Driving five hours roundtrip to see a show on a cold December night might seem a little nutty, but when the destination is the cozy Club Helsinki in Great Barrington and the musician is former Soul Coughing lead singer Mike Doughty, it's actually an incredibly sane thing to do.
We made the trip last Friday night after work and arrived just in time to have dinner (we split a plate of chicken apple sausages with warm cabbage and potato latkes) before the show began. The tiny club is charming, with antiquey light fixtures and an intimate dark red glow -- a perfect spot for Doughty's Question Jar show, in which audiences members submit handwritten queries for Doughty and his cello-playing sidekick Scrap to answer -- or mock. We were four feet from the stage, close enough to see every smirk, every chord change, every crumpled question hit the floor.
It was a magical evening, and we made it back to Somerville safe and sound at 2:30 in the morning, fueled by gas station coffee and "Busting up a Starbucks" on the iPod. Club Helsinki hosts great artists -- Maceo Parker, Levon Helm, Odetta, even the rowdy Gogol Bordello -- and I'd make the drive again in a heartbeat.
[We were sitting so close I didn't even have to zoom in for this shot.]
About Sound Effects
ContributorsSarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.