My Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards Showcase Recap

fort-worth-weekly-music-awards-2012I began my Sunday not believing I would make it to the showcases later that evening due to sickness. But I decided to forgo traditional medicine in favor of whiskey so I laced up my converse like the true Fort Worth patriot I am and braced myself for the INTENSE HEAT. I started out at Magnolia Motor Lounge, where I saw a few bands including parts of Foxtrot Uniform and The Will Callers. I think it was during one of those sets when I updated my Facebook status saying, “It’s my destiny to marry and support a musician. Sad truth.” Guys with guitars are hot, it cannot be denied. Those bands were fun but I was really just killing time (with whiskey) to go to Lola’s and see Pinkish Black and Burning Hotels.

Now, bear with me. For the past several years, I lived in Baltimore so I was new to the Pinkish Black phenomenon. First, I didn’t realize they were metal. Second, I didn’t realize there were only two of them. All I knew prior to last night that friends have said they were rad. So I went to check out the hype. I was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY. It amazed me that so much sound could come from two smallish looking dudes. I don’t know enough about metal to make a lot of those kinds of references, but their wall of sound reminded me a lot of former Fort Worth outfit, Valhalla who had a huge sound from only three smallish dudes. I thoroughly enjoyed the Pinkish Black set and complimented the singer profusely afterwards.

Next up were the Burning Hotels, whom I LOVE. The crowd was intense at that point and I was suitably tanked enough not to care. The Hotels played a great mix of old and new songs and I’m pretty sure everyone involved was having the best time ever. I’m sure I annoyed people around me by telling them that I was there, dancing on those Vivid nights! But regardless, THIS is the kind of shit I moved back to Fort Worth for. I always kind of joke around, calling the Weekly Awards the Fort Worth Grammys, but Fort Worth has a serious amount of talent that cannot be denied. Admittedly, I did not do as many of the venues and see as many of the bands as I would have liked. As I mentioned, I am sick so I was pretty laser focused on booze/self-medication but I had an awesome time. I hope to do more venue hopping next time around and catch more bands. But, can I just throw out the suggestion that we do this in the dead of winter next year? Can I get an amen?

SMF to DFW

Unofficial TSA Logo
Unofficial TSA Logo

Can you get in trouble for saying “I fucking hate the TSA?” I sure hope not, but just in case, all I’ll say about the blue-shirted boobs who hassle you between waiting at the check-in counter and squeezing into the flying mailer tube is that I’m glad they have jobs, because Lord knows people need jobs.

Actually, I’ll say more than that. At DFW, I got scanned (raise your arms above your head, sir) and swiped (hold your hands palms up, sir), and inspected (do you mind if we check your bag, sir), and all of that made me just a little bit indignant, because I was running late, and also because I’m not a fucking terrorist. I might be a pothead with a ridiculous beard and hourly employment who doesn’t like babies and doesn’t believe in Jesus, but I’m an American; I love my country, and I’d never try to harm its people, even when lots of those people are patently obnoxious all the fucking time. Of course, how could the Dan Castellanetta lookalike and the amorphous she-blob know that? I mean, obviously they didn’t know what the shoe-bomber guy had in his shoes, and they didn’t know what the underpants bomber had in his underpants, so I guess arbitrarily selecting some dude who looks about as threatening as everyone else at the airport to step through the scanner and check his hands for traces of nitrates is one way they can possibly be a hero, by virtue of being lucky from drawing a random sample. In that regard, I guess being a TSA employee at an airport security checkpoint is like being a professional lotto player, except that nobody who plays the lotto has ever made a scratchoff late for something. At least they didn’t make me take my pants off.

I guess it’s their professional mindset that bothers me, that you, as a passenger, are a suspect simply because you’re boarding an airplane. I’m sure there’s an argument against my idea that it’s like being searched without a warrant, but there are already a billion other things that can make flying an unpleasant hassle, and waiting for a judge to sign off on something just makes you even later. So you just have to do what they say, and the only recourse you have against getting scanned, swiped for chemicals and felt up by an overweight, royal blue sort-of cop is a scowl and a icy tone. Because in the end, you pretty much have to do whatever they want you to do, because this is America, and safety is job one.

I flew back on Wednesday, June 14th. Needless to say, when I got through the queue to the fat, officious, middle-aged shithead who checks your ID and boarding pass, I had my scowl and icy tone all ready to go. And when he spent extra time scrutinizing my ID, I was ready to metaphorically burn him to the ground with telepathic contempt. He finally marked my boarding pass and handed my driver’s license back to me and looked at me with the raised brows and narrowed eyes your dad uses when he thinks you’re about to spend money on something he thinks is absolutely worthless.

“You can board,” he said, “But your driver’s license is expired.”

“No it isn’t; It expires on my birthday, like everyone’s driver’s license does,” I said, snapping it out of his hands.

He turned away from me. “Next,” he said.

I renewed my license the very next day.

I Get By With A Little Help From…

For my first “wizard-post” I wanted to write about something very specific. I imagine as the weeks and months brush by I will write often about local music, records I think you should hear, funny things people said, etc. etc. But in writing, as in most things in life, no matter what purpose or brilliant idea you intend on making the focus of your piece, the events that you have experienced more recently tend to force their way onto the page. So in thinking about my inaugural wizard-post I kept coming back to the thing that has probably impacted me the most in my twelve years of Fort Worth residency: people.

I moved to Fort Worth in the fall of 2000 for University, which I withdrew from after only one year. What kept me here in Fort Worth was a community of musicians whose friendships have not only grown over the years, but have made this place home. I have come close to moving out of DFW twice since I have been here: once after a tough breakup when California sounded and looked like heaven (at least in the sense of escapism) and then once after marrying my wife who has never lived outside of the Fort. But each time the people are the thing that kept me from viewing this town as the past rather than the present and future.

Without turning this into a peek into my closet of skeletons, I, like all of you, have seen my share of pain, problems, and even some real suffering. But it seems my friends, both close and casual, have always been the ones to pull me out of the deep end. It so happens that most of those friends are either musicians or in some way connected to the music community of Fort West, it’s not weird really, that’s just my peer group. But the thing is that whether it was through specific acts of kindness, or just pleasant conversation and libation, these merry men (and women) have always been the cure to what ails me, it seems.

The Apache 5
The Apache 5

Of late, the band that I choose to give my free time to whole-heartedly has gone from a hobby to a beacon and a real joy for me. The three friends I chose to play with me in The Apache 5 have gone from talented friends who I get along with, to one large family made up of four smaller ones. Recently one of our family members, bass player and vocalist Kyle Barnhill, suffered an unfortunate accident which rendered him incapable of playing with the band for a few months. Not wishing to hinder the band’s momentum or summer plans, Kyle insisted we find a temporary replacement and keep working until his hand could completely heal. In stepped Chuck Brown, the bassist from Telegraph Canyon and longtime Chat Room barman. Chuck not only brought his awesome talent, but his absolute best effort and real friendship to the band and our music. Our first show with Chuck was one of real rock and roll frivolity at Lola’s for the Good Show Live Concert Series and as I write this we prepare for the biggest show of the band’s short career, Friday On the Green in the Magnolia district. If Chuck hadn’t arrived when he did we would’ve missed out on some great shows and experiences.

So as we await Kyle’s return once again it’s the amazing people of Fort Worth that continue to amaze and inspire me, people like Chuck Brown. So whatever great new places, food, drinks, and bands you read about and decide to try here on Fort Wizard, remember it’s the people who are making them exceptional, and more importantly, making them home.

The Apache 5 with Kevin Aldridge & the Appraisers

The Good Show's Tony Diaz
The Good Show’s Tony Diaz

I went to see The Apache 5 at Lola’s last night. It was pretty damn awesome. And to make it even awesomer, Kevin Aldridge & the Appraisers were also playing the show. Now that I’m a dad, I don’t make it out to shows as often as I used to. So when I had the chance to see two of my favorite bands in one night, I had to find a way to get out of the house and stay up past midnight.

I’m really glad I went. It turns out that the show was part of the The Good Show‘s Live Music Series, so I got to see Tony Diaz. I love that dude. He’s just super stoked about local music and live music and music in general. And he loves Fort Worth. I remember playing a couple of the FWAC events that he put on several years ago. Those events were awesome. Tony is a really positive guy. Just so upbeat. I dig that about him. But enough of my Tony Diaz lovefest…

I also ran into Kenny Wayne, and we got to talk about amps for a while. Which was super awesome. We got to chat about vintage amps, too! Two dudes talking amps…does it get any better than that? I don’t think so.

And if you didn’t know, Kenny has started his own amplifier company called Mockingbird Amps. The dude knows his stuff. Kenny masterminds the electronic guts of the amp, and then he’s got Greg Pate doing all the cosmetic work, building some of the most beautiful custom cabs I’ve ever seen. To date, I have only seen a handful of designs, and they all look amazing! #want

One of Kenny Wayne's Mockingbird Amps made for Jordan Richardson
One of Kenny Wayne’s Mockingbird Amps made for Jordan Richardson

I don’t know how you feel about your friends doing something awesome, but it makes me super happy to see my friends creating music. In the grand scheme of things, we are not here for a very long time. There’s lots of stuff we could be doing. In my opinion, making music is one of the greatest things we could ever do. In conclusion, it was an amazing show, and I’m really glad I got to be there to experience it.

At the show, I was able to grab a couple of videos on my iPhone, and I wanted to share them here. So here you go:

Kevin Aldridge & the Appraisers – Please Let Me Down

Kevin Aldridge & the Appraisers – Layin Around

The Apache 5 – Song Medley [Flash Powder (The Apache 5), Intro / The Contenders (Kinks)]

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Empty Tecate & Pizza Boxes

Stardate: Last Thursday in May. Location: The Smoke Tardis, Haltom City, Texas. The members of Stoogeaphila gather as the sun sets over Haltom City. We gather to practice a pretty cool set (if I do say so myself) we are getting ready for our show at the Sunshine Bar (902 W Division St.) this Saturday night. It’s a benefit for a 5 year old little girl who is bravely fighting brain cancer. This band is perfect for benefits since all of us have other bands and jobs to make money. So making money in Stoogeaphilia isn’t really a priority but occasionally we do make a few bucks.

But there is only one Big Joe's Pizza & Pasta.
But there is only one Big Joe's Pizza & Pasta.

Since our inception just shy of 6 years ago, we have taken the money we make playing shows and have used it to fuel our practices with beer and pizza. It’s usually Tecate in the can and always, always, Big Joe’s Pizza (2733 Denton Hwy). Now there are plenty of “Joe’s Pizza & Pasta” restaurants all over DFW…all over the world for all I know. It’s almost like the Ray’s Pizza restaurants in NYC where you have “Ray’s Original Pizza”, “Famous Ray’s Pizza” and “World-Famous Original Ray’s Pizza”. No one really knows which one is the real Ray’s (27 Prince Street, NYC…. RIP). But there is only one Big Joe’s Pizza & Pasta (actually two…2733 Denton Hwy and 5111 N Beach St). There is something about Joe’s pies that just stand out above the pack. We always opt for the Extra Large Cheese and we are never disappointed. So if you’re ever passing through Haltom City with a hankerin’ for classic New York style pizza, do yourself a favor and pick a pie from Big Joe’s Pizza & Pasta. We recommend putting the Stooge’s Funhouse on your turntable, cracking the easy drinking lager of your choice for maximum enjoyment Stoogeaphilia style.

SNUG FIT: Do These Observations Make Me Look Fat?

The local thrift store is a strange animal. In it exists such an all encompassing cross-section of life. At any given moment and in any part of the city you can find pretty much every class of society all slidin’ hangers in the same slashed price marts. This level of interaction, albeit brief, rarely exists anywhere else in our daily lives. Over the years of scouring the likes of McCart Thrift, River Oaks Salvation Army, and Thrifttown on Henderson, I’ve compiled quite a bit of anthropologic data. Allow me to provide you a small digest of the three main genres of thrift store patron.

McCart Thrift recently sold me this piece of truth.
McCart Thrift recently sold me this piece of truth.

The Practical Patron is usually a mother of two or more whose kids are anywhere from pre-school to middle school age. You know this because she is there during the day while her kids are in school or, in many cases, toting a toddler along. She usually stops by once every month or so for your basics (i.e., school clothes, socks, streak-less bvds for her working man, etc.). She rarely makes personal purchases. These shoppers will usually be pushing a cart when available. They have kind eyes and speak softly.

Next we have The Theme Party Scavengers. They are there solely for ‘hilarious’ finds to satisfy the 70s or ‘hippy’ motif of an upcoming shin dig. They are usually college kids. This particular shopper can get real offensive real quick. It all depends on his or her level of sensitivity to their surroundings. Maybe holding up a pair of sansabelt slacks (similar to the ones our Practical Patron has just carted for her husband) and shouting to your partner-in-finds “These are hysterical!” isn’t such a good idea. They are loud and move whole sections of shirts while people are still looking through them.

Finally we have our third party: The True Fan. These are generally guys and gals in their late twenty’s and on up who are genuinely fans of the clothes one would find at these bargain barns. They tend bar, serve food, go see live music, and like old t-shirts and Wrangler rancher pants. They remove the hangers from their selections before they check out. They shudder when they see Scavengers parade their affluence in front of the Practical Patron who’s at the counter deciding which items she needs to put back. They bring cash and say thank you.

Now before we tar and feather The Scavenger, let’s all remember how well-behaved we all were at that age. Youth has never been synonymous with tact. Please don’t pity The Practical Patron either. She doesn’t need it. She’s got three kids to care for and she can do it just fine without you feeling sorry for her. And The True Fan is by no means a gallant knight riding to the rescue of the socially trod upon. He just doesn’t want to spend forty bucks on a v-neck from American Apparel. No, like any good study of human beings this data proves absolutely nothing. Nothing except that it takes all kinds, Sam. Takes all kinds.

Ye Olde Bull & Bush Defines Neighborhood Pub

Since this is my first blog, I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself. Hi! I’m Lauren. I moved to Fort Worth the fall of 2000 to attend TCU and have been smitten with the city ever since. While I did move to Baltimore for a few years for my career, I’m happy to be back living in what I consider to be the best city in America. I’m looking forward to writing about some of the new things Fort Worth is bringing us food/bar/music-wise. But I also look forward to writing about things that might appeal to my fellow wizard-ettes. Dirty dive bars are great and all, but sometimes a girl just needs a good pedicure, you know? But before I explore all the new, I’m going to begin with one of my favorite older haunts in Fort Worth. So without further ado, here is my first FortWizard.com blog!

Ye Olde Bull And Bush Pub (Fort Worth, TX)
Ye Olde Bull And Bush Pub (Fort Worth, TX)

Ye Olde Bull and Bush has been a favorite meeting spot for my friends and I for the better part of the last decade. At some point, we began affectionately calling it Ye Olde Twist and Shout for some reason, but like most ideas that occur while drinking good beer and whiskey, I cannot remember why.

The Bull and Bush pretty much defines the idea of a neighborhood pub, with a lot of the patrons having little in common except their favorite watering hole. Everyone is friendly, from the patrons to the staff and the ambience is one where no one is trying too hard to out-cool or out fashion anyone else, which is pretty refreshing. Additionally, the staff is completely knowledgeable about their wide beer selection and they are willing to share the wealth with samples of beer until you find one that suits your fancy.

If I had a complaint, it would be the same one I have about most FW bars- I wish they would ban indoor smoking! I’ll save my rant/thoughts about that particular topic for another time but as someone who spent the past four years in a city with an indoor smoking ban, I can tell you it’s pretty great.

We all know the brutal summer is coming soon but it’s not here yet so I hope you will take advantage of this decent spring weather and join me on the patio with some cold beers. Feel free to bring the dog!

Ye Old Bull and Bush is located at 2300 Montgomery St. Fort Worth, TX 76107.

Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington Tested Positive for Cocaine

Texas Rangers Manager: Ron Washington
Texas Rangers Manager: Ron Washington

Wow. This story is too incredible to believe, but it’s entirely true. Sports Illustrated is reporting that Ron Washington, the manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team, tested positive for cocaine in July 2009 after the All-Star game). I know. It’s almost too inconceivable to believe. But it’s true. Even Ron Washington confirmed it:

“I did make a mistake and I regret that I did it,” Washington told SI.com by phone from Surprise, Ariz., on Tuesday night. “I am really embarrassed and I am really sorry.”

It turns out that he even went as far as to notify MLB of a possible positive test before the test came back. I think that was a great PR move. Stay ahead of the story. This type of story will turn into a media frenzy if the media is the first to discover the story. While the move to use cocaine was not smart, we can admit that it was respectable of him to own up to it before he got caught. Maybe this will be the new way athletes address such issues. But that’s a whole other story.

On a side note: The Rangers had extended his contract just a month earlier in June 2009. I’m not sure what is the bigger story: Ron Washington testing positive for cocaine or the Texas Rangers keeping him on as manager.

Well, if one thing is for sure, the Old School Brother may be a little more old school than we ever knew.

Signs from ESPN GameDay at TCU

If you live in the DFW area, you have probably heard of the sports radio station 1310 The Ticket. They have a ton of “bits” on that station, and apparently their listeners (aka P1s) love to take those bits to the ends of the Earth for everyone to experience. In this case, ESPN GameDay came to TCU on Saturday, and the P1s showed up for fun. While there were many signs at the event, here are some Ticket-related signs (Thanks to Maunder for posting these):

George 'Cannonball' Dunham - 1310 The Ticket Signs at ESPN GameDay TCU
George ‘Cannonball’ Dunham – 1310 The Ticket Signs at ESPN GameDay TCU
Corby 'The Snake' Davidson - 1310 The Ticket Signs ESPN GameDay TCU
Corby ‘The Snake’ Davidson – 1310 The Ticket Signs ESPN GameDay TCU
TCU Footballball - 1310 The Ticket Signs at ESPN GameDay TCU
TCU Footballball – 1310 The Ticket Signs at ESPN GameDay TCU

Funny? I think so. Other Ticket bits and drops that would have made good signs:

  • Pow!Pow!
  • Um Paul in…
  • Meh…
  • It’s fun to do bad things.
  • Oh! A phong is ringin’!
  • Put your butt in me.
  • Do you like this gig?
  • That wasn’t the question!
  • Wouldja?
  • I like steak.
  • Exactly…I mean…
  • Please kids, don’t jar.
  • Ever seen a guy with a fake head?
  • Great story. Tell it again!
  • Throw it in my butt.
  • Smoke wif cigurrettes.
  • Get your ass hung up on now, you idiot!
  • Never never no never no never no no never!
  • Is that blood?
  • Hot dog with doodoo as the weiner.
  • Hamburger with doodoo as the meat.
  • When you skart skalling bazzzzz….
  • What’s this guy’s deal?
  • Breaking News: We have just learned that Michael Jackson is dead at 50.
  • 8$D$ at Blockbuster 8$ Dar
  • Michael Trabtree?
  • It’s a fartform.
  • Thanks a lot, Bin Laden.
  • I think everything is going on a lot more than we think it is out there.
  • I’m sure everyone knows Im still hangin around Dallas.
  • Nip nip weiner.
  • Vaginal Slice Born Born.
  • We’re having fun here, no?
  • I’ve got a flask in my car if anyone wants to join me for an after hours drink.
  • Do you like websites?
  • I don’t want audio!
  • Baby arm to you, sir.
  • The anus is on them.
  • Did you hear? Fat Joe left Atlantic.
  • Why are you yelling? You’re a foot from me.
  • Are you gay? ARE YOU GAY?!
  • Where’s Grubes at?
  • Eeni-meeni-noy

I hope to see all of those at the next ESPN GameDay event!

George Strait Concert Opens New Dallas Cowboys Stadium

George Strait Concert at Dallas Cowboy Stadium - June 2009
George Strait Concert at Dallas Cowboy Stadium – June 2009

George Strait showed up and in typical fashion just killed it last night at the venue opener for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, TX. Joined by country music stars Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and Lee Ann Womack, King George took the stage around 9:30pm and delivered a fantastic 105-minute performance to a sold-out stadium. I have seen estimates on the number of tickets sold, and it is somewhere in the vicinity of 60,000.

Until George Strait took the stage, the roof of the stadium remained closed. From early reports, the acoustics in the stadium started off echoey but got extremely clean and sharp by the end of the show (yeah, they are fine tuning that place, but it’s definitely awesome). And with the roof closed, the stadium retains pretty much every last drop of sound. When Mr. Strait took the stage, he got the crowd to chant, “Jerry, open that roof!” And as any good story ends, the crowd won. Jerry Jones probably loved seeing a crowd in such good spirit, and with the flick of a switch on a $1.15B stadium, the roof opened up.

George Strait on the World's Biggest HDTV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX
George Strait on the World’s Biggest HDTV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX

As reported a couple of weeks ago, one of the coolest things at this stadium is the $40 million Mitsubishi HDTV. Everyone was wondering if this HDTV would be used at the concert. The answer was a resounding YES!. This massive HDTV provided a crystal-clear image of George Strait and all the other performers to everyone in the stadium, even the fans in the nosebleed section. I’m not sure if there is a bad seat in that new Cowboys stadium.

Despite reports of the possibility of massive traffic congestion and other problems that go along with a brand new 3 million square foot venue, the show went off with relatively few problems. I have seen reports of parking being in the range of $30-$60, and there was even reports of an eBay scam for fake parking tickets. Also, t-shirts were on sale for $30. And you had better hit up the ATM machine if you wanted to stay hydrated – bottled water was going for $5.

Jerry Jones Dancing with former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson
Jerry Jones Dancing with former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson

Probably the one of the biggest surprises was the appearace of Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones in a suite. Together. Getting along. When the crowd saw them on the big screen, it took a second to figure out who it was. But then a loud cheer rang out. Cowboys fans love themselves some Jimmy Johnson. And from my perspective, it’s good to see these two guys making friends. It’s been long enough. Glad to see it.

Well, I’ll leave you with some more pictures from the George Strait concert at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium (source):

New Dallas Cowboys Stadium - Arlington, TX
New Dallas Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, TX
A View from inside Dallas Cowboys Stadium at George Strait Concert
A View from inside Dallas Cowboys Stadium at George Strait Concert
George Strait performs at Dallas Cowboys Stadium (June 2009)
George Strait performs at Dallas Cowboys Stadium (June 2009)
George Strait with his signature Taylor Acoustic Guitar
George Strait with his signature Taylor Acoustic Guitar

Enjoy!