The New Mastersounds master a Sunday night at Locos in Savannah

I’m a big fan of good events on off nights, especially when it comes to good music.

So it didn’t take much prodding to get me out this past Sunday to Locos on Broughton Street for The New Mastersounds, a longstanding funk band from Leeds, England.

Of course, there was a Sunday night surprise. Back in 1997, I was actually at The Rail Pub in Savannah when Princess Diana died. On Sunday, I was a few blocks away at Locos when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was dead. I don’t know how The New Mastersounds’ drummer Simon Allen heard about Bin Laden’s death. Maybe it was announced just before they took the stage? Or maybe in these days of media connectedness he was checking his Twitter stream while slicing his way through a great set. Here at the beginning of “Freckles”, Allen even mentions Bin Laden. From where I was standing, I could barely make out what he was saying, but I pulled out my Blackberry immediately and soon found all sorts of info. But forget about Bin Laden for a second and listen to the rest of this great new song, slated for The New Mastersounds’ upcoming album:

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The New Mastersounds normally play big venues, but apparently they needed a gig to fill in their Sunday night and were in the general area. Since it has the “hybrid” bar/restaurant designation, Locos is one of the few spots that would even be open on a Sunday night. And the size worked too — I’m not sure of Locos’ fire capacity, but it’s considerably more than other downtown music venues.

And the jam band fans that drive so much of Locos’ programming turned out in big numbers on Sunday — each paying a $10 cover. When we talk about a stronger music scene in Savannah, this is just the type of act and turnout that we’re talking about.

Why, then, weren’t even more music fans on hand?

I knew maybe 10% of the 100-plus people on hand (I never managed to get a satisfactory count). There were only a couple of people older than I am. Maybe that’s to be expected, but the gig started at a reasonable time by Savannah standards. The excellent opening act Jaguars was finished by 10 and The New Mastersounds took the stage quickly. There wasn’t a huge amount of publicity about the gig, which was booked pretty late, but there was considerable online buzz.

No one can make it to everything — I was tied up with work the night Lucero frontman Ben Nichols did a recent solo gig at The Jinx. But people who care about the music scene have a special responsibility at this delicate but promising moment in Savannah’s evolution to turn out for the great gigs on the off nights.

Kudos to The New Mastersounds for such a great show in a much smaller venue than they normally play. Kudos to Locos for booking them and hosting such a great night. And kudos to the fans who found the time to get there.