It was 30 minutes after midnight on a Thursday night, and all I wanted to do was to be curled up in bed, maybe watching the episode of The Soup I had recorded.
Instead, I found myself at the Bunkhouse, fighting the urge to yawn. Deep down, I was happy to be there, supporting my brother-in-law during his debut performance playing bass in the band Wall Street Vampire, but on the surface I was tired. It had been a long day, a long week – a long month, even.
I was three feet from pushing the Bunkhouse door to freedom when a smiling girl named Jackie Ojeda stopped me and asked, “Are you staying for my band’s set?” I told her politely that I wished I could but I had to go. She seemed disappointed. She offered a free compilation CD instead. I took it. No harm in having some new tunes to listen to on the 30-minute trek back to my Henderson abode.
After handing me two compilation discs, she asked me again to reconsider. “I really can’t,” I said. Calling my bluff, she countered, “Just one song. Stay for one song, and then you can leave. I promise I won’t hold it against you if you just stay for one song.” She added, “C’mon! You have to support the female artists. We came all the way from Long Beach for this show.”
Sigh. The feminist guilt trip.
“Alright. I can stay for one song,” I responded, adding silently that I wasn’t going to stifle my yawns this time. Jackie’s band, Bella Novela, took stage a few minutes later to face a nearly empty Bunkhouse. Despite this, the trio seemed pumped to be playing, perhaps because Vegas was the last stop on their recent west coast tour.
The band didn’t blow me away, but they entertained me for three full songs. When I pushed open the door of the Bunkhouse after the third song, it felt less like freedom and more like defeat. I would have liked to stay for the rest of their set, but sometimes you must succumb to your body’s demands – if only to avoid falling asleep on the I-15.
Bella Novela describes itself as spaghetti western wizard rock. Even when I’m fully conscious, I’m not entirely sure what that means, but from the three songs I caught Thursday night, it means the band is catchy, energetic and, most importantly, friendly. Sometimes, a little one-on-one audience interaction is all you need to win a new fan.
Bella Novela, I’ll catch you next time.