It’s race weekend, and the city is packed with hundreds of thousands of visitors. The traffic is nuts and everyone wants to rev their engines. It’s time to party.
Abe was too tired, so my neighbor and party bud Dee joined me Friday night downtown. She brought a co-worker along and we cruised with the top down in the warm night air. As is my custom—honest!—I got rock star parking smack in front of the entrance to the club. Life is good.
Polka Boy was playing at the Rathskellar Biergarten, which was built over a hundred years ago and modeled after German clubs of the time. We arrived early enough to barely catch a seat at one of the picnic tables spread in front of the bandshell on the outdoor patio. Six men well into their cups allowed us to sit with them. They made awkward attempts at conversation, but they were friendly enough. They invited us to join them at a “titty bar” later. Somehow we found the fortitude to decline.
But then the band began to play. Polka Boy is a fourteen-man polka band, complete with tuba, three accordions and lots more brass (two of the three meanings apply here). This band is awesome. They played polkas, of course: Polish, Italian, and German. They may have slid in something Russian; we weren’t sure. But they took those accordions into new realms and played Tom Jones, Irish drinking songs, zydeco, Johnny Cash, rock and roll, Franki Valli, and the national anthem. Yes. And all of it was just great. The crowd was singing along with every song.
We left early, but the last song before their break was funk from the Average White Band. While you play this video, picture three accordions backing it up, swaying and playing and rocking out. That, my friends, is Polka Boy. They’ll be back July 9.