Great Night In: Be a Nighthawk
Had a week so tough only a kicked dog could relate? Had a day so strange it belongs in the back of a circus tent? Invite Tom Waits for a Great Night In and spend some time with a man who understands it all. Just pour a stiff drink, grab some diner food and settle in for one bent evening.
If you weren’t among the lucky few who caught Tom Waits’ 2008 ‘Glitter and Doom’ tour in person, there’s a new way to capture some of the idiosyncratic singer-songwriter’s magic without leaving the house – a baudy brawler of a live album.
Released earlier this week, ‘Glitter and Doom Live’ (Anti-) is a double-lp offering that distills the 19-city tour into a single 17 track set. Backed by an accomplished five-piece band, Waits warps and reimagines songs from the entirety of his career, toning down some of his grittier tendencies in favour of smoother, jazz-influenced compositions.
Save the first disc – the music – to enjoy with dinner. To capture Waits’ highbrow grime, we suggest this gourmet Salisbury steak, courtesy of epicurious.com:
Southwest-Style Salisbury Steaks
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck beef
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 tablespoon tequila
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced
Lime-pickled Red Onions
Using hands, gently mix first 8 ingredients in large bowl just until blended. Form into four 3/4-inch-thick oval patties. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill patties until cooked to desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare.
Transfer patties to plates. Top with avocado slices and Lime-pickled Red Onions. Serve, passing salsas alongside.
While you’re preparing dinner, pop in disc two – comprised entirely of Waits’ crowd banter – and enjoy the other side of Tom Waits, the stand-up comedian. Observations about the eating habits of vultures or the earning power of Sara Bernhardt’s severed leg may not mix well during your meal, but Waits’ obscure musings and comic monologues are humorous and surprisingly fascinating.
Had your fill of dinner but not Tom Waits? Pour a nip of your favourite bourbon – for those with expensive taste we recommend Basil Hayden’s (750 mL, $54.95), while the less discerning crowd can tuck into some Wild Turkey (750 mL, $26.95) – and slide ‘Down By Law’ into your DVD player.
Jim Jarmusch’s 1986 classic showcases Waits, as down-and-out DJ Zack, running from the law with Roberto Benigni and John Lurie after all three escape from a Louisiana prison. The film’s tender, comedic portrayal of rough, urban Americans finds much in common with Waits’ music and serves as the perfect end to a Great Night In.