Sunday, January 18, 2004 -
We had one of our best shows ever this weekend. The people of Lubbock really know how to treat you.

Friday morning at 6, after a late night at Cotton Exchange, we managed to drag our sorry funk jazz playing asses out of bed and hit the road (Mike took the "latest person" title away from Ian, the previous champion for 15 months running). After a bit of Whataburger love, we were off.

9 hours, 584 miles, 5 taquitos, 6 Dr. Peppers and 1 child doll in a skeleton costume holding a leash connected to a stuffed dog on a kitchen chair by the side of the road* later, we rolled into the booming metropolis that is Lubbock, TX. The tumbleweeds looked happy to see us. It was a rainy, gloomy day. We were wondering if anybody was going to brave the elements to see our set.

Upon hitting town, we made straight for the Texas Tech campus and found our way to the radio station, KTXT. Our host, DJ Pan, led us into the waiting room - which was full of vintage video games (aw yeah). It took some effort on her part to drag us away from that. She did a really nice interview with us, with lots of people calling in saying "What is this? It's great!"

After our interview, we felt like rock stars. Yeah. There's nothing that kills that feeling faster than having to move several hundred pounds of gear by yourself in the rain. Stupid not being rock stars!

The gear load-in was made infinitely more pleasant by the fact that as we were setting up, a traditional Irish session (or seisiún, if you prefer) was getting underway at the pub, with a band called "Last Night's Fun". Chris Smith, the band leader, invited Ian to sit in on piano, and they played a few reels before Mike and Nino managed to drag Ian away to a nearby brewery. (Hmm, playing and drinking or eating and drinking? Choices, choices.)

After dinner we caught up with Jay Reichard, the editor of Lubbock's HubStuff magazine, and his awesome wife Shirley, at La Diosa, a nearby wine bar that they had just done a cover story on. We chatted over some Texas-made wine (very good) and got the scoop on what's been up in Lubbock lately.

When we returned to Klusoz, we saw the set by openers One Big Groove, our new-found favorite band from Lubbock. They rocked out - definitely a band to catch if you're in town (and hopefully they'll start to travel before long). And contrary to our last experience at Klusoz, the sound was awesome.

By the time our set started, the bar was already starting to get crowded, and we talked to bunches of people who'd come quite a ways to see us (even as far as Midland, a 3 hour drive!). Our fears were alleviated by this point - we knew that there was some really special energy going on at Klusoz.

But we had no idea.

You people in lubbock are monsters. Seriously. We started playing after 11 and didn't stop until after 2 - people were up dancing the whole damn time. We couldn't get off the stage without playing 2 encores. People were really freaking out, and that's awesome. It's nice to just catch the groove in the right way, at the right time, and open yourself up for something like that to happen.

Needless to say, a completely miserable load-out (hundreds of pounds of gear, this time in the *pouring* rain) and a fitful sleep in a level 2 motel, did nothing to dampen our spirits. We rode home feeling psyched to have connected with the good people of Lubbock again.

Our 9 hours of driving home included lots of music, a Subway stop (where they hadn't even heard of the veggie patty sub, let alone served it), and lots of trains. I'm told we just missed a rare north texas snow storm on the way out. That's too bad, it's been a while since we've seen some good snow (though our wives would've killed us if we'd been snowed in!)

We did get to groove out to the new record by the Buddhacrush, and we have decided that ... they rule. It was recorded by Mark at Bungalow Studio in the heights, and sounds awesome. Some of the other random stuff we listened to on the trip, in case you care: a Magnatune electronic music collection, Corey Stoot, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, the Les Claypool Frog Brigade (Skerik rules!), Close To The Edge by Yes, 10 speed, the Vines, Indigo Girls, a completely burnin' tune by the Michel Camilo trio called "On Fire" (El Negro is clearly from another planet), Niacin, Pink Floyd's "Meddle" (any votes for a Drop Trio version of Echoes?), and plenty more that I can't recall right now.

Phew, OK, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more trials and tribulations from the road.

* - Would I make something like that up? Seriously, right there on the side of I-20.

Spaceship jazz from Texas.

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