This is my first full day in the ATX. I spent the day with my hosts, Michael and Carissa. Michael and I took their dogs to the park, and then went across town for some delicious tacos from the original Tacodeli – a little taco shop located in the midst of a sea of apartment complexes. What a weird place for a taco place! But then as Michael pointed out, really, cities should do more of this type of zoning. Why couldn’t each neighborhood have its own taco place, or little grocery store or – gasp – coffee shop? That everyone could walk to? The Burbs just don’t work that way, and it’s too bad. But I think that’s the topic for another post, another time.
After tacos, I wanted coffee. And the closest place was Jo’s, on South Congress. We headed over that way and I ordered a latte (surprise!). There was a blues band playing on the patio, so we hung out for a while and listened to the music. I didn’t get any photos of this coffee – only their machine, a good ol’ La Marzocco.
Jo’s serves Stumptown coffee, out of Portland Oregon. So of course it must be good.
And I believe that it was. However, unfortunately the taco I’d just eaten had raw onions on it, as I’d forgotten to ask them to be left off. And as you may suspect, eating something with raw onions on it before consuming a coffee drink can sort of mess up your palate. But it tasted smooth and mild and was easy to drink. We proceeded to walk up SoCo a ways and people-watch. I stopped at Tesoro’s Trading Company and bought some postcards and then we headed back towards home.
In the evening I picked up take-out from 888 Pan Asian restaurant for dinner (it was so much food that I’ll have leftovers till I leave, it seems) and then headed to the Saxon Pub for Sunday Night Services with The Resentments.
No one else wanted to go with me to the Saxon – you know, those people that have Monday – Friday, 8-5 jobs aren’t much fun on Sunday nights, apparently. So I went on my own. When I got there, Jeff Plankenhorn, a super great guitarist, waved hi to me as I walked in. (How he recognized me is also another story, about his ill-fated stop in Tulsa on a recent tour when he was sick and sounded like crap). Then I walked in and realized I had walked through the wrong door – and had gotten in without paying. Well, that’s not good karma! So I went to the door guy and gave him my money and he thanked me for being honest. Then a quick hello to my friend Bruce, the bass player for The Resentments, and then a seat at the bar. This show is, if I’m honest, one of the reasons I came all the way to Austin.
I came to Austin for several reasons – to try to make some writing connections, to meet the people I’ve been writing for the last 2 months, to get out of Tulsa for a while – and to see some music. Specifically, to see The Resentments. It’s the best live music I’ve ever seen.
I’ll spare you from the long version, but real quick-like: The Resentments are a group of musicians who have been playing together every Sunday night for a very very long time. The members have changed over the years, but Bruce has been playing with them for 10+ years, as, if I’m not mistaken, has the drummer John Chipman. The Resentments never rehearse – if someone has a new song, he might pass out a piece of paper with some notes, or they might all just wing it. They’re such great musicians that they can pick up on each other’s cues well enough to play songs they’ve never heard before. That, friends, is the sign of a good musician.
The music is positive, the vibe is positive, the crowd is mellow, the musicians are so, SO good, and they’re also pretty damn funny in between songs. This was only my third time seeing them live, but I have quite a few CDs, and there’s also lots of videos on the YouTubes (if you’re curious enough to check them out). One time I went to see them and it was just 2 guitar players – Jeff Plankenhorn and Miles Zuniga. It was still 100% awesome. If you ever get the chance, go see them. And take me with you.
I went home feeling like I’d had a very good day. Good food, good coffee, good people, good music. Yes. Good day.