In all the times coming over to Austin Texas they’ve never had a football team. Or come to think of it, a decent monorail system. So biting the bullet, I used the slick new rail track up to Kramer & then walked over to the Q2 stadium for a Major League football match – Austin Fc v Seattle Sounders. In there first season ever, Austin finished second bottom of the league but still the new 21k capacity ground sells out. This was their 4th match in the second season. The Verde (their nickname) are sponsored by Yeti & you saw their logo almost everywhere. Austin has a big football appetite. I got a ticket in the standing end. They gave you a song sheet as you entered the section (Mexican) & they all sang through the whole match. It was mental. Every 20 minutes or so they pass a big green/black flag to wave & they also gave you a light spay of beer to round off proceedings. However when Austin scored I got absolutely soaked in the stuff. I didn’t really care as I was having such a great time. It finished 1-1 btw
Also new to me at the wrong end of South Congress is The Sagebrush. We adventured over there for three local acts. It was $5 cover & at one stage there were as many people in Stetson’s as not here. The venue had a small & large stage & a grand dance floor, good beer & the barman had a Buffalo Gals tee shirt on. A better Honky Tonk I couldn’t wish for. Doug Strahan & The Good Neighbours were playing at the small stage. I spotted the great guitarist Dave Biller in this local 5 piece band, so thought these must be good, & yes they were. I was getting Texas 70’s country vibes from Doug with a voice not unlike Jim Croce. I made my third & final album purchase off him & he said he’d been in Austin since 1999. Where the hell’s he been hiding???
Over on the big stage a band were set up in no time & off went The Mellows. The Beatles in Hamburg come to mind as they played mostly covers for the dancers & took you back in time to the late fifties & early 60’s. Excellent musician’s they were well named too & calmed me right down after my trip to the football match.
The final act of the evening was Theo Lawrence Band. This was straight ahead traditional country & we were all the better for it. The floor was packed and the band, having a great time. Keep it simple I say. The biggest surprise was that young Theo was Canadian.
It was a welcome weather today, light rain, so after Gureos & breakfast I tried to rent a bike for a ride along the river trail. On my third Cycle shop they rented me a simple hybrid for $29. So off I went on a three hour cruise past South Lakeshore & back over the other side to Deep Eddy’s pool en all. Out near the Mexican part there were tents on the banks of the river & luxury flats over the other side. What a sad sight and I know having played the Soup Kitchen, homelessness is a big problem here. I had extreme weather warnings on my phone so just got back to the Hotel before the thunderstorms. George my buddy told me they were the worst in many years & a car on I-35 got turned over by a direct hit.
Everything was cancelled for teatime events but not being very far from The Continental Club we called in between the showers. Dale Watson was holding court with a new band & one or two more bluesy tunes, as he now resides in Memphis. He had the lone star thing going all night, almost a parody & with his none vaccine higher superior human self, he probably knew I was there at the back!
I’ve always wanted to go see a film over here but just never have. So the local indie cinema Violet Crown” were showing a decent looking film early afternoon. As this was our last day, Harold & I took in “The Worst Person In The World”. We were two of only five people in the cinema. If ever I’m back in Austin, Id goes there in the evening. It’s a smashing place & the film was great too. After dinner with my buddy George & Amanda I met up with Harold & Richard & we caught our last show together.
James McMurtry Band @ Continental Club. I’m a fan of James story song’s, he’s a kind of Neil Young of Texas, & a fair size crowd turned out for this post SXSW show. However with a smallish cover charge there were loud frat boys & girls at the bar. To be fair McMurtry tried to compensate by going totally acoustic with a song but that didn’t really work. So onwards the band went & Richard said it was ok at the very front but Harold & me didn’t fancy being up there. We stood at the side & watched a few more songs & left. It wasn’t the worst night but it was our last night.