Lil Indies is not supposed to be a music venue. At least, not the majority of the time. For the most part, you can expect to go in there and kick around the jukebox, slide into a booth and order your drinks in an environment where you're not necessarily screaming over the band to have a conversation with your drinking buddies. But, on select nights, the bar does become a venue to mostly smaller scale shows, like string bands, jazz solos and, tapping into what previously was and still remains a Will's Pub staple, one-man bands. As a non-smoker who doesn't care about smoking or non-smoking decisions that bar owners make (it's not my bar ... ), I'd like to say that my recent flirtation with Lil Indies has nothing to do with the fact that it's a non-smoking venue, but has more to do with the atmosphere, where you can duck out of a heavy show at the Pub and escape into a string band set or to a comfy booth with those fake lanterns I love, because kitsch. I also happen to love that I can share tabs between the two bars (ahem, I'm told this isn't confusing at all, so don't feel like you're asking for a special favor). Anyway, I was in Lil Indies earlier this week in the same manner I just described, ducking out of a heavy metal show for a quick breather, and had the delight of walking into a set performed by Lauris Vidal, who is doing an "April Residency" at Lil Indies. And it was one of those moments where your life feels like a movie because of the song that comes on.
Vidal has been performing in this state as long as I can remember, and now he's shaped himself into a pretty versatile one-man band, including some great new material as well as some inspired takes on mega-classics of blues and country. It just so happened, though, that he performed Hank Williams' "Your Cheating Heart," just as I was making my escape from Will's, and man, did I feel the burn in my cheeks at feeling called out by the universe for abandoning a perfectly good Dogfish Head Aprihop keg just to rest my bottom on a bench for a while. But, it was worth a little self-scrutiny to hear how he changed up the Hank hit in a way that made me appreciate Vidal's capable artistry. For now, I'm torn between two bars, but I'm looking forward to Vidal's next show at Lil Indies on Tuesday, April 16 that also overlaps with a show at Will's I'm looking forward to, featuring locals Jr. Meowzer, a couple Philly bands and what, by my estimation, seems to be a Weezer cover set.