Dream trip Day 137 More Philadelphia history, dog park, Saint Vitus

Jodi had to go to her workshop early so if I wanted a ride into town, I had to wake up with her. No problem, I can roll with it.

Her shop was near the Italian part of town so that was fortunate. I strolled through the fruit veg and meat booths that lined a few blocks.

I stopped in a shop and got a real Italian coffee, not an espresso but the guy who made it swore it was the same beans and method he’d seen ‘back home.’

Tasted fine to me but I’ll bet a real Italian coffee experience would be an espresso, just pure black coffee. Sipped in 1 go while standing.

Since the city was a grid, literally everything was just down the road. It was just some roads and destinations were longer than others.

My route today would take me through downtown.



I was en route to another cheese steak joint, this one inside the Reading Terminal Market.

I had to keep up checking out city markets, I’d seen several overseas, let’s see how US does by comparison.

Market looked how it should, though every stall had big advertisements for their brand. I didn’t see much of a marketing budget on stalls in other countries. Sometimes a sign or logo, maybe business card but certainly not a full banner.

The place I was checking out today was Carmen’s Cheesesteak and Hoagie’s. You do have to know some lingo to understand the sammich.

Hoagie is a long piece of bread, not round or square like some places. Also roast beef, pork, shaved meats are used inside a hoagie.

This time I skipped the whiz and went with their cheese sauce. I hoped they used real cheese.

Gooey hot and delicious!

I kept on walking until I found a square with some statues.


I soon met up with Jodi and her dog at a nearby dog park. It was so fun watching the dogs interact with each other.

It reminded me of the 1st day of school. Lots of free dogs who just ran, others cowered under seats. Why I had a couple pooches under mine. I coaxed them out so they can join in the fun.

Back to Jodi’s to get a bit to eat and freshen up before the show. She made me an awesome avocado toast with tomato soup. Easy to be vegan if this is what you eat.

Jodi seemed to know everyone in Philly. We didn’t have tickets but she ran into some friends as we walked in who had an extra one for her. I bought a  fairly expensive ticket,  so I could support the scene.

I was intrigued by the openers, the Skull. They were heavy, sludgy. The singer chain smoked the entire show. I mean he lit up after maybe every other song. Other times he walked off to the side with a bev an a cig while a solo or groove was going on.

Then it was time for doom! An older guy with long grey hair strides up to the mic ‘We’re Saint fuckin’ Vitus!’

It was so awesome to see someone in their 60’s maybe 70’s just tearing it up on guitar as well as shouting expletives in the mic between songs.

They were great, really groovy, great singer. I needed to check out more of their stuff.

The singer kept looking to his left the last couple of songs.

‘We’ve got a special guest on this next one, Wino!’ the singer cried as a viking walked out from backstage.

Long blonde hair flowing, tan work books, it was Wino from the Obsessed, another early doom metal band. He had started out in St Vitus so this was a homecoming moment.

He sang a couple of tunes while clutching a beer. It was a great show. Philly has a thriving music scene. Do check out a show if you are in the city of brotherly love.

There was a pub a short walk from the venue so we checked it out.

It looked very much like a diner, house of waffles type place. It has one of the best jukeboxes I encountered on my trip.

I think I pissed everyone off playing Velvet Underground Neil Young and Television. Oh well, best to play long songs I think.

He came dancing across the water

Cortez, Cortez

what a killer

Wicked cool night in Philly!

Song   Saint Vitus   The Walking Dead

Beer Old Tankard Ale


Dream trip Day 91 Burger, beers, Mastodon

I woke up in a daze, I couldn’t wait!

Throughout my trip, I checked local venues for rocks shows. I also checked out many of my favorite band’s tour dates to see if I could see a show. Finally towards the end of my EU trip, things aligned.

Mastodon was playing tonight in Warsaw! That was pretty much the thing that took me to Warsaw.

I’d seen them before so it was going to be extra cool to see them in a foreign country.

I tried to buy an advance ticket but it was a little complicated. Or maybe I just didn’t want to do it their way.

The venue wanted me to go to a bank, give them cash and to deposit it to this account #. At least all the money was going to the venue, bands. No 3rd party ticket guys.

I spent the morning at a local coffee shop, where I stared at the ways to drink coffee chart: flat white, espresso, cappuccino, and so on.

Since this was a coffee shop, they had free wi-fi so I took advantage by listening to some Mastodon.

While I did like their newest record, on this trip I really got into their cover of a Fiest song, A Commotion. Very intriguing vocals, crunchy guitar tones, nice solo. Well that describes most Mastodon’s songs haha.

What to do with the day? Old town stroll then a nice meal before the show. I decided after my 2nd cup of coffee with a little milk. Americano with milk this time, but sometimes a flat white.

I wanted to go back to have more time to really look at the mermaid and walk around the bell for good luck.

My walking tour group scrambled a bit due to a wedding that was going on at a church across the courtyard on this part of our tour.

Since there was a lot of us, we were getting into their wedding pics.

Here goes nothing! I circled the bell 3x and repeated my wish into my head.

There is a large plaza in old town, filled with performers. I stopped by a large marionette band playing ‘Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ by the Stones.

The puppets just went up and down in time with the tune, it looked hard as it was 2 puppet masters, but 5 Stones for both to puppet.

It’s been my experience that cities with mermaid statutes aren’t worth it, they are underwhelmingly small.

Maybe I just expect a huge mermaid statute, not like doll sized. Like everyone I’d seen was the size of a Cabbage Patch doll size statue where you think, “Man, I could hold that mermaid!”

There was also a section on the road to old town of WWII memorials mixed in with blown up photos of battles, marches, and other scenes of war.

Warsaw had taken a beating several times. Always the case when Russia is next door.

I stopped off at my hostel to shower up before the big show.

I left very early for the show as I planned on dinner plus train to get there. I still had to buy a ticket and wanted to see the other bands.

Through my searches I found a burger, beer joint that was based on an auto garage.


On my trip I had done well to limit my french fry intake both for my health and wallet. I had to face the fact that I was getting older so burger and fries shouldn’t be a meal.

This place took me by surprise as it was a reasonably priced I presumed fries would be more, served separate. Nope, 1 price for burger, fries and pickles that was the equivalent price of just a burger back home.

I really went all out with a bacon, jalapeno with a fried egg on top. This place had about 12 burger and topping selections.

It was very good! Multi napkin good and juicy.

Now I was ready for the show, but less enthused about negotiating the tram routes.

I called for an Uber and waited along a busy road until a car arrived. Driver spoke English too, said it was taught in Polish schools.

We talked as we made a few turns, the entire time we followed the tram tracks. Seems it would’ve been way easy to tram it. I just figured it was too far and would require a couple of routes.

I arrived at around the door open time posted on the website. I saw a line and duly filed in it.

Everyone already had tickets so I searched how to say ticket in Polish. It is bilet, similar to Spanish billete. Isn’t that something?

My turn came and I held up a zloty note, “Bilet, proszę?” I inquired.

I was directed to a separate lady who took my note and gave me a ticket. I was in!


Just follow the crowd to the stage was the plan when you’re in a new venue. Up some stairs when we stop for several minutes.

Even in August, you need long sleeves or a light jacket here, so we waited for coat check. I had my long-sleeved shirt with another long sleeve shirt under it so I continued up the stairs.

The 1st of 3 bands was on stage. I cannot recall their name, I just remember they had a pretty skinny, pale bassist with floppy hair, his bass slung low.

The 2nd band was pretty good. They were Steak Number Eight. Really groovy metal plus they looked like regular guys in jeans. I tend to prefer that vs. the face painted metal I expected to see this close to Scandinavia.

Soon it was time for Mastodon. It was now really hot due to no ac and a lot of people in a confined room, so I went down to 1 shirt. Smoking was outside too which is always appreciated in Europe.

They played great! A similar set to when I’d seen them on the same tour several months ago in the US but they added/subtracted songs.

I was stoked when about 3/4 of the way through the show the bassist said they were done with this tour and were going to go home, celebrate the holidays, then record a new record.

“We will see you back here in a few months.” he said before they tore into another tune!

Like a flash of lightning, they were done, playing a Thin Lizzy tune as their closer. Bad ass dueling guitar solos ensued!

I slowly wound my way via long line down the stairs, passed the coat check and bar, then out to the street.

It was lightly sprinkling again so I again selected the Uber option. It was shockingly affordable.

My ride a few miles cost about 5$. I figured since it was still early, I may as well have a pint at the beer hall, PiwPaw, I’d been to a couple of night before.

My Uber driver this time wasn’t into talking so I just sat and watched the city pass by while it drizzled rain.

A  few more people were out tonight plus I was able to talk to the bartender a bit. He enjoyed Warsaw, said people here were friendly, and loved the food.

We were only able to talk for a few moments in between customers needing a beer or bag of crisps.

It was soon late and I had a flight in the afternoon.

American’s get 90 days in the EU,  or Schengen Area which consists of 26 countries, without a visa, I was very close to that timeframe at this point.

I wasn’t sure how or if Poland would perform a detailed account of my time in the EU considering I’d spent a week in the UK, a few days in Andorra, which technically isn’t in the EU.

My math put me around 80 days so I was tempted to fly to Amsterdam, one of my fav places in the world.

I figured it best to get out vs. trying to argue and count days with someone who speaks a different language. Especially considering my previous policja experience.

The penalty was up to a lifetime travel ban to EU countries if you over stayed your alloted time.

I walked a bit slower on my way back to my hostel. This was it, last moments in country.

I paused at the cathedral that housed Chopin’s heart.  What music he made! What a story how his lone body part returned to the country that inspired his work.

So much history I’d experience on my trip. Lots of pics in history books that I saw in person.

I’d done some research and had determined that one of the most reasonable airfare out of the EU was to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Plus, my British friend had said August is a good time to go there as there was some sort of festival going on. Little did I know how much fun it would be.

My trip had taken another turn…one for the better. I needed to be near the UK in a couple of weeks. I was going to meet someone there special soon.

Beer:  Mustache Ryeder

Song:  Mastodon  A Commotion



Dream trip Day 77   Petřín Lookout Tower, garden, Czech band plays CCR

Why, hello again morning rain, my travel companion.

Fortunately coffee and a burrito were a short walk away so I was all set to wait out the rain and stay a bit active.

I was able to chat up my roommate a bit, he came home very late and was usually asleep most of the morning.

He was traveling through Europe before he got a job. He was from Japan and explained this was likely his last trip until he retired. Vacation, hell, weekends weren’t much of a thing in his city.

‘We work ah everything, for money,  fun, boredom.  Always work, no night, drink! Hahah,’ he explained.

We couldn’t talk much, his English wasn’t great and my Japanese is nonexistent. I picked up he enjoyed going to big night clubs that were opened into the morning.

I shook his hand before we parted and wished him well on his travels. I was grateful for someone to talk with, even for just a moment.

My route up to the tower, garden was due west, straight down the road outside the hostel and up.

The clouds parted and I was off admiring the river.  There was a small island park about halfway across this particular bridge so I made a mental note to explore later.

After passing a busy road, I was on a separate walking train that lead to a sculpture and stairs.

Once up the stairs I was on the walkway to the top of a mountain.

I knew it was a bit of a hike when I came across a long queue for a gondola that took groups to the top. I had legs and a strong desire so I skipped the line and continued on the path.

It was a dirt path that zigzagged up the mountain and was quite popular with joggers and walkers alike.

Ever so often the path had a small rest area with benches or a small park area where people sat to drink, eat or play with their dogs. A wonderful yet steep walk.

About halfway up, there was a tiny restaurant, but more importantly for me, their restrooms were outside, perfect. I could pop in, use the facilities and fill up my water bottle.

If you’re traveling for any length of time, a wise investment is a durable, aluminum water vessel. You’ll easily pay for it and save $ due to the expensive water bottles vendors sell in areas like this or especially at airports.

Staggering water prices and most EU airports had water fountains. If not, there was always the rest room faucet, just mind the signs, some airports don’t use potable water.

I paused at a bench and took in the city view for a few moments. There was no hurry to scale this mountain, it had turned into a nice day.

After a few more uphill zigzags, I was at the top. What a view too!


Through a floral archway I saw the tower. I’d read this was based off the Eiffel Tower, but with a Czech style influence.

There was a long line with admission to ascend the tower. I opted to walk it for free.

Under another floral arch was a lush garden full of roses and other flowers. A short walk revealed a circular walkway with another garden in the middle.

I sat on one of the many benches that followed the circle, spaced out about every 10 feet or so. Close enough to overhear a conversation at another bench.

A couple were talking in Czech and what I picked up based on tone, inflection and physical interactions they alternated arguing and making up.

About what, I wasn’t positive, but sex was for sure on the guy’s mind as he had his arm slung around her or on a choice body part then she’d squeal and bat him away for awhile before they’d make out and begin the process over again.

Suddenly he got up and picked a rose and put it in his teeth to her shock, which soon turned into a laugh. Smooth move, though likely illegal to pick anything in this public garden area.


I, too, got up but didn’t pick any roses, just completed the circle back to the entrance.

I passed by the tour one more time and saw people going from the opposite direction I’d come up. Perhaps there was another route down?

Indeed there was another path that I followed for a bit until I saw a worn path in the grass which I took until I hit a fence with an ominous sign.

Ah I’d found a slice of the US in Czech Republic but it was fenced in, haha land of the free, sometimes, not here.


Looked like a residence of some sort. Prime land with a view so likely diplomat’s home or for use by VIPs when they were in Prague.

Back to the main path and soon another tributary path was revealed, but this one was paved so it had to lead to some where cool, at least accessible.

It lead to a small rectangle area surrounded by small concrete walls about 3 feet high, maybe this was an overflow parking lot?

Sitting on a ledge with choice view of the city were 2 couples talking and listening to Pink Floyd via small, Bluetooth speaker.

They’d met at some club last night, the ladies were visiting and the guys were from Netherlands, but visited Prague often, I overheard while taking the view in.

They chatted and compared Prague vs Amsterdam and all agreed to meet up in Holland in the future.

I continued my decent after they began to hold hands and sneak kisses.

Back down to street level I encountered an interesting fountain where the runoff trickled down into a ground level reservoir for pets to drink, too. No waste here.

Why don’t we have more efficient things like this in the US, I wondered?

I was soon back at my hostel where I showered and got ready for the evening starting in the common area.

Foiled again, everyone was immersed in their phones.

I passed by the Vagon music club and had noted that tonight they had a CCR cover band.

A minimal cover, cheap beer and good tunes made for a great night out!

The band was spot on, too, each song is a classic and was played very well. The only way I knew it was a cover band was the Czech between song banter.

They took requests as the sweaty, beer bellied front-man said something to which the crowed called out song titles in English.

They played nearly 2 hours to great applause from the crowd and me. They did these songs justice and having never seen CCR live, this was as close as I ever would.

I lingered with a beer in the back after the show, finding a small place to sit near a screen that was showing rock videos.

My attempts to chat up some local goths, punks failed. Not much English spoken here.

After the band was finished, the placed morphed into more of a dance-y club that closed very late.

I finished my pint and headed to my hostel, whistling a CCR tune.


Song:  Creedence Clearwater Revival    Who’ll Stop the Rain?

Beer: Breznak


Dream trip Day 56 Waiting around for rock festival

I woke up in a cold sweat, this room was sauna hot. No AC, roomful of people in summer it was nearly unbearable.

I shockingly was able to go back to sleep, I’d need it as I figured it was going to be a late night. My friends’ band didn’t go on until midnight.

I lounged around the hostel, drinking coffee as it was sprinkling a bit of rain.

After burning a few hours surfing the net, my next adventure was booked: Budapest was a cheap, quick flight away.

I determined I was noodle hungry, seemed last time I was in town we walked by several joints.

A quick walk and I was at a noodle spot where I was seated and then ignored.

I basically had to tackle a waiter to take my order but the noodles were good.

I took a long route back stopping in a small pub for a pint.

It was in this pub I received the text I was anxiously awaiting.

The night before I mentioned I needed info on how to get to the show and luckily the tour manager overheard. The band was shuttled from hotel to venue and he felt safe telling me there should be room for me, but he’d confirm day of the show.

All I had to do now was be at the hotel in a few hours to ride with my friends to the show vs an hour ride on the metro as the show was well outside of town. What a wonderful turn of events!

I showered up and laid down for a bit before it was time to walk.

I wasn’t too hungry but knew I should have a bit to eat as I wasn’t sure of the food situation at the show. Could just be expensive burgers, festival food.

Ice cream is everywhere and it was crazy cheap so I had a cone as I walked past the dildo building.

I met Matt in the lobby and we hung in his room drinking a bit of wine and watching the pool party below.

Crazy loud sound system pounded out bass and jams while pretty people danced below around the pool, quite a sight.

Soon we hopped into a van and hit the Spanish highway, a new part of town to see.

The tour manager greeted us and handed us all access passes as well as meal tickets!

We found the dressing room and then walked behind the venue to the cafe.

It was buffet style chicken, rice, salads, cold cuts, so much food.

Plus a soda fountain. Everything was all you can eat, drink.

We had several hours to kill before the show so we walked around the festival grounds stopping to check out a huge drum set and guitar, both 10x normal size.


A German metal band was onstage and we stopped a moment to watch as fire and lasers lit up the night.


Soon the band had to huddle up in the dressing room but fortunately we ran into Chad who rolled up a spliff on the bleachers behind the venue. It felt very high school sneaking a smoke moment. Security was walking near but they paid us no mind.

We walked around searching for the soundboard, but were blocked by metal barricades.

My friends fiancé became my hero when she merely lifted the railings open, then we ducked under the scaffolding leading to the soundboard.

Again security didn’t stop us but we had all access passes and knew the crew if anyone confronted us.

Seeing a rock show from front of house is an amazing experience, best views and sound!

We met up after the show and had time for a beer before being whisked away by the shuttle.

It was super late when I got back to the hotel so felt best to grab a cab to my hostel.

I climbed into bed after 3am, a smile on my face.

I’d had an amazing night, everything kept getting better and I just rolled with each improvement.

Beer: Estrella Damm
Song: King Diamond  Abigail

European Vacation II- Day 5 Copenhell festival

Today was the day, Hellfest, my first European festival! We had instructions on how to bus to the festival as it was just outside the city. We walked over to the apartment where we hung out with Patton. The ladies needed to get ready so we had a couple of beers and I stepped outside to up my levels. We walked over several arches above the waters en route to a bus. This bus would drop us off at another bus that would only pickup and drop off at the festival.

The fields were near an industrial side of the city. We queued up to the will call area and quickly we had all access badges. As we navigated security I was struck at how Nordic how Viking like everyone looked. Most had long blonde hair that flapped in the wind. Black was the only color 98% of the attendees wore, which made Abigail’s hot pink pants stand out even more, they were like a lighthouse beacon so we could always find her. Nearly everything was different and better at European festival. The men used open urinals in a star like shape, that could accommodate tens of guys peeing in a small area. Beer was draft and you could buy 5 pints that fit inside a cardboard carrier. A whole lot easier to get beers for everyone when they are so easy to carry. 

Our meeting spot became a church like structure in just about the middle of the festival grounds. It wasn’t a church since all the crosses were inverted. I think this structure sole reason for being was as a meeting place. I don’t think anything was for sale inside, it was just an empty structure for added ambiance. There were many smaller booths were you could buy just about any obscure band shirt sticker or patch for sale. I thought that was very cool. You had vendors who likely went around to metal fests seeing smaller bands merch. It just seemed like Europe has a huge

We set up and caught Down’s set while drinking beer. I upped my levels in the crowd, no one cared. I’d never heard much of Down’s music, but they were very good. I am not a fan of Amon Amarth who were on next. They just seemed to check all the boxes on metal for me. They also reminded me of modern-day vikings, pillaging our eardrums. I am a huge fan of Every Time I Die and enjoyed their set a lot. King Diamond was the headliner and who we had come to see rock today.

We met Thom near the stage and he introduced us to the gate guy, this is the person to know at any venue. He let us walk backstage and out front for their entire show. After the show we all met up backstage and were soon bused back to the band’s hotel. A lot of beer and weed made for a late night out and walk back, still daylight.

Slobberbone Final Show

Slobberbone played their final show at Dan’s Sliverleaf in 2005. These are my recollections of that show. The band is back together now and are playing sporadically.


Denton, TX saw the end of an era as the city’s finest band, Slobberbone, hung up their instruments at Dan’s Silver Leaf Sunday night. It was more than just the end of what one could easily defend as the best rock band to come out Denton rock city; it was the harbinger that the end of one of them most fertile musical scenes was almost nigh. The evening overall was a celebration of a decade of rock, but occasionally there was laughter through the tears.

Upon arriving to the rock show, I heard the familiar sounds of a band tuning up. I had seen Slobberbone play long shows before, but this was setting up to be a marathon. Imagine my surprise to see Centro-Matic ready to play a show with their friends. Johnson said the band had driven from St. Louis that day to play and apologized for showing up late. Centro-Matic’s power and confidence they displayed during their set can be described thusly: when driving on I-35 you will see exits labeled, “Runaway Trucks,” & Centro-matic were barreling down such an exit and only the emotional hill of seeing their friend’s last show slowed them down.

Kicking off with, “Post-It Notes from the Mental Hospital,” the band appeared to be the heir to the Denton rock torch. Highlights included, “Fidgeting Wildly,” that Brent Best and the rest of the crowd sang along with at the top of their lungs. Johnson sent out a blistering, “The Mighty Midshipmen,” to Brian Lane. The emotional zenith of the set, however, was the final two songs: “Without You,” which Johnson and Scott Danbom nailed the closing falsetto, “Ooohs.” Johnson ended the set with a new tune, “Sure Enjoyed You Being Around,” that he had finished while stuck in Oklahoma traffic on the 14-hour drive. Johnson said a few kind words about the Bone and quipped, “I don’t even know the lyrics yet, so I’ll have to sing this with my eyes open, which is foreign.” Summoning Lane to act as a human music holder, Johnson stood alone singing his heart out to gently strummed guitar. When the song was over, Johnson saluted Best who responded by taking off his glasses & wiping away the first of many tears that would be shed this night.

A brief documentary soon followed that was shot by Baptist Generals’ Chris Flemmons back in 1997 for the release of Barrel Chested. Dismissed by Doolittle Records as portraying Slobberbone as being, “too much of a drinking band,” (what the fuck is wrong with that?!) the video had never seen the light of day. Aptly described by Best as taking place during the bands, “fat, Waffle House years,” the short film featured interviews with the Bone in varying degrees of sobriety interspersed with live footage. Dismissing critics’ fondness of describing them as a ‘drunken, country rock band,’ each member offered a resounding, “Whatever, it’s still rock,” as “Engine Joe,” and other cuts off the record played in the background. The film’s funniest and endearing moment came when Best on his front porch, beer in hand at a party, performed lines from “Blade Runner,” in a full on Harrison Ford imitation.

“I just want to start by saying thank you very, very much for being here and supporting us,” said Best before the band roared into the one-two punch of, “Front Porch,” and “Placemat Blues.” Danbom added some delicate keys to the more somber than usual, “Lumberlung,” which Best stumbled a bit as he fought off tears on the closing words, “Goddamn this lumberlung/ She knows I’m no longer fun/ For her.”

“Ok guys, drinky, drinky time,” Best said, as he and the rest of the band toasted the crowd with shots of whiskey. Only Lane abstained from the numerous calls for drink, choosing instead to swig from a Coke can. Best soon launched into a rambling story involving San Francisco and some California hydro that incapacitated the band precipitating a frantic exit as house cleaning exclaimed, “Drugas! Dios Mio!” After relating this story, Best pulled out his acoustic guitar for, “Meltdown,” and other quieter numbers in the catalogue. The band picked up steam for, “Barrel Chested,” as wood flew from drummer Tony Harper’s sticks & Best whipped his head back and forth flinging sweat in every direction. Barr kept his composure, chain smoking at his usual frightening pace and playing each solo with annoying ease after which he pointed his finger at the sky with tongue firmly in his cheek.

During the usual closing song, “I Can’t Stay Sober,” by the Showoffs, Best introduced each band member who took a brief solo. Lane jumped on Dan’s bar and nearly knocked off a hanging lamp as he played the intro to CCR’s, “Down on the Corner.” Barr and Harper tried to match David Lee Roth high kicks, which Harper came away the winner when he pointed out, “With one leg!” to the cheers of the crowd. Best said some kind words about Danbom, saying his firing was, “The dumbest, best decision we ever made if that makes sense. It allowed him to join Centro-Matic: the best fucking band playing right now.” It was during the song that Best could no longer hold back and he went around kissing every member of the band before jumping into the crowd as the song climaxed.

At the two o’clock last call, all the drinks were thrown away so the band could continue playing. “This song is how I feel at this moment,” Best said as he finished his beer, leading the band in Neil Young’s, “Big Time,” whose chorus cemented the sentiments of the evening, “I’m still living the dream we had/ For me it’s not over” Throwing his electric guitar at the ceiling behind him and just missing a surprised Harper, Best grabbed his trusty acoustic to play, “Dunk You in the River.” The audience had to finish the song as Best was overcome with emotion and tears rolled down his face as he strummed.

“This has been the best 10 years playing with these guys for you. Thank you all so very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Best choked out as he began shaking everybody’s hands and personally thanking them for coming.

No Slobberbone, thank you for delivering the rock. From now on Shiner won’t taste as good and the desire to chase it with Jack grows, knowing that these guys won’t be around to play shows. Remember: its rock.

Final Setlist: Front Porch, Placemat Blues, That is All, Get Gone Again, Gimme Back My Dog, Lumberlung, Engine Joe, Billy Prichard, Some New Town, Find the Out, Sister Beams, Meltdown, Trust Jesus, Lazy Guy, Pinball Song, I’ll Be Damned, To Love Somebody, Barrel Chested, Springfield IL, I Can Tell Your Love is Waning, Haze of Drink, I Can’t Stay Sober, Big Time, Dunk You In the River

SXSW 2011

Thursday= Si n Jeremy Black picked me up around 1230, arrived to Austin round 430ish. Whilst waiting to cross the street, turned to find guy w fuzzy wolf man helmet/mask thing on. It was more than just a mask, full on furry mascot style helmet; I don’t know what you really call those. Drank at bar until 7ish, and then walked to Scoot Inn for hip-hop show. Talib Kwali was playing but at 1. This means 5 hrs of sitting through hype guys. Hip-hop shows are much more efficient than rock shows so they stay on schedule. Plus you can have twice as many bands since there isn’t any set up time. Didn’t make it to see Talib, drank too much too fast and couldn’t keep it together.

Friday= Arrived @ Red7 prior to noon start only to wait until 1230ish to actually get in. They were still setting up or something. We judged our progress via the bike we where next to. “We made it passed the back tire guys!” There was puke all over bike so that was something. Went originally to check out Flatliners and Gamblers but I discovered iwreastledabearonce was playing. I skipped the Gamblers to witness the WTF faces of the goth/emo/new rock fans. Also the singer is pretty hot but can scream/sing better than most other front men. They were awesome! Scored a t-shirt, v-neck style. Motionless in White were most intriguing band but only cos they were all maybe 20 w full tattoo sleeves. Singer had full neck work too. Lots of keyboards n band members all day. Every band had 6-7 members. Flatliners n Bane where pretty cool.

Headed to Stubb’s for real meal. Not so impressed w pork, it was busy sxsw so maybe they were struggling. I’m starting to think bbq joints are really more about the side options. And sauce.

Again headed to Scoot Inn for Fat Wreck Chords showcase w Flatliners and Screeching Weasel. I was not feeling well having had beer all day again. Just waited it out and watched from the back. A NYC hair band was best thing to mention. It was like 30 years never happened. Teased hair, ripped jeans, leather, scarves, looked like Poison.  We did run into Wiebe from Gamblers who said hi to everyone. I do like Gamblers, they do Denton proud but they belong to Austin now.

Flatliners got me going, they are Canadian and it had been long enough to start drinking again. Got up front for their set then it was Weasel time. Ben was in a pissy mood which I get, it may just be his thing. He railed against corp rock, festivals, venue, everyone. I’d say their show was equal parts rants n music. I hear where green day and nofx may have got their sound though. Eventually he had to actually do something besides talk so he threatened to beat up a guy if they copped to throwing beer/ice at him. He eventually learned it was a girl to which he said, ‘whatever, I don’t care anymore…’ and jumped into the crowd swinging. Not sure if he landed a punch but he did also shove a woman onstage. Go home bro.

Went to outside food court thing and saw Michael Cera. Si tried to get a pic but was turned away. Dude was eating after all. Met up w James Sarah n Audrey. James demanded Iron Maiden on the juke box, I watched Zombieland! Nice ride home from Hampy in back of his truck. I know why people have motorcycles; wind in your face is great.

Saturday- Got up and headed to Arandas for lunch. Got serenaded just like at Lupita’s here. Must be a thing where you know you are a good Mexican joint. Headed to check out Jeremy’s show at DIY venue. This was actually a junkyard of sorts. The first band was prob most inspiring ever: bassist vocalist in wheelchair, guitarist played w stub hand. There are no limits, you want to play music, you can do it. Guitarist was playing leads n everything! WOW

Headed over to Carousel Lounge for DFI showcase. Turns out we passed by Govalle on the way. Ah 3rd grade memories. This was a bit of an odd venue, very old school. All cash, beer only, but you can bring in liquor BUT you have to buy a set up aka mixer. Well I’m sure there’s a sign, handwritten no doubt, that has all these details which I missed. Anywho I brought in a mixer n liquor only to have the mixer taken from me. They prob should have kicked me out but clearly they don’t care as well as have little interaction w the police. Safe to say we weren’t the only ones outside drinking in this neighborhood.

Alas I didn’t read the sign: no mixers. They took my ginger ale which was laden w beam. I bought a couple beers to make up for it. I realized that they gotta make money too somehow. Also they put on the showcase so that’s pretty cool of them and cool things need to be reciprocated. Opposite Day rocked it pretty good as they always do. They had help on “Safety First,” from the singer of the Better Death. I tell you I missed this song initially but it’s an ear worm. I had it in my head for awhile that is for sure.

Shaolin rocked it but just before they got on stage, some ladies started doing each other’s hair. Now I’m a guy and I don’t usually hang around salons so having rarely seen this I was intrigued. Apparently I was buzzed to the point that perhaps I wasn’t merely glancing so much as staring we will say. Either way I was called out for being a judger. I tell you want I wasn’t judging anything, in fact no one really wants to know what I was thinking so I’ll just say I found their hairstyling very sexxy, yes two xx’s! It’s probably due to the fact that one of my favorite thing to do w the ladies is run my fingers through their long hair. Yeah long hair ladies always a good choice.

After the show we headed out to check out Dead Milkmen. It was a free show and who doesn’t like “punk rock girl,” I say. We arrived to a very long line…to a free event y’all! I suppose they did have to control the underage but it seemed silly to wait in line considering there was an easily scaled fence between fans and the band. Several people just hoped over. One guy hung on to a tree and of course it was right over this pipe and I tell you all I could think about was the fall and impalement. It didn’t happen, someone pulled him down and pointed it out but for a few moments, that branch didn’t look like it would hold him. The milkmen played awhile, lots of stage divers. The singer enjoyed ranting about random things but he did have positive things to say about SXSW and Odd Future.

We made it back down to around the SXSW area, sort of close to Scoot Inn, that side, making sure we stayed away from I-35. We hoofed it to some tiny downstairs bar that wasn’t officially open yet. It was another punk showcase so get ready to sweat. First up was a band I’d heard of and wanted to check out, Mind Spiders. It was one or two of the guys from Marked Men but was supposed to be better and they were really good. A 3 guitar punk band is quite a sight and so I hasten to even call them a punk band, they were just full on direct, powerful rock. I liked them and want to check them out again. Next up was another great punk band I’d seen before, Bad Sports. They are young and full of great songs and attitude! Definitely enjoy seeing them. After them was a collective w members of the two bands that just played w the singer from Riverboat Gamblers. They also had 3 guitars I believe. They are also loud and good but I think I liked Mind Spiders more. Who am I really kidding, I liked them all and they need to be seen live. That’s the thing about punk or these sorts of bands; they have a hard time translating things onto a record. Even if they record it live, you don’t get the full sweat, pushing each other to get a better view, ear ringing that is necessary to properly enjoy this style.

We ran into a guy from Peelander Z who handed us a flyer. They were playing a show down the street. They are super crazy and always a good show. We stopped for some ok pizza beforehand. I didn’t realize it at the time but there was a cover for the show. Si asked the door guy and he told us to go to the side and we’d see them. Little did he know they would just let us in. Maybe it was the band entrance or something but it was cool.

I headed up stairs which turned out to be a good/bad decision. They had food up top and I saw some guy sitting at a table by himself. I said hey and he said he was about to take down this 9 lb burrito. It was a 35 buck challenge if he failed! I for one don’t think it’s possible for a human to eat that much food but this dude looked like he could or had eaten that much. Out came this large plate w equally large burrito. He dug in w gusto at first then slowed. He had a lot of people taking photos and asking him questions. One girl kept leaning in to talk to him as the band playing was pretty loud. I’m not sure if she fell or was pushed but she ended up on his burrito, covered in sour cream n cheese on her arm and side. No way this dude wants to eat it now but he kept spooning it in. he stopped for a while and said he was going to take a break and come back.

This is where the story turns my friends. At first some girl spies the burrito and spoon and shimmies over. Hesitantly she picks up the spoon and tries to just plop it into a napkin or something. Eventually she just stopped trying and began shoveling bite after bite w the same spoon that was just used on a burrito that a girl fell into. After several spoonfuls forks appeared and people started tearing into this thing w reckless abandon. It got down to the end and some dude palmed some bites. I was so let down by people at this moment but you figure that is really what happens in nature: free food free for all!

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived upstairs was the amount of freely smoking of grass by a table. No one really said or did anything and they kept passing around a pipe. I angled for a view of the stage but the people were 2 deep and tall.  I turned around I noticed people at another table smoking too. I decided to just wait it out maybe they would offer. Si motioned for me as he had a beverage so as I retrieved it I saw something I hadn’t seen since Amsterdam: a dude pulled out a bag of grass, pulled buds from it and broke it up on a table for all to see. Wow this was Austin TX. I was about halfway through my bev when I saw the guitarist pulling himself up on the stairs, he has crowd walked and made it up to the 2nd story! Peelander z is an outrageous good time and I fully encourage everyone to check them out.