The Greatest Show On MERF

By Karen Le Van

It was a happy MERFday indeed, on the 10th of November, as 108 bands took the 17 stages at 14 clubs around Louisville to help the cause of musicians in need.

My daughter Susie and I started our musical chairs tour at Uncle Pleasant's where we caught the tail end of Dr. Smith, a band, not a real doctor.

After finding out Brother Stephen wouldn't be up next, Susie and I headed for Tewligans where we saw an up-and-coming alternative rock band from Iowa called Head Candy. They'd performed Saturday night and decided to stay over to play for MERF. Having just released a new album, they were heading for New York to do a video for MTV. Watch for them. Susie loved them, but I told her it was time to get back to Uncle P's for some real music.

Brother Stephen and the Midwest Creole Ensemble, complete with three saxophones, were just getting started. As usual, they were excellent. Susie liked them, too.

I wanted to stay for danny flanigan and the rain chorus, but it was time to head for the Hill.

We got to Phoenix Hill in time to catch Susie Wood as she once again captured her audience with her captivating voice and songs.

Up next was the highlight of the evening for me, The Shufflin' Grand Dads. I grew up with these guys (but I couldn't possibly be old enough to be a grandmother).

I remember when I was a cheerleader at Eastern High School and we hired Cosmo, and the band he was with then, to play for a sock hop after the Eastern-Waggoner basketball game. We paid them $75 and the dance was held in the basement of the Top Value Stamp store. Watching the Grand Dads perform took me back down memory lane. What a great band they would be for a class reunion.

And Cosmo hasn't lost a thing. He still dances and sings just like he did in the sixties. In addition to the oldies, they also sang their latest release, "Louisville Loves the Blues," written by Alan Rhody. Great show, Cos and the Grand Dads!

Well, I had to work Monday morning, so I headed for home as Spanky Lee was taking the stage.

One of the greatest things about MERFday, aside from the money that is raised, is the way the music community comes together. And any music lover of any age can find something to enjoy. And, who knows?, we just might discover a new sound or a new band to watch for. It's a great showcase for all musicians and music lovers.

Hats off to all 108 bands and to the men and women of MERF who worked so hard to put together the greatest show on MERF. Thanks!