Monday, February 21, 2011

2.19.2011, Arlington

1) Set and setting. The Sunshine Bar, located right next door to Caves Lounge on Division Street in Arlington (they share a parking lot, even), is a tiny dive bar the size of your ass pocket that occasionally books bands. I first set foot in there to see The Great Tyrant play a couple of years ago. Matt Day, the preacher's kid who used to barback at the Wreck Room (R.I.P.), runs the place now and he's become the perfect host in the same way that the Moon's Chris Maunder is. The Shine has the same neighborhood bar-cum-clubhouse vibe as El Wreck had. When we got there, the pool tables were still in place and musos were expressing trepidation at having to move the heavy-as-hell suckers (reminding me of the time we had to move a Hammond B-3 with a Leslie _over the bar_ at a place called the Showbar in Albany, NY). Matt arrived and recruited three of the regs who got up from their drinks and did the heavy lifting before returning to their spots. The crowd was great and enthusiastic. There's nothing like playing on the floor of a dive bar where the folks are right there in front of you while you're up. I'm convinced it makes bands play harder. It did us, anyway.

2) Magnus. We'd been talking about doing this gig forever until Ben Schultz from Magnus finally put it together. They'd just gotten their CDs mastered and I was fortunate to get one of the few copies he had on hand. When I got home, the Italian kid had emailed, suggesting that if I "happened" to have a copy of the Magnus CD and wanted to review it, that would be fine, so I said sure. Never say never again, James Bond. Ben, Andrew Tipps, and Kenneth Thompson sounded great, their sound well-balanced and powerful.

3) Convoy and the Cattlemen. I'd heard of these guys 'n' gals from Justin Workman, a 20something Arlington resident I work with who digs Dylan, the Jam, and blues as much as he does the Strokes and the White Stripes. He described 'em as "punk guys doing country," and I understand that they'll play all night if you let 'em, a la Brave Combo or Eleven Hundred Springs. They all live in the 'hood around the Shine, and they were kind enough to provide the PA for the evening. While still a teen, frontguy Convoy Cabriolet used to play in a punk band that often gigged at Spider Babies in Dallas when Richard's wife Elle Hurley was running it, and some of his Cattlemen play in House Harkonen. The Cattlemen's instrumentation includes fiddle and lap steel, and they play good old honky-tonk country (Hank Williams to his mother: "People don't go to honky-tonks to listen to music; people go to honky-tonks to _fight_") while costumed in the height of Wild West fashion in the manner of Spindrift. They're all tremendous.

4) A dream. I told Teague about a dream I'd had wherein we were playing a benefit at Lola's, he'd left the stage to get a drink, the other guitarist (not Richard -- in fact, no one I'd ever seen before in my life) needed a pick, and when I went to get one out of my pocket, I couldn't get my hand out, then when Jon returned to the stage, I called "Dirt" and the PA started playing Journey; we'd screwed around too long and lost our slot. Strange.

5) The li'l Stoogeband. I was a little anxious about what kind of crowd we'd draw, since there were more good shows going on in the Metromess than on any single weekend night in recent memory -- a good thing, but without all the musos that usually come to see us, would there be anyone in the house? I needn't have worried; lots of friends showed up, and about 60 percent of the folks present were probably house crowd, but thankfully the Shine regs liked us fine and were very demonstrative about it, always a plus as I noted earlier. I'd just gotten my varsity amp back from wizard o' circuits/Barrel Delux guitarist James Atkinson (who played with Richard in the Waves and Thing-Fish back in the day), and it was singing real pretty, and LOUD. Plus, Hembree was playing through Kenneth Thompson's big rig. Maybe we overdid it a little, as I learned later that we were overpowering the PA, so Ray's voxxx weren't optimally audible, and my ears are still ringing over 24 hours later. (Might be time for me 'n' my sweetie to invest in plugs.) In lieu of payment, we had very generous comps (free drafts and $2 you-call-its), which resulted in a very _well-oiled_ Stoogeband. We had a couple of good wrecks (on "1970" and "Search and Destroy," of all songs), but as I told Ben Schultz later, as long as you start and end together, no one cares. All in all, I'd say we played better at Lola's back in January, but we had bigger fun at the Shine. Next: Doublewide in Dallas on March 12th with The Bipolar Express and Darstar, as Stoogeaphilia's "Glacier Tour" of the Metromess continues.


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