Road Blog: Monday October 16, 2023 - Austin, TX
October 16, 2023
Monday morning was our first opportunity to sleep in and not have to rush out of town in five days. I was still at it pretty early, but the downtime was nice. The boys crashed out `til around 11 while I published the blog and went for a nice long walk up from our AirBB and through a couple neighborhoods. I saw lots of prickly pears cactus and giant aloe plants, a homeless encampment in the woods, and some massive drainage canals, dry to the bone. It’s so dry here. We’re all coughing and just parched, looking forward to the humidity of Alabama tomorrow. I was disappointed, however, to not see an armadillo or any lizards.
When I got back Jacob was researching lunch options, always on the lookout with a great track record of finding killer food. We also wanted to bop around Austin a bit. We went to Terry Black's Barbecue and there was a line out the door. The boy was determined, and the line moved really fast so no probs. I got a half pound of brisket and a couple pork ribs with a side of pintos and a side of mac and cheese. I’ve had BBQ all over the place and know my way around a grill and a smoker a bit myself, but I have to say this was the best I’ve ever had. The bark on the brisket was amazing. The ribs had a slight sweetness to them. The mac and cheese was the perfect amount of creamy, and the noodles were not overdone, and the pinto beans, holy smokes – incredible flavor. The meal lasted me until 2am.
We left Terry Black’s and walked of our lunches as much as we could in a couple of Austin’s popular neighborhoods. There really wasn’t a whole lot to see on 2nd Avenue or 6th Street for us, to be honest. We did see where Austin City Limits is filmed and some of the legendary bars that have made Austin one of the music meccas of the USA. Other than that it was a couple stores and some sidewalk. We hit End of an Ear record store on our way back to the AirBB, which is a store Gabriel and I visited in 2014, last time we were here. I got a Cheap Trick pin and Gabriel got an album. Back at the AirBB we had a couple hours before we had to head into town so we just sorta crashed out and did our own things for a bit, again very appreciative of the downtime, knowing also that it would be at least a couple days before it happens again.
We headed back into the city to meet up with our friends in Bottlecap Mountain and have a pre-show beverage, and about 10 minutes in to Austin rush hour traffic Gabriel asked me if I’d grabbed my guitars from the AIrBB. Nope, shit. We had to turn around and grab them, and it was a pain in the ass, let me tell you. Not the end of the world, but a rookie mistake. It went quickly and we were soon at Curra's Grill, recreating the same event from nine years ago, sipping on an avocado margarita with friends. Sounds weird but they’re amazing (the avocado margaritas, not the friends. Well, the friends are amazing too, but I was… nevermind). It was nice, too, to get to hang with our friends in Bottlecap Mountain again outside of the context of a show, where there’s gear to schlep, set up, tear down, and play on. I was thankful that Stewart Gersmann had the idea and invited us out.
An hour later and a 10 minute drive away we parked behind the HOLE IN THE WALL to load in, and a big THUNK resonated from the roof of the van. There was a massive branch hanging from the tree, seemingly ready to emancipate itself, but almost invisible because of how high up it was and how it camouflaged in the leaves and the Austin night. Seemed no damage done, but a bit of a wtf moment.
The Hole in the Wall is a great rock and roll dive bar. We felt right at home in this place. A bit dirty, stickers everywhere, half broken down gear, a well worn in stage, and a salty but friendly staff who’d seen a million bands come and go. There’s a big room in the back that’s probably good for at least a couple hundred people, but we played in the front, better suited for a Monday night show. We used some of the house gear and got set up pretty quickly and settled in for a drink. Brooks and Jose from Houston were again in attendance, for the second night. My pals Dan Whitaker and his wife Megan came out. We’d met in Chicago when we did a show together right as the pandemic was starting to ease up and bumped into each other a couple times sense. My friend Philip came out, who I’d met in Madison, Wisconsin when we played there about 10 years ago, and once in California since, great dude, and always supportive. And there were more – friends from Twitter Heather and Amber were there, rocking out till the end. And a ton of people I don’t know. Very sorry if I missed anyone, it’s a little hazy to be honest. We had a great crowd for our set, felt we played well, and it was a super fun night. Wesley Maffly-Kipp opened with a great set of solo-acoustic originals, and Bottlecap Mountain played after us and destroyed the joint with the best set I’ve seen them play yet (and they’re always great). Rockin’, high-energy, great sound, clear harmonies… just killer all around.
We spent at least another hour hanging out and talking to our old and new friends. Brooks has some new breakfast plan for us involving some other local chain and some custom concoction you have to order a certain way and well, we’ll see what happens. Drinks were flowing and spirits were very high all around after an awesome night – one of the best Mondays ever. We said goodbye to everyone and it’s always a little tough after a couple fun nights, but we’ll see the Bottlecaps out there again some day for sure. Great bond with that crue and grateful to call them friends. Back at the AirBB Jacob made us each a bowl of ramen noodles to sop up the libations and we crashed out around 3am.
Today we’ve got an unusually short drive up to Dallas where we’ll play the Armoury, D.E. in Deep Ellum tonight with The Mullens and Long Black Car. Looking forward to rocking out with those dudes and wrapping up the Texas leg of the tour in style, and seeing some close friends. I’ve got nasty, crusty guitar strings to change and might try to do it before we leave, time permitting. If you’re following along and wondering where we stand with the missing tooth and medication issues, I finished the antibiotics yesterday and hope the stomach issues will start to settle down. Signs are pointing in the right direction there.
THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of last night. So much fun, best night of the run so far, and we love and appreciate each of you! Xx