Road Blog: Wednesday October 16, 2019 - Memphis, TN
October 16, 2019
After a little downtime at our hotel in Mississippi, about 15 minutes south of Memphis, we headed into town for the show. I went in with low expectations because last time we played here it was a disaster, with the locals not lifting a finger to help promote, then dropping off a few hours before the show, and also because we had two lineups for last night with good local support for this show that both fell apart, leaving us with printed posters and no one to play. My man Josh came through though, pulled it together and made it happen.
The P&H Cafe is an old dive bar-grill-pool hall. It looks like these walls have seen some things. The stage is in the corner to the left of the front door, there’s tables and booths in the main room, the bar and kitchen are in the middle, and there’s a couple pool tables in the back, with some dudes back there who look like they’re not messing around. It’s also a smoking bar, which we’re not really used to. Wasn’t too bad though, except when I was eating and the dude next to me lit up and used the ash tray 8 inches from my plate. No biggie – I found a nice table and enjoyed the hell out of my second dive bar burger in as many nights. Robert was managing the bar and gave us a friendly greeting. We met Josh and locals Ben Ricketts and Mars Hall Music who were all super nice dudes, welcoming us, and doing everything they could to make it a worthwhile Wednesday night.
They don’t have liquor at the P&H but they allow BYOB so I walked about three blocks to a spirits store and picked up a bottle of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky Rye. On the way back as I approached the street the bar was on, there were about a half-dozed souped-up sedans squawking their tires, spinning around a stopped car, squealing onto the boulevard and flying down the street at light speed and deafening volume, one after another. Memphis police pulled up right behind them, blue lights on, but oddly turned right when the hoodlums were all going left. I watched from the shadows with a couple homeless dudes and we couldn’t figure out what that was all about. “What the hell is going on?” I asked them. “I don’t know man – the po-leese is right there - ain’t doing nuthin!” It was an odd little moment that stuck with me for a bit.
Back at the P&H Mars Hall was about to go on when I went to get a cup of ice. There was a dude sitting there who looked up at me like he couldn’t figure something out. I nodded, said “hey buddy” or something to that effect, and went back to the boys. Moments later we heard a thud over by the bar. The dude had fallen out of his chair and was out cold on the floor. The bartender meandered over, tried to help him up, and it took a few minutes, but he was eventually back in his seat, cocked head, holding on for balance. A few minutes later he was gone, were not sure where.
Mars Hall played a great set of solo-acoustic songs with a bunch of effects that added to the music and made it really stand out. He did a great cover of “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne that we were all walking around singing for the rest of the night. We played next to a decent Wednesday night crowd. Not packed, but some attentive faces and responsive and interactive applause. We played pretty well for the most part and felt good about it. Up next was Ben Ricketts. I didn’t know anything about him going in but he did a sort of electronic-dance-dj-vocals thing that was really, really interesting and well done. He had some great hooks, powerful beats, and soaring vocals. He was really well rehearsed and his rig sounded great. Another diverse bill that’s maybe not exactly in our wheelhouse but adds to the texture of the night in a great way. We sold a little merch, I had a nice chat with a girl with a mohawk who had recently done some comedy in Detroit, and a dude who nailed us down somewhere between The Descendents, The Posies, and The Replacements. Can’t really argue with that, I guess, and can’t really ask more of a Wednesday night!
Back at the room we listened to the Raelyn Nelson Band over a nightcap and crashed hard around 2am. The usual hotel breakfast buffet, then I jumped in the pool to get the stink off before showering and packing up to go. THANKS THANKS THANKS to Josh, The P&H Café, Mars Hall, and Ben Ricketts for making us yanks feel welcome in Memphis. Xo
Tonight we’re at The Nick Rocks in Birmingham, Alabama, with Chicken Diamond (from France). Autta be an interesting night. Be good. Xo