At last! I've been trying to get my butt to another show by cool Texan cats Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears since I first saw them last April at the Croc, and finally the stars aligned for me in the chilly snap of the November Seattle air last Friday evening. While I was on my way in the car to the Neptune Theater, I thought to myself, hey, you see a lot of shows, you, so why you like this band so much? I came up with Five Good Reasons, which is not at all like Lucy van Pelt's Five Good Reasons, although it could be if you wanna argue with me about it.

1. Their unique take on classic barroom rhythm & blues and rock n' roll. If there's anything I love, it's a band that can't be defined by just one label or one genre. Black Joe and crew could have a career based on doing the blues like so many have before them, safely and reverently walking the well-worn path. But instead, there is more of an open-door policy on what kind of influences the band throws into the mix, which is kinda brave. If you listen, you can hear Delta blues, Stax/Volt/Motown/Atlantic soul greats, Led Zeppelin, The Stooges, Bo Diddley, Hendrix, The Gories, Ty Segall, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and other interesting folks rambling around in their songs. Kinda brave and kinda smart, because listening to and pulling from all kinds of music keeps you fresh and on yer toes.

2. They have a whole lot of fun, so you have fun. Between the dancing horn section, the racy/wild/humorous lyrics (I hope that "Bitch, I Love You" was inspired by Tourette's Guy, oh how I hope!), and the massive amounts of rock energy poured out from all onstage, everyone in the audience is smiling and shakin' bootz like fools by the end of the show.

3. Hardest working band in showbiz? Seven guys are in the band now, and they seem to have been touring nearly nonstop for the past five years. This is not the glamorous life -- it's a whole lot of very very very long and boring drives, crappy road food, stinky socks, and all of the rest of the traveling life's difficulties. This band has a solid work ethic: they know that they kick ass live, and they know that they are building a loyal audience out there, one gig at a time, and they are just going to keep keeping on.

4. They have a set of Texas Longhorns horns onstage: Not on a live cow, mind you.

5. They care about improving as musicians, and therefore they do improve. There's hardly anything more off-putting to me than rock musicians with hot-shit attitudes. Listen, Stiv Beethoven, I've been around since Ed Sullivan was mulling over the idea of having this freaky bunch of Liverpool longhairs on his show for a laugh. I've seen a lot, and seen too many musicians, from great big names to the lowliest busker, that think they are IT and don't appreciate the tremendous privilege it is to be able to create music and perform for people. They expect kudos for just showing up. I want to see growth, change, work, progress, and humility in artists (or anyone, really). Work hard, try your best, keep moving forward. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears do this, and you can hear the positive results.

Me and my Five Good Reasons grabbed a bottled water at the Neptune and settled in down front for a great night of rockin' out and takin' pictures. I think Black Joe was even hotter this time out than at the Croc, and the buzz in the crowd built like a roaring ocean wave. Joe was spewing out lyrics so fast and furious that it was hard for me to make out the words most of the time, but the sound was good, bright, and blasty. We demanded two encores from the band and received them, including a manic version of the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird." (If there is a non-manic version of "Surfin' Bird" I don't want to know about it.) Fun? Oh, yes!

(Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears Flickr set)

The holidays are coming up, right? Gift yourself and Black Joe and the Honeybears by purchasing this sweet deal: the band's two albums, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is and Scandalous!

Special thanks to Joe W. and see y'all next time!