Monday, April 22, 2013

Update; Bill Carter; Patricia Vonne with Infidels

So, pretty nice weekend.
My folks have jetted off to Kenya on a mission trip to work at a clinic where they test eyesight and fit people for eyeglasses.  Amy and I had pizza with them on Wednesday night at Homeslice, and they left on Thursday.  I hope they're doing okay.  I've been a little more concerned about them on this trip than usual because of some unrest in Kenya that has occurred in the run up to recent elections and in their wake.  At any rate, the mission trips are important to them, so I hope everything goes off without a hitch, and they come back safe and sound.
Thursday night I joined Amy and some of her friends form work at The Cloak Room for a happy hour after work.  I hadn't been to that place in like a decade.  It's still small, dark, cramped, and full of character, but it's a lot less smokey now than it was in days past.  Still chock full of politicos, though.  Funny place.  Definitely an Austin landmark.
Friday night Amy made a good chicken dish, and we watched Game of Thrones.
On Saturday we got up and Amy made some eggs for breakfast and we went to the store.  We came home, took the dog for a walk, and tried to go for a bike ride, but I figured out that I had popped a spoke on my back wheel when I had been out riding earlier in the week.  This discovery was a bummer because it sort of derailed our bike ride.  Amy went to the gym, and I took my wheel in to the shop s they could replace the spoke and true the wheel (which is where they balance the tension in all of the spokes to keep the wheel in balance).
I got home and pulled my old La Jolla Cruiser out of the garage.  I took it for a ride over to Strange Brew to see and afternoon show by Bill Carter.  I didn't know much about Carter before heading over there.   I just wanted to see some music and Strange Brew was in easy riding distance on my bike, so I Googled him for a quick minute.  He sounded good on the video, so I went to check him out.

Bill Carter was really good.  He's written songs that have been played by everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Waylon Jennings, and his usual backing band, The Blame, has had a rotating lineup that has, over time, included members ranging from Charlie Sexton to Billy Gibbons to Chris Layton to Brian Setzer to Johnny Depp.  So Bill Barter, while not really known to me, is sort of a big deal.  He has a really good voice, performs with the skill and confidence of a seasoned veteran, and his songs are really good.  His performance impressed me enough for me to start looking him up on my iPhone, and once I started figuring out more about his career, that same performance impressed me enough to make me put my phone away and pay more attention to what the man was doing.

Like I said, good songs, strong performance, and a cool voice.  All in a half empty listening room at Strange Brew on a Saturday afternoon.  But the crowd was enthusiastic, Carter played well,  and he told some good stories.  The show felt intimate and kind of special.  I thoroughly enjoyed it. Seemed like he enjoyed it, too.  Definitely want to see him again.

I rode my bike home and hung out with Amy for a while.  She made a Thai dish called larb for dinner.  I had never had it before.  It was tasty.  It had spicy ground chicken over lettuce in a sort of salad type deal.  It was good.  I think it involved fish sauce?
Saturday night I went back to Strange Brew with Amy.  We went to see Patricia Vonne with a band called Infidels.  Now back when I was in college, in the early through mid nineties, we used to go listen to a local balled that was also called Infidels.  They used to play at various bars on St. Mary's Street in San Antonio and at Tycoon Flats, the beer and burger joint that was just a few blocks from our house.  Hearing that Patricia band was playing with Infidels, I looked up the band online.  "What are the odds?", I thought.  It was almost 20 years later, and Infidels is a cool enough name that surely some other band has picked it up, especially if this older band is now defunct.
But on this amateur Youtube video that I found, it sorta looked like the same guys.  The sound isn't flawless, but here they are playing Bob Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee"....

Amy, bemused and bewildered, watched as I dug through my CD collection to find a copy of one of their albums that I had bought back in the college days.  I found the CD and tucked it into the pocket of my hoodie as we rolled out the door to go to the show.
(Patricia Vonne with Infidels)
And sure enough, it ended up being the same band!  Apparently Michael Martin, the lead singer of Infidels, had struck up some sort of friendship with Patricia Vonne after playing some shows in Austin a few years back.  Not only did it turn out to be the same band, but they actually played a number of songs off the CD (from 1994) that I had in my pocket (on the CD the band name is True Infidels because I guess they got into come sort of copyright/trademark dispute with another band that was trying to use the same name).  I got Michael Martin to sign a copy of my 19 year old True Infidels CD, and he seemed both amazed and bewildered that someone had held onto that album for that long.  I've actually listened to it quite a bit over the years, though, because I always thought that it had some really strong songs.
(Patricia Vonne's other band)
Anyway, it was a good show.  Infidels sounded good!  Patricia Vonne played a set with them, and then she played a set of her own material with a different guitarist/singer (who, according to the internets, is also apparently her husband- Robert LaRoche) and a violin player (who was also good- I didn't catch his name, but apparently he's getting ready to go on tour with the BoDeans).  Amy and I both really enjoyed both shows.
So that was Saturday.

On Sunday we got up and had breakfast at Central Market.  We ran a couple of errands, and then I worked out.  We walked Cassidy and then walked Mandy's dog, Darla (who is younger and a little better equipped for longer walks).  We went to Academy and bought a new umbrella for our porch.  We looked at hammocks.  We didn't find the perfect one.
In the afternoon Amy made some egg salad and I practiced my mandolin in the back yard.  Beautiful spring weather.  Everything is so green.
In the evening we had a Mono Ensemble practice in anticipation of our upcoming May 10th gig.  Hope some of y'all can make it out for that! 
Practice was good.  We've got a new song or two in the works for the next show.
In the evening we ate egg salad and leftover larb for dinner, and we did some reading.
That was about it!
It was a very nice weekend.  Went by too fast, as usual.

Have a good week!  Hope eveything is friendly and peaceful in Kenya!

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