived at Taj Mahal on North High Street in Columbus after a whirlwind of forgetting how to get out there. We travelled down one way and came back to park a block away. I had worn flats with a slight heel. I decided, even before I left home, that was a bad idea. I slipped a little on the snow pile in front of the sidewalk. Howard had trotted on ahead and realized I wasn’t right beside him. “Jenellie, hurry up.” “I’m workin’ on it!” We walked up the steps and into a house transformed into a restaurant.
A server greeted us an asked if we’d like a menu for dinner or just drinks. We decided to take both and the waiter said we could be served at the bar or the dining room. “Whatever’s convenient.”
First, we headed to the lounge to say “hey” to Caleb, Howard’s banjo instructor, who would be performing. Then, we headed back to the bar which seemed crowded. Howard asked if we could be seated in the dining room. The waiter obliged and fixed us a table with a little rose in a small clear vase. Aaaw! I got a cran-apple martini to sweeten the night.
Howard chose a dish that had brown rice, goat meat and various vegetables in it. He also got a type of flatbread that tasted fantastic, even by itself. The bread came with a yogurt and cucumber concoction to dip it in. I got a dish called Shrimp Saag. I was served creamy shrimp and spinach in what looked like an antique bowl. It came with a pleasant tasting side of white rice. After food-gasming during the first couple of scoops, Howard and I shared our extremely tasty meals.
Before Howard and I had been seated, a group of Indian students were seated before us in our destined dining room. During dinner, one student asked one of the owners about the hand drums in the corner with the sound equipment. The man said they belonged to a musician that plays occasionally. The musician was summoned from wherever he was and said the student could play if he wanted to. The young man gleefully took his perch in front of two of the upright hand drums. I swiveled in my seat to watch and Howard leaned over to watch too. The student beat and tapped the drums quite professionally, I must say. The musician asked the student if he plays and the young man said it was a hobby. A hobby!
After our delightful dinner, Howard and I headed to the lounge; down a set of stairs to the bar where Howard got a great gin and tonic that he generously shared with me. We sat in the lounge, painted red, contrasting with adjacent orange walls. Above, where the audience sat, music played. The room was separated by open solid, sliding wooden doors. Funky paintings ere dislayed on the walls. Lit candles set the mood. Sounds of cheerful, tangy banjo floated over the happy chatting of Taj Mahal’s patrons. Men and women, classmates too, had gathered to watch a band that, up until recently, I’d only heard about from my boyfriend. Caleb’s a true musician, Howard said, who takes lessons from him on a weekly basis at Martin’s Music in Newark, Ohio.
Caleb Powers, his father, and others make up the band Good Heads, Bad Head. A young woman, whose name I never got, sang and played guitar with the band. A man who reminded me of David Krumholtz played with the band as well. A girl in a salmon colored skirt swished her way to the front room of the lounge. She bounced around merrily, enjoying the music. A couple with Harley Davidson proudly displayed had come to listen to their son play, I think, an upright bass with the band.
I noticed a classmate from high school sitting on the geometric, red vinyl couch across from the geometric, black couch I’d taken a quarter possession of. I looked away because I didn’t want to stare while I tried to figure out if he is who I thought. The classmate spoke with the man beside him; turns out he is Caleb’s father. Turns out the classmate is precisely whom I thought he was, Shawn W. We re-introduced each other after a couple years between random appearances at gas stations and facebook.
A peron that I didn’t quite reconize was standing with Caleb at intermission as I headed back into the lounge from the bar. He had long blond hair, a strategically placed hobo hat, and military-esque jacket covering straight leg jeans. Caleb asked if everything sounded okay and I replied cheerfully that everything was great. I acknowledged the person beside Caleb and went to sit beside Howard. All through the concert, I tried to figure out exactly what I was missing.
Caleb chatted with Hojo during intermission. He told us a story about an ear infection he’d had. The infection made all pitches a quarter-note flat. For a musician, that’s enough to make him go crazy. There’s an ear doctor in town who took care of the problem. Of course I’ve paraphased because the conversation went by too fast.
The videos aren’t the greatest quality, but it gives an idea of what it was like to be there.
After the concert, got to catch up with a few classmates I hadn’t seen in about eight years. It was like my 5 year reunion that I never went to. Turns out the classmate I didn’t quite recognize was a guy that I was in Theatre with in high school. As I recall, he was a great actor. Another classmate was there with his fiancee; they’re expecting fairly soon. We all said our adieus and went our separate ways
Howard and I headed home; we got a little lost in the process, again. We’ve been talking about how cool the night was since then. We can’t wait for another gig!
Check on Facebook occasionally for concert events for “Good Heads, Bad Heads”. You’ll have a great time at whatever venue they choose. The music is great and the people are really cool.