Live. Local. Original. That’s the gospel of Pensacola blues band Fatty Waters. After winning the Northwest Florida Region of the IBC, they will travel to Memphis to compete with over 300 bands from across the globe. As with anything in this life, the week-long trip will cost a good chunk of change. The band hopes to raise the money with a barn-burner of a show tonight at Vinyl Music Hall.
“Four nights in downtown Memphis, a rental car, and gas gets expensive. We’d also like to eat while we’re there,” drummer Justin Headley told the IN after a Monday night gig at Paradise Bar and Grill on Pensacola Beach. It’s a harsh reality for a band that can spend up to 150 days a year on the road.
Sharing the stage with Fatty Waters tonight is one of this writer’s regional favorites, Baton Rouge psychedelic funk and jazz outfit Captain Green. These two bands first met after Captain Green’s Pensacola debut at Paradise. A brief stumble over to The Break, and their horn section was on stage with Fatty Waters for a full-blown jam session.
“Real musicians recognize real musicians. I caught a glimpse of their Paradise set and they asked if they could hop on with us later that night,” Headley says of the chance meeting. “They ended up staying with us overnight and cooking and hanging out the following day. They’re great people.”
That open-minded approach is something Fatty Waters has become known for. Says Headley, “We know what it’s like to be on the road in strange cities without knowing anybody, so we reach out our hands whenever we can. We want to be ambassadors of the Pensacola music scene. When other bands talk about cities they love to play, we want Pensacola in that conversation.”
Headley was raised in Detroit, a city that supports its musicians in a huge way. “Local support is the reason so many successful musicians are from Detroit,” Headley says, referencing bands like Kid Rock, Bob Seger, and Eminem. “In Detroit, going to see music is a thing to do. I’ve been in Pensacola for five years now, and I’m starting to see the social aspect of live music make waves here.”
The Pensacola business community has come together in a big way in support of tonight’s fundraiser. A silent auction will feature art from various locals as well as a $600 Adventure Package from Jolly Sailing. The package includes a two-hour sailing excursion for up to six people. Four models have been brave enough to put themselves up in a date auction involving The Wine Bar and The Fish House. Raffles will also be held all night for a variety of things, including a $100 gift card to Joe Patti’s.
Most of all, Headley and Fatty Waters wants people to get out and support original music. “We aren’t a jukebox. We aren’t a DJ. You aren’t going to hear ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ or ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ for the millionth time at our shows, but I guarantee you will have fun.”
As the old saying goes, you get what you put into it. Come out and support your scene, Pensacola.
Photo: Fatty Waters Facebook