Pixie Dust

Grupo Groupie
July 27, 2008, 3:14 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , , , , , ,

I love Grupo Fantasma. I loved them in the Brian Ramos days when their first few albums came out…I loved them when Prince discovered and adopted them as his favorite house band…and I love them now as they seem to be stepping out into the big-time.

Pancho and I caught them last night at Antone’s for one of their two hometown shows before they head out to Europe again, and left with the same mixed feelings that we have about our beloved city of Austin. We miss the way things felt in the early days, when both our city and the band were being discovered and there was a passionate camaraderie among people who knew about something new and exciting that we wanted to share with anyone who would listen. And at the same time, we love that we were right; that people listened to what we had to say and agreed with us…even though it means that the growing popularity of the things we love means that they’ll never be what they were when we first fell in love with them.

For a long time, I missed Brian Ramos. His distinctive voice was so much of what I loved about the band in the early days and after he left I worried about how long my love for Grupo could last. But listening to Grupo last night helped me recognized that I love Grupo today even more than I did back then…they’ve become so much more than the ensemble of incredibly talented individuals they were in those days–they’re a single organism of incredible energy and precision delivering a cohesive flow of entertainment from the moment they step onto the stage until well after they have left. It’s an amazing and powerful experience to see eleven musicians live on stage performing with the same perfection and unity that so many others can achieve only through a carefully produced recorded album.

If you’ve never heard them, check them out: http://www.grupofantasma.com/.  And while last night they were the ones with the feeling of homecoming, I look forward to a show 20 years from now where we all feel like we’re returning home in some way–to a time when our city and our band were on the verge of discovery and our souls were moved to dance.


Bus Date
May 4, 2008, 9:41 pm
Filed under: life, music | Tags: , , , , , , ,

We’ve been talking about taking the bus downtown since we moved into this house…and this weekend, we finally did it.

It’s not that I’m averse to public transportation; in fact, I really like taking public transit when I’m traveling in other cities. I just don’t at home. Until now.

Bus people are an interesting crowd, especially on a Saturday when your regular work-week commuters are absent. We encountered the Trippy Angster, who flailed his arms about and talked a LOT to invisible friends. He looked about twenty and wreaked of angst…hence the name.

Then there was the Rebel Trio…two got on at one stop, including a girl with a tiny little puppy…and one got on at the next stop. They talked about the wild party from the previous night where one of the guys hooked up with a girl whose name he couldn’t remember, and then they left…leaving behind a red Sharpie marker. What do you do on a bus with a red Sharpie marker, I wonder?

Once at our destination, we made a bee-line for the Mrs. Baird’s Bread Stage where our favorite Latin band was playing–Grupo Fantasma. We caught the end of The Lemurs as Pancho hit up the taco stand for carne guisada tacos and I cleaned out Kebabalicious and boy, it was.

Pancho and I got our groove on and swayed the night away…and then we joined the night bus people on the adventure home.

The Magic of the Scabs
January 31, 2008, 12:55 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , , , ,

It’s a bizarre magic that takes over an evening with The Scabs. For most of my fellow Scabs Survivors it’s an out of body experience of sorts, where you commit acts that are completely out of character and have no certainty of where you will sleep until you wake up the next morning.

And then phase two of your Scabs adventure begins as you piece the night together over the days that follow and examine yourself with a blend of shock and disbelief with a dash of shame and a touch of pride. Of course, you keep that pride hidden because you know that no one will understand why you admire this reckless, trashy, vulgar side of yourself.

Talk to others who’ve been to a Scabs show. They’ll understand.

So this year’s Eve of New Year’s Eve worked out perfectly for a night with The Scabs. It’s been several years now since my last Scabs adventure, in fact the only one I can even remember was six years ago when I first moved to Austin. (You’ll have to ask me about that one in person over drinks.)

Originally, I had a date with a guy to see the Austin Pops…should have been a very elegant evening with a nice dinner and nice music. But the universe had other plans and sent my best friend from college whirling into town at the last minute and The Scabs were exactly what we needed.

We arrived at Antone’s and sauntered up to the bar for Tito’s & Tonics…a delicious treat as I programmed my address into Sharona’s phone just in case she needed to find her way home without me at some point. We were excited and anxious to see what the night would hold for us as the crowd closed in and the Scabs took the stage.

There was dancing…singing…flirting…Tito’s & Tonics…and then the lights came up and we found ourselves wondering what had happened to our night that promised ridiculous shenanigans and secrets we would take to our graves.

We pondered where we went wrong as we feasted on pizza from Roppolo’s around the corner. We lamented the run-of-the-mill concert experience as we rode in the cab back to my place. And then halfway home, I realized I did not have my keys. Here it was.

The cabbie turned back to downtown and dumped us out at Antone’s door; the bouncer reluctantly let us in and we searched every inch of the club as the staff hosed off the floor. No keys. We traced our steps back to Roppolo’s to find where we might have dropped them. I couldn’t remember taking them out of my purse, much less leaving them somewhere. Still no keys.

It was well past 3am at this point and we were back at the house assessing our chances of getting a locksmith out to let us in. We spoke with someone on the phone who said he’d be there shortly, and in our post-Scabs haze this made perfect sense to us. We waited…and waited…and then called another cab and found a hotel.

The desk clerk at the Holiday Inn Express grinned as we walked in, checked us in, and said, “Must be a love triangle gone bad.” We took our keys and walked up to the room with no comment and no idea what he was talking about. We smelled like booze and smoke and had no way to brush teeth or wash our faces or take out contacts…not the best conditions for a rest.

In the morning, we called my pet sitter and begged her to let us into the house…called our fourth cab and headed home.

I never did find my keys. But I’ll never forget how I lost them!