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On the Street

On the Road Again



Down a dark alley behind Hogwild Records is the unlikely opening (in many ways) to the new club that hosted San Antonio's own Girl in a Coma.  

Cops circled around on Dewey looking for...something.  I can't imagine anyone calling in any complaints. They were probably just looking to commandeer some six packs from underage drinkers for themselves. Joking?  

I tried to get a steady shot of the alley but was trying not to laugh at the two people loudly arguing a mere few feet to my right off camera.  

This has to be one of the best entrances to any club in San Antonio.  Dismal, dank, like an art directed favela.  Perfect.



Manager Faith Radle got me backstage but I wasn't sure what success my sub-compact camera would have in photographing the band. Low light moments beguile.  This guy was in the doorway for most of the show.  To his right...




...a (cedar) fever pitched crowd. The energy at the show was high, for both the crowd and the band.  In just a few days they would be playing in France, which is a surreal thought.  Faith told me they played almost 150 shows last year.  



The flash on my camera was so inconsequential I experimented with trying to catch moments when someone else was using theirs.  The blue and red lights were deep.  The flash would only betray that.



I suppose this is more factual but seems less interesting.   What happens next for the band will be interesting to observe.  Their song-writing is undeniably excellent.  The accented vocals bring distinction.  There have been other bands that develop unlikely singing styles (Green Day, Jawbreaker), but the more I thought about it, her accent is something else altogether.  At first I thought it was British. But then I thought it reminded me of this band from the Netherlands...





...which made no sense because Bettie Serveert's articulation is much more precise.  

Chameleons everywhere.



After about 30 minutes of trying to time my photos with the flash of the camera across from me I went back into the crowd and talked to Faith a bit before leaving.  Though almost all the merchandise had been sold people still kept forming lines.  

I imagine this will be a show fans talk about for a while.


Drowning in Their Own Sauce

While observing Ben Judson's show at Fl¡ght Gallery, several unlikely conversations emerged: the pros/cons of wet versus dry application of gunite, the whereabouts of Col. D. Williams (Ret.), as well as a peculiar observation on the success and failure of various local restaurants based on square footage.

Consider these establishments: Green, Cool Cafe (behind the Havana Hotel), Ruta Maya, Merchants Grand Cafe (in Alamo Heights).   Each have made a great effort in their debut.  However, I have to wonder if they've over-extended themselves from the beginning.  Rather than establish a small, busy environment, they have gone for as large a space as possible in the hopes to draw a large crowd.  To echo a previous article on the Current about the flow of human traffic, people tend to go where other people go. Creating a smaller, more intimate space suggests exclusivity and creates anticipation. Taco Taco on Hildebrand understands this idea, and their banner outside the restaurant with the quote 'best tacos in the country', or something to that extent, builds upon that, nevermind that they aren't even the best tacos in San Antonio.  


But on to the show.



Judson sold his work for a reasonable, Jeffersonian price of $150.  The show was a success.  Red stickers were everywhere.



Most of the pieces were dominated by a letter that initiated a phrase or a line of poetry. To counter cries that  I was photographing them in full so that I could sell them, I tried to focus on smaller aspects of the larger whole.



From what I remember, the pieces were not silk-screened.



If I wasn't immersed  in gunite talk I might have remembered the details.



However, I do remember hearing that the process lends itself to organic imprecision - in the best sense possible.

I had no idea what the show would be like.  There was restraint and reflection which fit with the happy/sad mood of the recent wave of cedar fever.

Back, Give Hercules Room!



The text on the kick drum looks as if it could have been printed by Ben Judson, but more likely has been handed down from drummer to drummer.  The Sons of Hercules must be well into legendary status at this point.  



Rock messianica. Singer Frank Pugliese was transported down from above on a mission from God.



I hadn't seen/heard them in at least ten years.  I want to believe I actually saw them perform in a garage once. Garage Rock isn't a term I hear much anymore.  I get the sense that Sons of Hercules are placed more in the Iggy Pop school now, which is interesting, because that's how Frank's band was described to me in regards to their opening for the Sex Pistols 30 years ago.  



The most interesting point of the show was when a fan/friend? of the band jumped on stage to sing-a-long and rock out.  In the 80s this would have been more of a fleeting race across the stage punctuated by a jump back into the crowd.  This moment lasted for the whole song.  Opinions varied as to how it was received. One person thought Frank waved him off from singing the verse but was cool with him joining in for the chorus.  And at one point it did seem as if Frank was "blocking him out" from taking the mic.





Despite this beer drenched moment, the show was less about antics and more about the music.  The set was loud, fast, and tight.  Musically, they don't seem to have lost a step.  

I wonder if Frank will ever end up in a Texas Music Hall of Fame.  I heard Tim Kerr made the list (thought that might have been something cooked up by the Austin Chronicle.)




The last moment to recall was this guy, doing his own homage to Bret Michaels.  The hat and hair might have been connected together.

A Discussion with Congressman Al

This is already outdated, but perhaps interesting to about 2-3 people at most.  Topics include: the Iowa Caucus fallout, predictions for the political season, and whether or not the Spurs will regret cutting Darius Washington.


Enjoy?




And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio.  As always, to be continued...

Posted by Mark Jones on 1/14/2008
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