When I left off, we were heading to Texas, a state I had never visited before, pretty exciting! It was an early departure from Santa Fe, and it was going to be a long day of driving, but luckily there was no gig we had to get to, just a hotel room waiting at the end.
Ben and Nathan took the lion’s share of the drive. High priority for everyone was to get some real Texas barbecue at some point, which we did in Amarillo, at Tyler’s Barbeque. The owner talked to us for a while – apparently they get bands in there fairly frequently – and he was really hospitable and nice. He told us about Texas and we told him about the Northwest, which he’s visited once or twice, and he asked us about touring and the van we use, among other things. It was a great first Texas experience for me!
The weather took a pretty nasty turn during Nathan’s part of the drive, although I was asleep for most of it. Some of the darkest stormclouds anyone had seen before rolled in and there were heavy rains for a couple of hours. But we made it through and Nate kept chugging until we got to Dallas to stop for dinner. From there it was an hour and a half to our hotel in Houston.
The next day we were playing at Plonk Wine Bistro, and we weren’t really sure what to expect. From what we gathered, it wasn’t a traditional music venue; the owner would pay for an outdoor live music event 3 or 4 times a year as a kind of celebration for his regular patrons and friends. Because of this, and the fact that we had never played in town before, we didn’t know if anyone showed up. As it turns out, people did show, and they were really enthusiastic! There was a fair amount of New Orleans transplants there too; it appears as though they’ve built their own live music community there in Houston, pretty cool!
The next morning was a somewhat early one so that we could make it on time to our load in at the Austin venue, Speakeasy. My friend Lindsay had been in Dallas visiting family, and she made the trip down to Austin to come to the show, which was very awesome of her! I had a delicious gourmet hot dog at a stylish hot dog shop/coffee shop/bar (seriously) and then met Lindsay at Fado, just like Seattle. She showed me around town a little bit, although not as much as I would have liked but time was a little limited. One of the bars we stopped at had Western dancing lessons in the evening and then a dance band at night that you could try your moves out with, which seemed pretty fun, and Stubb’s barbecue was served outside. This was a big deal for me because I only knew of Stubb’s from the barbecue sauce that’s sold in grocery stores in Seattle; to be somewhere where the real deal was cooked was a neat experience! Of course, the night was warm, so there were bike cabs everywhere, moreso than in Seattle, so that was a little different scene too.
The actual performance at Austin went okay; the conclusion we came to was that the venue just wasn’t a good fit for us. There was a comedy show in the front room while we were in the back, and anyone coming in had to pay cover for both, not a great business strategy. Oh well. I’m excited to go back to Austin someday, as I enjoyed the people and the city seemed really hip!
Also, big shout out to Amy for a nice stay at an apartment that belonged to friends of hers, beautiful river-view and enough room for 9, what a blessing!
OKAY…next up: New Orleans. I’ve already talked off many of your ears about NOLA if I’ve seen you recently, but it’s already been a month since the trip (geez, time is moving quickly these days), so I think it will be good for me to reiterate a lot of my thoughts on the blog, hopefully you enjoy it.