Road Blog: Sunday October 15, 2023 - San Antonio, TX
October 15, 2023
San Antonio, Texas
First thing Sunday morning was to check the van in the parking lot of our dive motel in Fort Worth to make sure that it and all our gear was still there. It was a cold morning and the riff raff were milling about, but things looked intact, thankfully. I whipped off the road blog, showered, loaded up the guitars and luggage and we were off, with a very full day ahead. We gassed up and got breakfast at Whataburger. My fiend Brooks swears by it, but I’m not as enamored. It was serviceable for a quick meal, but honestly I’d take an Egg McMuffin any day. Jacob loved his jalapeno biscuit, and when the boy is happy with his breakfast, we’re all happy, so no probs. Later in the afternoon Brooks would pontificate about some “off the menu” concoction you need to order where they do this with the salsa and that with the biscuit and if you wanna get crazy you say “verde” then it’s green and all this, but who has time? So I’m batting .000 at Whataburger after two tries, but to be fair I haven’t tried a burger yet. Two days in Texas left so who knows?
We made it to Austin in just under three hours and stopped off at Kate and Chris Stangland’s house to pick up a couple PA speakers they’re loaning us from the Bottlecap Mountain practice space. We met Kate in Michigan back in March and she got us set up in no time, Chris still up north and on the road with the Bottlecaps. Their house is a cool, sort of sprawling ranch in a neat neighborhood not far from the highway and their dog really wanted to meet us, but we didn’t have time to socialize, unfortunately. Big thanks to Chris and Kate for the help – it saved us from lugging two giant PA mains across the country for one show.
We drove through what seemed an endless spawl of box stores, travel centers, food chains, and churches nonstop between Austin and San Antonio. One guy had a license plate on his Honda Civic that said RADDUDE. We cranked the Bottle Rockets’ Songs of Sahm record, which seemed appropriate. This was our first time in San Antonio and it seems the thing to do is to see The Alamo. Ever since I was a kid I heard about the Alamo and Davey Crockett and all that, and until you lay eyes on those types of things it’s just sort of some conceptual thing that is difficult to actually realize. Well, call me naive, but I figured we’d pull up, jump out, snap a couple pics, grab a souvenir magnet for the refrigerator and be on our way. Nope. It was a quagmire of humanity and traffic, multiple trips around blocks, scoffing at $25 for two hour parking, and some pretty colorful language. We eventually found a slightly less expensive parking option that was very close and walked over, got our pictures and magnets, nodded our heads, said “yup.” and moved on. Jake wasn't impressed.
A short mile away is the Alamo Beer Company, where the show was. We drove around the back alley and backed right up next to the stage to unload. The stage is in a courtyard/patio area between the taproom and brewing buildings, with string lights and a giant railroad overpass converted to a pedestrian path overhead. It’s a really cool setting and the weather was great – low 70s and sunny. There was karaoke going on in the adjacent yard of the compound, and this little dude killed “Jackson” (most famously done by Johnny and June Carter Cash) before some poor lass murdered the “Whole New World” song from some Disney movie I’ll never see. Someone wrapped up with the Nirvana version of “The Man Who Sold the World” and I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that cat had no idea it was a Bowie song. It was all good, people were having fun, and who am I to judge.
We got all set up, including the PA, had some food and pints, and went on around 5pm. Sunday-Wednesday shows on tour are always hit and miss, and often a bit weird. This one was on the better side for sure. There weren’t a ton of people, but there were enough to keep it fun, and they were engaged and responsive. The above-mentioned Brooks and our pal Jose drove up from the Houston area, Gabriel’s cousin Liz and her husband showed up, and some cat named Mike from Minnesota via England was there who was most complimentary and pleased with the music. He was disappointed that our last song “Double Negative” wasn’t available on any albums yet, heck, we’ve only played it a couple times now, but he picked up a couple CDs and promised to watch out for it on the next record.
We wrapped up at 8 as it was getting dark and the crowd was thinning out. Last-call pints were poured, I talked some guitars and amps with Jose, who’s a big Stevie Ray Vaughan fan, and we tore down the whole shebang - PA, lights, amps and drums. It really is a beautiful, urban, industrial setting, complete with regular passing freight trains and a view of the skyline in the near distance. Our trusty GPS companion Karen Jacobsen - The GPS Girl got us back on the freeway with Gabriel at the wheel and Jake cranking an early Fastball album. We stopped for fuel at a sketchy AF Circle K and I foolishly bought this thing called a Sponch, which is apparently “Marshmallow cookies coconut and strawberry” and immediately had massive buyer’s remorse We’ll report back on that later. But what is it with these ghetto travel centers? They have pints of chocolate milk, strawberry milk, Froot Loops milk, Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk…but no goddamn white milk?
From there it was a couple blocks inland to our AirBB where we’ll have a base for the next 36 hours, a welcome stretch of no travel and causal downtime after four straight days of nonstop movement, shows, and activity. We’re doing fine, but a bit fried and in need of a few hours of chill. San Antonio was a fun adventure, and you can’t complain for a Sunday show. Thanks to everyone at the Alamo Beer Company for being so nice to us (and thanks to everyone at the actual Alamo too I suppose).
Not sure what today will hold, maybe guitar and record shopping? Tonight we’re playing our second show ever in Austin, this time at HOLE IN THE WALL, back with our pals Bottlecap Mountain again. We’re ready to be back in a dive bar, and ready for a rockin’ 45 minute set. Tucos up second of three. See ya there! xx