Summer night: A rescue in the rain

Walter L. Sprague, Arts and Culture Reporter

Sad and Lonesome Boys played inside Perkins after the first Warm Summer Nights concert was rained out. 

Kim and the Classics (formerly Kim and the Cue Balls), which was scheduled to play the first Warm Summer Nights concert on Friday, canceled its planned appearance abruptly. Hosted by the Weston County Arts Council, the show was to be sponsored by First State Bank of Newcastle and the Weston County Travel Commission. On Thursday, Tom Voss, the arts council president, received a call from Kim Plender canceling the concert because she had come down with COVID.

But she reached out to another band, Sad and Lonesome Boys, and within a short time, Voss got a call from their lead, Quirt Rice, of New Underwood, South Dakota. Voss booked the band, and the concert was a go. Setting up the stage in the First State Bank parking lot went without a hitch, and the band arrived early, eager to play and openly appreciative of the large stage they had available to them.

“This is great,” Rice said, “Most of the time, we have tiny little stages or dark corners in a bar.”

Everything looked great at first. But soon, storms started to come into the area, surprising the arts council board members and the band with how persistently the rain fell. Nonetheless, Sad and Lonesome Boys began playing at 6 p.m., with only light rain at the show’s beginning. By the time they had played three songs, the rain had started falling thicker, and lightning was flashing all around Newcastle. Standing next to a microphone during an electrical storm is not something you want to do, so they powered down their equipment and covered everything with tarps, hoping the rain would soon let up.

But the weather had other things in mind. Radar was showing a more intensive storm coming in. Reluctantly, the band and the arts council board decided that the concert was over. The band started packing up their equipment as soon as they had a bit of a break from the rain.

No sooner had they cased up their instruments when information came to the band that Perkins Tavern would let them set up inside and play there. Within 45 minutes, they were set up and playing. It was another dark corner, but bassist Brenden Hendrickson said that they were just happy they could play.

“The setup is what we get paid for,” Hendrickson said, “Playing is what we do for free because it’s just that fun.”

At first, there were only a handful of customers inside Perkins. Over the next half hour, as popular country tunes filled the air, Perkins filled up to the point that it was practically standing room only. Sad and Lonesome Boys played for several hours, taking a short break around 9 p.m., and the evening was saved. 

The audience often sang along when they knew the words. Some even danced in front of the pool table. The band even asked for requests from the enthusiastic audience, and the music went on well into the night.

It may not have been the concert the arts council had hoped for, but thanks to the willingness of a local business, the night was not a total loss for the residents of Newcastle.

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