After the previous night's excitement, I was ready for some R & R on my last day in Austin. R & R meaning, of course, rock and roll. [Editor's note: not my best work, humor-wise. Forgive me.] The ER doctor, while stitching up my wife's face, told us about "the best coffee shop in Austin" where there was going to be a whole afternoon of free music the next day, "more in a folky, bluegrassy vein." And this woman knew veins. [Editor's note: that was funnier, right?] So off we went to the Once Over Coffee Bar, stopping along the way for some delicious tacos from - you guessed it - a food truck right in front of the coffee shop. Once inside, we secured some beers, then made our way to the back deck where a lady with a ukelele was just starting her set.
It turns out that lady - Datri Bean - was going to become one of my wife's new favorite artists. On her web site, Bean describes her music as "music for a lazy afternoon on the porch" and I couldn't agree more. We spent a nice long while basking in the Texas sunshine, nursing our beers (and, for some of us, our head wounds), and happily grooving on Datri Bean's folky, jazzy tunes as she switched from ukelele to accordian and back again. It was heavenly. We stayed for a few more groups afterwards (unfortunately, I can't recall their names) and really enjoyed ourselves, finally heading indoors for some of the excellent coffee and a surprisingly good bagel. All in all, a good afternoon.
|Datri Bean and her accordion|
That night was going to be my last night in Austin, so I knew I had to make the most of it. I had plotted out 5 bands I wanted to see (with about 5 backups for each time slot), all at venues within walking distance of each other. I knew if I stayed focused and kept on a steady diet of Jack & Coke and Lone Star, I could do it. So I set off on my rental bike around 8:30 PM, plan in hand, ready for a good time. Here's how it played out:
- My first stop was a church where the over-50 set, a handful of teenagers who looked way too young to sneak into any over-21 clubs, the other 3 Jews in Austin, and I all enjoyed the klezmer-honkytonk stylings of the Yiddish Cowboys. Truth be told, they were really just a klezmer band in cowboy hats, there wasn't any discerinble honkytonk to my ears. But I did learn from them that the song "Miserlou" has its roots as an old Greek folk tune who's title means "Egyptian Girl." So that was interesting. Also, the entire church smelled strongly of bacon, which was being cooked out in one of the common rooms, along with a whole slew of breakfast items available for sale, as well as beer. Fascinating.
- Next up was Damien Jurado, who performed a beautiful set despite some obstacles. He was in an upstairs club above some place that was blaring some sort of horrible nu-metal music or something. It was impossible not to hear the drums pounding through the floor as he sang his quiet heartfelt songs. At first everyone in the club was sitting down, and it felt really communal, but eventually the club asked us all to stand up to let more people in, which was weird, because the people who came in just stood at the bar and talked, prompting Damien to yell at them to "shut the fuck up" at one point. He seemed a little perturbed the whole time, but still did a great set, even doing one of his guitar solos a cappella as he played the rhythm part, inviting the crowd to sing along with him during one song, and then telling us a story about the "rich assholes [he] knew growing up who owned a trampoline."
- My next stop was easily the loudest of the night, when I managed to squeeze myself into a very crowded club to see Tapes 'n Tapes. Apparently they have a new album out, I had no idea. I haven't really heard anything about them in a while, but it turns out they are very good live, they are incredibly loud, and they are extremely punctual. All of which are positives in my book. They did a crisp half-hour set which actually included a lot of songs, which I guess highlights how short their songs are on average. This show made me want to listen to them more, so maybe I'll check out that new album some time soon. I also really appreciated the brevity of this set, as it gave me some time to enjoy a nice food truck falafel before rushing off to the next show of the night. Side note: this was the only show of the evening for which I did not get to sit down for at least a portion of the set. At my age, that's worth keeping track of.
Her Space Holiday, pre-retirement
Damien Jurado, hanging out
|Damien Jurado, rocking out|
|Wall art/musical instrument from our Austin rental condo|