Back when being in Bismarck meant that I was visiting briefly from far out of state, I would make it a point to designate the Broken Oar as the specified location at which to reconnect with friends and family during my all too limited time in town. As I wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy all the recreation and hit all the hot spots offered to me in the few short days I would carve out to be home.
I figured the Oar was sort of the all encompassing venue at which to indulge in the best of Bismarck. The Broken Oar is a darling little dive on the edge of town featuring pool, darts, charitable gaming, cold beer specials and frequent live music. The deck at the Broken Oar is spacious with comfortable seating, excellent service and interesting people watching. It hasn’t changed much over the years and that’s just the way I like it.
On one particular July night, now once again a legit local with more time on my hands, I headed down to my favorite riverside hangout especially to hear the legendary local rock band, Unleashed, in the joint that has always made me feel like I’m in the fun and familiar home of a good friend. These were the strangers in my establishment so I paid close attention to what they were doing to assure myself that they weren’t up to no good.
In doing so, the very first thing that I couldn’t help but notice about these four artists was their collective incredible hair. A good looking group of guys all around, each boasts a distinctly different image, unified by a cool, classic rock vibe. The luxurious locks of front man Todd Pechtl could put Bret Michaels’ mane to shame and your eye is immediately drawn to him as a stellar centerpiece. And then you notice his voice. Pechtl is the kind of rocker that can take a knee and sing a ballad to a blushing bachelorette (which he happened to do the night I saw him) and then jump to his feet and growl like Waters, belt like Morrison and scream like Plant.
With a range like that you expect and receive the regular rock anthems like “Crazy Train,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Talk Dirty to Me.” What you don’t anticipate, and what Unleashed delivers with mad skill, are the likes of Johnny Cash, Lady Gaga and Joan Jett, all creatively covered, played with proficiency and executed with an awesome, straight up rock n roll attitude. The energetic, up tempo, edgy style of Unleashed commands the dance floor from the first set (a rarity in the world of the Bisman bar band) and keeps their audience moving and shaking until the last note of the night. As I reluctantly tore myself from the Broken Oar that evening I heard Todd exclaim, in the immortal words of Poison, “Ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ but a good time, and it don’t get better than this.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
(For more information on Unleashed visit www.unleashedbandrocks.com/. Check out Amber Rae’s blog at: http://redamberrae.wordpress.com/dive-bar-diva/. Also be sure to “like” Dive Bar Diva on Facebook, listen to her radio show on URL every other Wednesday at 4 p.m. and watch her television segment Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CATV12 or any day any time on Youtube.)