So it’s a weeknight again here in The Hill Country, like most nights, that means music. For me, one of the key elements of music is getting more bang for the buck.
That’s the beauty of events like Ziegfest (some years), Rowdy Float Trip, and formerly Steamboat (from accounts I’ve heard). If you’re the type of fan I am, and you’d rather hear a singer sing words he/she or a buddy wrote rather than “Purple Rain,” then a 45-90 minute set should be pretty satisfying. You don’t need the 4 hour play every song we know take 3 breaks while 9 people listen and 280 drunks try to get drunk and laid set.
So here’s the plan – burn gas. It’s BYOF. Build Your Own Festival.
This particularly night – A WEEKNIGHT! – finds Kyle Reed swapping songs with – I apologize, but some guy I’ve never heard of that wasn’t very good – down at River Road Icehouse (RRIH) in New Braunfels. Kyle’s fantastic.
There’s probably a better vocalist out there who you’ve never heard of, but it’d be a tough battle. His vocals SOAR. You’ll get that holy shit tingle hearing this guy. I check out Kyle for a bit. They were a tad off schedule, but that’s music, and in the meantime, Miami pulls out a squeaker over North Carolia and Dos Equis is on $2.50 special. Speaking of cash, no cover, so tip the band. I bought Kyle a beer and picked up a sticker for him down the road at…
Billy’s Ice in New Braunfels, run by the same folks, who seem pretty cool. Nick’s the manager, and when I Facebooked him about charging $20 for parking for shows at RRIH, he sent more explanation that I was probably entitled to. That’s customer service, folks, if you remember that term from way back when. By the way, no cover again at Billy’s, where Whitey Morgan and the 78s are playing.
They’re a Jamey Johnson lite/ Merle Haggard type group. I add the “lite” to that sentence after the live show. I’m thinking they are probably used to playing to a more hell raising, titty flashing, drive your motorcycle across the dance floor crowd, and Billy’s didn’t deliver that. We were listeners for the most part, so the band may have phoned this show in. Granted, they weren’t given much to work with. Even at the bass player’s encore goad under muffled vocals, no one reacted. Well okay then.
Show’s over. I bought a t-shirt off the steel player, tipped the band (another free show, remember), grabbed Kyle Reed a sticker, and fired up the Prius for as much as one can fire . . . up . . . a. . . . Prius. Shit, I actually took a Family Circus route to my car because real men were getting in trucks ahead of me. 46Mpg takes some getting used to.
At least I can afford to tip the band on the money I save. No, seriously. Fine.
Kiss my ass.
So, my favorite bartender at Cheatham St. Warehouse in San Marcos (maybe 15 miles up the road and springboard for George “I’m trying to retire more times than Alabama, the Judds, and Don Williams combined” Strait and Stevie Ray “no smartass insertion here” Vaughan) is celebrating with Zane Williams and The Damn Quails. Cover is $10 for two bands that have gone to number 1. I intend to buy Blaine a shot, but I’m told he’s pretty well set on the alcohol department. I squeeze the hand of Kent Finlay, proprietor and songwriter of “They Call It The Hill Country” among others, and fist bump half of Midnight River Choir in attendance tonight.
Can you believe someone stole the lead singer’s phone in the parking lot of the Filmore while they were recording their upcoming album out in California? People. The crew from Superfly’s Lonestar Music Emporium and half of Billy’s staff is also there, I found out later.
It’s a star studded event, people. It’s not name dropping when it’s roll call. I’ve missed Zane Williams, who is as talented and up and coming and talents and up and comers… come. I saw him acoustic by the river this summer during our friends at Galleywinter’s Greenfest. After his set that night, he ran around inside the Floathouse playing tag with some really good parent’s 8 year olds. This was after he inspired tears singing about being on the road away from his kids, so damn. Hold on. Okay. Pheew. Have you heard that song? Shit, it’s tough. Someone on here can tell you the title – I don’t recall it presently.
Back from that rant, I missed Zane’s set. Kent says his full band show was incredible. The Damn Quails are doing their thing. It’s 11:45, so I’m not sure how much of this I’ll catch. Here’s my problem with the Damn Quails, and it’s entirely MY PROBLEM: The first show of theirs I caught was 6 piece acoustic on the small stage at Gruene Hall. After that, it’s been sort of, “oh yeah, cool show, man.” When you set the bar that high, the other shows just limbo right under it.
I dodge a wild boar on the way home. DNR will give you $2 for a tail. Maybe 5 bucks by now, but it’s late, so like I said, dodged him.
So that’s how BYOF works.
- 8:30 – 12:30 on a weeknight.
- Lineup: Kyle Reed and friend, Whitey Morgan and the 78s, Zane Williams, the Damn Quails.
- Total price of tickets: $10.
- Odometer between shows: 19 miles.
Let’s hear how you’ve built your own festival in the comments below.