...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Wilds of Texas

Being Chapter the 9th of The 2010 SxSW March into Spring Haiku & BBQ Tour--a novella


March 19th, 2010
After such an arduous day-unto-night, we can't help but arise this morning only partially refreshed. But we are nonetheless ready to conquer the wilds of Texas. Tonight we have an adventure in store--a trip to an appealingly artsy-sounding venue called Studio 216 in the town of Granbury, TX. We head out as early as possible--that is, around 2:00 pm.

Soon enough, we are lost. As Andrew & Gary negotiate the discrepancies between real life highways versus web-derived maps, I log on to the internet. To my delight I learn that a journalist for the Las Vegas Weekly--April Corbin--was at our show at Boomers the week before and has written a piece called: "Hey, there’s a band--and someone humping a piano". Hey, she really likes us! I read the article to the guys, and we are all cheered by this good press in Vegas. Lady Luck, indeed.

This encourages us to carry on with our expedition--we can do this! But all around us are only fields and picturesquely grazing cows...and no township of Granbury in sight. The sun is going down. The cattle grow strangely sinister. Are they carnivorous? What if this venue is fictitious? What if we can't find Granbury? What if we run out of gas? What if we have to find a ranch and barter for food and shelter? What if the only way to procure dinner and a place to sleep puts me at the tender mercies of a ranching family's grown-up daughter who is not interested in Andrew & Gary, but takes an uncommon shine to me.

The farmer's daughter
I had to take one for the team
Don't be mad baby

Luckily, we soon drive into Granbury's cute historic-looking town square. Phew-- well, that's a relief. Nearby is Studio 216 which is in a house converted into a recording studio/ performance space and the folks there are delighted to meet us, telling us they can't wait to hear True Margrit. Sweet! They send us down the street to the "other house"--apparently a husband and wife team run this whole deal, and they feed everyone at their home before the show. How totally groovy! We walk in the rambling old home and there are hugs all around as though we'd met many times before and we are guided to the kitchen to dish ourselves up servings of roast pork and taters. Then we are directed to a big table in a grand old dining room that feels homey or haunted or both. There is all manner of crackers & cheeses & cookies laid out for ready consumption. More snackings! Our hosts tell us to help ourselves and let us know we can crash here this evening if we need a place to stay. Then they wander off to settle back in on the long front porch in the Texas dusk, leaving us with two teenaged girls and a boy who smile at us companionably and return to their conversation.

Once we are filled with succulent pork and tasty tubers, we walk back to the venue. The show was ostensibly to start at 7:30 it's now 8:15, but nobody seems to mind--not the staff or the customers. Everyone is here to hang out shooting the proverbial breeze with friends, to enjoy music and have fun. No pressure.

The first act is about to go onstage and I wander outside for a peep at the stars. For no particular reason, I suddenly feel fragile, small, and far from home. I swear. Even the constellations are bigger in Texas. I make a few phone calls to various friends and siblings but nobody's home. Oh...yeah. It's two hours earlier on the west coast. Finally, I catch Heather on the phone. We chat and have a larf or two. Awwww. She always cheers me up.

After I'm done with this bolstering phone call, I go back inside and grab myself a beer. There now, that's better. The next band--Trouble in the Wind--are in mid-set. I check out their tunes with relish--they are original, catchy, and have very cool lyrics. Their terribly handsome mustachioed lead singer (Robby Gira) radiates the charisma of a tragic poet from a costume drama bio-pic about Rimbaud, Keats, or Baudelaire--but with rootsy rock. I'm captivated. Don't be mad, baby.

Their set ends and now we are on deck. We get our trusty instruments onstage. The backdrop is a large unframed canvas conveying a moody orange dusk populated by a migrating flock of blackbirds. With the fictional fires of this sunset influencing us, we burn through the songs like sparks among so much kindling. HELLS YEAH! The crowd makes us feel welcome and loved, and thus incited, we play the best that this moment allows. Time expands and contracts, the music thunders and pulses and presently our show is done. We start the packing of the truck.

While he tears down his drums in the parking lot, Andrew chats with his good friends Kurt and Michelle. These fine folks are planning on hosting us in their home tonight once we leave Granbury and head...north? East? Hmmm? I receive high fives and knuckle bumps from departing listeners. Gary organizes the merch-case and packs it away. We maintain an unhurried pace as we work-- we are conserving some vital juice. For tomorrow's itinerary promises another intricate Texas adventure map that may demand much of our will and yet reward us in soul-expanding ways we cannot possibly foresee.

But though it is now past 1:00 am, the night is not over yet. We are invited back to "the other house" for some post-gig snacking for which the members of True Margrit & Kurt & Michelle are all game. So, after the gear is stowed we convene at the homestead where we see many of the same folks who were at the show. They are mostly local youths helping themselves to a yam casserole from the oven or sampling more meat & taters & drinks & slices of cake. The homeowners occasionally appear and nod pleasantly at the gathering and pass through to another chamber. There is good-natured banter and a giddy late night buzz that comes from the shared experience of staying up late in the name of rock. We catch glimpses of members of the other bands as they whisk mysteriously around corners into various nooks, crannies & niches of this rambling dwelling. I guess they are all crashing here tonight...

However, we soon must depart, as we have miles to drive to get back to... where are we going? I'm not entirely sure where Kurt and Michelle live. I do know that it's closer to our next gig than Granbury is, and that's why we are heading there. And because we can catch up more with Kurt and Michelle. And because that is where we will soon rest our rock-weary heads.

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