I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more than a bit of a snob about music venues and their clientele. It boils down to a personal rule that if I can’t have the experience that I want at the show then I’m not going to go because I’ll only be disappointed. I generally don’t go to ampitheatre or arena shows unless it’s a free ticket, and there are even some smaller venues that I won’t visit unless it’s a performer that I really love. One such venue, is City Winery. I had never been there before yesterday but I knew enough about them from booking acts at the original New York location to know their shtick. I was pretty confident that they would be everything that I dislike about a certain eponymous venue in town but worse since it’s not just a winery but in the divisive Ponce City Market with a distinctly Buckhead-esque clientele.
Few things were get me to give in and go to CW.
It turns out by dad’s decision to venture into the big city to see Wanda Jackson, a bucket list show for him, was enough to get me to in the door.
Despite never seeing it performed, I have a love for Hamilton: An American Musical that can only be described as obsessive. Fanatical. Compulsive. Enthusiastic. Rabid. All-consuming.
Ok, there are more than a few words for it. There are jokes among friends and co-workers that it’s all I talk about and the three magic words in my world *might* be Lin-Manuel Miranda (Seriously, a co-worker said them yesterday to talk about Moana and my ears perked up.). This extends to the mix tape that just came out yesterday (I’m slightly obsessed with “An Open Letter,” “Congratulations,” “Wait for It,” and “Burn”. I was already in love with early releases “Satisfied” and “It’s Quiet Uptown.” )
I can’t explain any of it, either. I’m not really an American history buff and while I can obsessively research dozens of musical genres, I am woefully uninformed on hip-hip, beyond the standard surface history that I’ve picked up from a lifetime of rock docs. I liked In the Heights, but I didn’t LOVE it. But still, it makes my heart beat a little bit fuller.
So yes, I entered the lottery for all four performances while I was in New York. Each day the time leading up to the close of the lottery was nerve-wracking. “I know it won’t happen, but what if it does?” Sitting in a matinee of Waitress, which is brilliant, didn’t even calm my fears. As the close of the show and lottery approached the announcement that it was against New York state law to use cell phones during Broadway performances was echoing in my ears. “What if I won?! What if the show runs long and I miss the one hour window to buy $10 my ticket?!”
sntk: Ma Rainey, “Prove It On Me”
When I found out that I had a floating holiday that I hard to burn and my last opportunity to use it was Veteran’s Day I decided to use it for a little road trip, even if I did have a trip to New York and Boston on the books for a few days later. I’ve developed a fondness for driving around small southern towns with a good soundtrack and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity. I discovered the May Rainey house in Columbus after the Mississippi Blues trip this past spring and had big plans of getting there during the summer with the BFF and it never happened, even though Columbus is only about a couple hours away from Atlanta.
As far as I’m concerned if you don’t come home from vacation tired and sore you must be doing something wrong. If I don’t hobble off the plane and limp for a week then I have failed. The game is to get as much stuff crammed into those few days as possible, because it’s all one big scavenger hunt (like that time I spent 3 days driving all over the Mississippi Delta looking for blues landmarks.). I don’t go on vacation to relax and I’m more likely to spend half a day on the sidewalk in front of a music venue to ensure a good spot then I am to spend it sitting on a beach. It’s no surprise then that I have just as much fun compulsively researching a trip as I do actually taking it, because how else am I going to cram ALL THE THINGS into a few days without ALL THE RESEARCH?
I don’t normally go for the place that gets all of the attention from the food and travel shows, even as much as I love Anthony Bourdain and Adam Richman, because they rarely live up to the hype, but while I was in Charleston with a herd of fellow Butch Walker fans for his show at the Pour House we decided to visit the Hominy Grill for breakfast.
I met Kate after I worked their rainy show at the Botanical Garden (which is why I look like hell) and my amazing client took off his backstage pass and gave it to me so I could go to the after party. / Fred lent his name to a coffee line and did a signing at America’s Mart that a friend smuggled me into.
Athens, GA is a town that I’ve had conflicted feelings about for a long time. I’ve never spent too much time there but I do make the 90-ish minute drive over for shows for the right band, most recently to see Alabama Shakes at the Classic Center. I’ve been to shows at 40 Watts and record shopped at Wuxtry and had deep fried delicacies at Clocked, but I’ve not done or seen much more of the city. Given the musical history of Athens I set out on a musical road trip to key landmarks in town, specifically for the B-52s.
1154 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
N 33° 45′ 54.57” W 84° 20′ 59.189”
Sometimes I take myself out just so I don’t feel like a shut in as much as anything else. It’s easy for me to fall into a rut so I have to actively work to not be there. Yesterday I took myself to Criminal Records, my favorite record store anywhere, for the listening party they were having for the new Monkees album, Good Times. I’m not too thrilled with the new record (It feels disjointed.), but they were doing a raffle for a prize pack that included the picture disc that I wanted on Record Store Day and I like an excuse to flip through old records. I was on a little bit of a mission, though. I wanted that prize pack.