Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jump in the pit

Good morning. Jesus Christ, good morning. We left Colorado dead with winter. We got to Texas and were greeted with flowering dogwoods, lush green grass, leafy budding trees, crickets at night and warm breezy rain.

When did this one start? 12 days ago in the smokey lounge of the 806 in Amarillo.  The first folks we met were a band form Boulder, STATUE OF LIBERTY and they stomped on a kitchen table with no legs and sang wonderful songs.  
The stolen hour of sleep that disappears each March was last seen on the dim red clock face in room 128.  I slept soundly in the cheap Dallas hotel, the lights of Walmart still buzzing in my head from our 1am foray to the food aisle.  It rained for 30 hours, but not like the mean red patches shown on the weather channel, we must have been on the periphery, it pittered and pattered and was easily thrown aside by the windshield wipers on our way to Fort Worth.  

We played at Fred’s Texas CafĂ© last night. It had been raining all day, which was great. But this was a patio gig. There was a loosely connected tent of tarps over a row of picnic tables. Heat lamps on all the tables. Kris had a screaming headache and had to lie down in the van. The whole place was cold and dripping. We played in the one dry spot. The funny thing was that people were actually sitting out there and eating dinner. And we had a fabulous sound guy named Jerry. Jerry Christ. He had a big straw hat above a huge smile. He kept sneaking in jokes and happy spiritual revelations as he plugged in cables and hoisted speakers. I think the sound on that patio was as good as the Walnut Room.

After we played ‘All in your mind’, there was a collective holler from outside. Suddenly a gander of pudgy happy Texans burst on to the scene. They danced, laughed, drank, bought cds and left in under 15 minutes.  One table of ladies stayed the whole time. We ended up going back to their residency suite at the Marriot. They were young and gorgeous and drinking and smoking and married with children. I didn’t know that people like that were possible. We hung out with them all night and it was great. The Wild Texas Wives.

Driving to Austin in the dark listening to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  Once we made it to the capitol there was no stopping.  RAGBIRDS wailing away with fiddles and West African drums, SAL on the corner singing the St. Louis Blues, we met him in Brooklyn last summer and he’d been busking in NOLA since.  Frenzied gypsy accordions, clarinets and guitars by the INHERITANCE.  JAY-Z was on TV, only a mile away.  We caught word from ANNIE ST about a secret show and drove out to Zilker, scrambled up an old crumbling staircase and into the forest,  down across the creek and back over again, plastic candles lighting the way.  The stage was a dry sand bed below a 20 foot cliff, the crowd piled onto the hillside, sat among the bushes, didn’t say a word.  NICK JANA strummed, LAURA GIBSON sang serenely, the cops kicked everyone out during SPIRITS OF THE RED CITY’s set, a peaceful exodus, the magic was over.  We woke up to the roosters speaking spanish:  Cick- a - dee - kee.

AYO AWOSIKA stunned the crowd in the church and played a song she wrote 48 hours before.  We missed OK SWEETHEARTs set in all the madness. We sang songs with PAUL on the porch then walked down to the chaos of 6th.  Taking the river walk below Stubb’s we were chased out by 4 cops on horseback, they roused the sleeping bums under the bridge, shined the lights and yelled "park closes at 10pm!".  Back up on the street there bass blasted from every building.  Plastic bucket drummers, horns, WOLFMAN on the fiddle, lasers danced above the crowd, could have been Bourbon, could have been Beale.  We walked back to the East, didn’t even stop inside a club the whole night.  Thursday WOODEN FINGER stopped by from Jackson, STATUE OF LIBERTY came too.  CARL was somewhere in the radius.  The magic was at CHARLIE’S HOUSE SHOW, thanks to CLOUDS AND MOUNTAINS.  The nebula of bands settled there in the front lawn.  DEVIL WHALE, NORTH AMERICA.  Our set turned into a dance party.  HE IS MY BROTHER, SHE IS MY SISTER blew everyones mind, some still haven’t recovered.  A TOM COLLINS was possessed, DRY RIVER YACHT CLUB layered strings and reed and horns into the corner of a Thai Restaurant, SOME SAY LELAND drew everyone in to the most delicate air.  The last act we saw was an incredible metal band, perched on a hilltop outside of an old hangar. “This is our last song! Anyone standing around is a pussy! Put down your girlfriend’s hand, jump in the pit and get yourself a scar!”

It’s so good to be back  in Mississippi in Jane Rule Burdine’s cabin. I could easily write a book about all these Taylor people. Yesterday evening, first evening of spring, we sat on a porch beamed up with Nicky while JIMBO MATHUS rehearsed his band inside.  It was laid back, loose, swampy and southern.  It was one of those moments when everything is just right.

We’ve been so inspired by EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS. Especially Black Water. I fell into that song the second I heard it and I haven’t been able to get out. I don’t want to leave though. I’m happy here, spinning endlessly around inside of that song.

All of that magical mysterious sparkling wonderment fizzles into a pathetic flop that echoes faintly- “You can call if you want, but you don’t have to….”