A rainy Mother's Day night is not exactly the optimal time to win over the masses.
Regardless, Chicago songwriting wunderkind Joe Pug and Strand of Oaks dazzled the 75-or-so folks who bucked the odds, laid out $12 and saw a wide-ranging collection of strong songs and equally good singing.
Pug, who if you've heard "Hymn 101," or "Nation of Heat," or "Speak Plainly, Diana," you know what a good songwriter is, blew effortlessly through a strong 50-minute set, with each of those three songs serving as just a few of the highlights.
Whether his passionate, poetic lyrics were reflecting an everyman's take on America's woes, "My Father's Drugs," or imagined pitfalls of a would-be thief in "The Door Was Always Open," Pug's lyrics repeatedly found the bull's eye.
Good lyrics were the theme of the night as opener Strand of Oaks, which is actually the psuedonym of singer-songwriter Timothy Showalter. With humorous intros of his songs "Sterling," "Last To Swim" and "Alex Kona," Showalter won over the crowd.
Here's hoping these guys find their way back to Salt Lake relatively soon, and not on an unseasonably cold, holiday night.