So I had received a somewhat cryptic message from my buddy Tim Heap back in October. I was concerned initially that he was to be the bearer of bad news, but happily his message was one of glad tidings. Without giving away any details, he recommended that I renew my oft repeated plan of spending the post Thanksgiving Saturday night in New London, CT. His band HEAP, was playing in town, and there just might be some special guests. As luck would have it, I had already planned to be in the Ct, seeing family, so I made the trip over to New London to do the usual stuff. Visit the Dutch Tavern and Mr. G’s, shop at the great Telegraph Records, and generally reacquaint myself with my adopted “hometown”. Eventually it was time to head to the Six String Cafe (formerly the Bank St), where it was clear that the word was out that the “boys” were back in town! It didn’t hurt that music journalist Rick Koster from the New London Day had written a terrific piece about the show. Who says no one reads the paper anymore? The joint was jumpin’ and everyone was buzzing about seeing the debut of the 3 Pack. The who? The 3 Pack, which is made up of the remaining members of New London pub rock legends, “The Reducers”. Read Rick’s article for the back-story, this post is about the experience of seeing three lifelong friends return to doing what they love best, bashing out no frills, gotta dance, rock and roll. No Reducers songs either, which the capacity crowd, didn’t seem to mind at all. They were too busy bopping to several new numbers and a clutch of great covers from artists such as Buddy Holly and Mink Deville. But the best part was feeling the joy that was clearly evident on the faces of both the band and the audience. I had spoken to Peter and Tom, earlier in the day about what was taking place, and it was clear that for the first time in many years, they had some jitters. But they didn’t last beyond the first tune, and then it was like old times. Except it wasn’t, because of course we were missing Steve and that added a touch of bittersweet to the mix. Nevertheless we focused on the hear and now, and reveled in the moment. Lots of familiar faces from previous Thanksgiving shows made it truly a place where everyone knew your name. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how great the guys from HEAP sounded! Tim and a revolving cast of band-mates have been playing thrashy hook filled pop, for close to 20 years, and the current lineup, maybe the best yet! They delivered two sets of tunes, that make you sing along as the suds go down faster each pour. Thanks to those guys for helping to make this night happen, and especially to Tim for making sure I got a heads up!