Road Blog: Wednesday October 15, 2014 - Houston, TX
Tour Blog – Day 7 – Houston
Yesterday we left our motel and headed into downtown Austin for some record shopping and food. It was hot and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky all day, which felt great after cold, rainy and windy Colorado and Kansas.
We dropped Pat off so he could hang with a buddy in town while Gabe and I continued to single-handedly keep the USA economy afloat by dumping every last dollar in our wallets into the cash tills of America’s record stores. We started at Waterloo, a store I’ve been hearing about for years, and have seen in bootleg Drive-By Truckers videos and on the tee shirts of bands I’ve loved since the 80s. It didn’t disappoint – great selection of new and used, lots of cool 7”s (including a surprise find for the wife) and some great knick-knacks and books. The damage at Waterloo was negligible, but we’d remedy that at the next stop. End of an Ear is south of Waterloo, and after a quick coffee next door we stumbled in, expecting a quick walk-through before we had to meet Pat for lunch. Wrong. 20 minutes and unknown dollars later we were questioning the strength of the bag we’re keeping our records in.
The fallout of my blunder at Whataburger continued on social media – how dare I order a TACO at Whataburger? I’m in Austin – and I get a taco at WHATABURGER? The disappointment in the eyes of the Texans could not be more obvious. But my friend Jenni set us straight by sending us to Curra’s Grill (around the corner from End of an Ear) and it was awesome! I also took her suggestion of the avocado margarita, even though I’m not a big tequila guy, and it was great too. After that it was on the road to Houston.
The drive was short and painless, traveling through some cool towns and a string of truck stops and amazing looking BBQ joints. We stopped to fuel up, and after I paid for a coffee and water I looked down and saw a box of *gasp* crickets! “Do you people actually eat these or do you just sell them to Yankees for souvenirs?” I asked. The ladies behind the counter insisted they were good, and they recommended the cheese & bacon flavored over the salt & vinegar or the sour cream & onion. Pat wasn’t impressed at all when I threw the box up on the dashboard. “Ever notice – nothing is ‘cricket’ flavored?” he reasoned. “If you were eating cheese and bacon and a cricket flew in it – you would throw it away.” He continued. I couldn’t argue those points, but Gabe was down, so we each threw one back and munched away. Crunchy and gritty little fellers, mild flavor, but a not altogether unpleasant experience.
We hit Houston around 4pm and this is a massive sprawling city. Traffic sucked really bad, but we made it to the motel where Pat took a quick swim, I got caught up on a little work, and Gabe chilled and hydrated for the show. We headed into town to meet my good pal Brooks and his amazing, patient and sweet wife Lauren and their friends for beers at the Hay Merchant – a beer bar not far from the venue. It was there I was presented with a paper bag of *gasp* spicy hot pig ears. What the hell – I already ate a cricket, why not a pig ear? Back in Michigan we let our dogs chew on them. Here the coat them in sugar and hot pepper and sell `em to people at the bar. Damn, though, they were great!
We pulled up to Molly’s Pub where we collectively sighed at the sight of a massive stair case up to the room where the bands play. Gabe wasn’t having it, so he took it on himself to find a freight elevator we could hijack. Load in, set up, lubricate with whiskey and beer, and hit the stage! Opener Sam Barker played a great solo-acoustic set. Good southern-Americana tunes with a great voice and a cool sounding guitar. We were up next, and were stoked to be in front of a decent crowd for the first time in a couple days. A couple little technical issues, but no show-stoppers, and we left the stage coated in sweat and whiskey to many pats on the back and cheers. “These Yankees ain’t too bad!” I heard one guy tell his pal. TCR hit next to a great crowd of fist-pumping sing-alongs. We sold piles of merch, continued to party, and eventually loaded out and headed back to the suburbs and our motel. Huge thanks to EVERYONE who came last night, and all the kind words, and buying our shit, and buying us shots, and being awesome to these Yanks who are a long, long way from home. You guys made us feel great.
Off to New Orleans!!!!!!!!