Holiday Hangout – Friday Night

This is the first in a series of guest posts by Craig Toney about the amazing thing that is Holiday Hangout. If you aren’t familiar with this event then you are really late to the party. It’s a small, three day gathering of amazing people and even more amazing music that happens at the legendary White Water Tavern in Little Rock, AR every December. I asked Craig to write up a night and he wrote up all three so you all get a little peek in to what some of us look forward to all year! – Romeo Sid Vicious

For the past five years, one hundred and fifty music lovers have come to Little Rock, Arkansas for the Holiday Hangout to celebrate independent rock and roll and roots music. The Hangout originated from a birthday party that Travis Hill threw for himself from 2009 – 2011. Travis, the owner of Last Chance Records, wanted to celebrate with some of his favorite bands. As interest grew, his birthday party became one of the most anticipated events for lovers of Americana, alt-country, and independent rock and roll.

When you round the curve on 7th street and see the back lights of the White Water Tavern, you get that warm feeling that you are going home.The WWT has inspired songs from a few artists. It is a place to romanticize the music and people that have filled it throughout the years. For those that have not been there, it is an old wooden building that you might think is just a shack sitting in a residential\industrial section of any small city. Inside, the wooden planks that make up the WWT, magic happens. A few bands have been saved by this little bar and the people that frequent it. Many lifelong friendships have been made here. There is something magical about this little dive bar.

The music kicked off with Benchmarks. This band is fronted by Todd Farrell, guitarist of Two Cow Garage. Their music is rock and roll with a punk edge. The crowd was enthusiastic about the music and were singing along to every song. This prompted Todd to say “I guess someone shared that something that I told them to keep secret”. That “thing” was the upcoming album Benchmarks will release in the Spring.

Salty Dogs were up next bringing some local flavor to the night. Their music is a mix of country and rock and roll. It almost had a Dwight Yoakam feel at times. It was a strong set and kept people rocking.

Lydia Loveless made her first official HHO appearance. Last year, she was added at the last minute. Lydia usually has one of the best bands in rocking roll backing her. Her HHO sets have been solo. Lydia is a rock star. When she is solo, you can really see how powerful and captivating her voice can be.

When you think of powerful voices, Austin Lucas comes to mind. This year he did a solo set and showed off that voice. During ‘Go West’, he had the entire crowd singing along with him. He is truly underrated when it comes to his performances.

Romantica brought a fun vibe to the night. The crowd wasn’t as familiar with them but that didn’t stop frontman Ben Kyle keeping everyone dancing along. That says quite a bit about the band and the oneness that the attendees have.

Arkansas has a few favorite sons when it comes to music. Adam Faucett has become one of them. His voice is unique and more powerful than a steaming locomotive. He makes you want to stare in awe and singalong at the same. time.

The music coming from Oklahoma rivals any other location today. John Moreland is one of the best songwriters today. His songs will make you cry. Tonight, he returned to his roots and had a full band. The band had John Calvin Abney on lead guitar. John could have stayed safe and used them to provided layers behind his voice. Instead, they went full electric and powered through the set. I can only imagine it was like seeing Springsteen in the early days.

Joey Kneiser and The Living Flames closed the night. Joey played songs from his album ‘The Wildness’ and added a couple of new songs. Kelly Smith provided the beautiful harmonies that she has provided with Joey since the Glossary days. It would have been the perfect way to close the night except Glossary drummer, Eric Giles was in the house….

Four Fifths of Glossary were at the WWT. All night, people asked Eric if he was going to play. He would just shrug his shoulder. Eric joined Joey, Kelly and Bingham Barnes on stage to rip through four Glossary songs. It was the first performance for Glossary since Eric had his shoulder issues. During ‘Little Caney’ I had tears because it made me think of what might happen. This is the 20 year anniversary of Glossary becoming a band. Everyone is hoping Todd Beene will join his bandmates and give us a few Glossary shows this year.

Night one was at an end. Seven plus hours of music. Countless hugs from friends. This is what we have come to expect from the HHO. People wandered out of the White Water almost giddy from the night. We went back to our rooms or to the after show Hangout that Dave Parsons has been hosting. It was a great kickoff to a wonderful weekend.

All images are used with permission from Melissa Brawner Photography. Melissa is the official photographer for Holiday Hangout and she does an amazing job. She has graciously allowed us to use her photos for this series of posts. She does much more than shoot shows, check out her website and if you are anywhere close to he there is no better photographer you could use.

Rock Report – “Shoot the Mariner” in San Luis Obispo

Hey buddies!

Let me 12788230_10154152055982150_659792746_nstart this the way I start most of my relationships, with an apology. I’ve been slacking on making a first post for 9b, sorry. When RSV invited me to write a few pieces for the site I was beyond honored to do so. Like many of you’ve I’ve been following the site for years and years and it has been an important part of my musical dialogue. I’ve discovered bands that I ended up loving through this site and gotten to know a few of those friends-through-music that we all hold so dear as well. Halfway through the intro and I haven’t introduced myself, good start. I’m Patrick, I’m in the Dead Volts, we’ve opened for a bunch of bands you probably like a lot. I’m from San Luis Obispo, California and I’m going do my damnedest to let you folks know about music happening here on the Central Coast of California. We’ve been fortunate out here to be a regular stop for a lot of bands you likely know about like Drag the River, Two Cow Garage, Lucero, Michael Dean Damron, John Moreland and plenty of others. Odds are I will talk a little bit about some of those folks but mostly I want to tell you about bands from here.

My initial post was actually going to be about a San Luis Obispo band called Bearcats as they are one of my favorites and they deserve some love but last night (Wed 2/24/16) I had one of those awesome rock’n’roll experiences that I wanted to share with you.

I like seeing shows on off nights because there is something special about the bands and the audience that comes out that is different than your typical Friday or Saturday night show. At my most usual haunt, the Frog and Peach Pub (full disclosure I do book some shows in there and do some promo work for them), this is even more true as the weekends tend to be cover bands and reggae catering to a meat market style crowd. The bands are essentially background for the party. On the off nights though it’s all about the show. Last night was a 5 band bill, a showcase for Lost State Records, a local label that does mostly cassettes and vinyl for screamo/emo bands and a few outliers. I was working at another show a town over so I unfortunately missed the previously mentioned Bearcats but I was able to catch the last three bands on the bill. The band playing when I walked in the door was…not rad. Just didn’t do it for me. It’s not them, it’s me. I try to stay positive but honestly it was tough because I had missed the band I wanted to see, my other buddies (Blissed Out) were playing last and I was gearing up to not enjoy the other bands in-between. I hate doing stuff like that, I’d like to be more open to things, but that’s just where my head was at. I hung out at the bar as the bands switched over and bunched up with a few of my friends to check out the next act.

Immediately I thought these guys were going to be terrible. They committed one of the greatest band sins in my book, wearing shorts on stage. I don’t know why but it’s always bothered me. Shorts and flip-flops are just not supposed to be on stage. I blame a Toad the Wet Sprocket concert I saw in my teenage years for this bias against shorts. The name also came off as jokey, “Shoot the Mariner”. But the bassist was playing a Telecaster bass and one of the guitarists was playing a Jaguar (I think, might been a Jazzmaster) so that was at least a good sign. The crowd was clearly there to see these guys and a goofy in-joke vibe was present throughout. I figured I was in for some standard college rock jokey band nonsense. But I’m a stupid old man.

They started playing.

It’s rare for me to see a band and immediately like them. So I fought off the feeling that I was seeing something special and told one of my friends that they were okay after the first tune. But then they were also pretty okay with their second song. I think it was four songs in when I finally cracked. All my “seen it all” posturing had to take a backseat to the sheer joy I was getting out of watching these guys do their thing. I’m guilty of being pretty cynical sometimes but it felt fantastic to let go of that and get into the band.

They were high energy, matched only by the crowd’s enthusiasm for them. I couldn’t divine how well the crowd knew the songs but they obviously knew the band and knew the show they were in for. It’s pretty rare around here to have a bar packed with 75-125 people on a Wednesday night for a local showcase, it felt like the fantasy Saturday night I have in my head where loud, sweaty and close are virtues for a rock’n’roll band instead points against them.

I have a hard time categorizing music. I hear so many different things in people’s songs that it’s hard to pigeonhole something by giving it a style. I’m not sure who these guys cite as influences but I heard a little bit of Sunny Day Real Estate in there, some Weezer perhaps, the Sea and Cake and some straight up punk influences all swaddles in gobs of feedback as well as some left hand turns into almost prog territory. They were fantastic. The singing was largely in the dual vocalist emo neighborhood but I mean that in a good way. The vocals went from spoken word to primal screams and I believed every word. That’s the reason I liked these guys more than anything else. I absolutely believed that they believed in what they were doing and what their sound was. Throughout their set I was impressed by every song more than the last. They were just in the zone. By the time they wrapped I was slightly stunned and filled with pride to see a San Luis Obispo band playing that well and connecting with a crowd on such a visceral level.

I bought two CD’s from one of the dudes post show. I haven’t listened to them yet because I wanted to write this up before I muddied the waters of my mind by hearing them outside of the environment. I don’t really know anything about these guys yet. This part of liking a band is so frickin exciting I wish it could last forever. It’s the mystery, excitement and increased expectations of the “new”, I love this part! This is why music is so important to me. 30 mins of someone playing leaves me buzzing and thinking about rock’n’roll for days to come. The biggest compliment I can pay these guys right now is to say I’d really like to play a show with them sometime. Check ‘em out but more importantly go see a band you’ve never heard of on an off night in your town. Okay, I’ve got some music to listen to.

Gallows Bound at Gruene Hall – January 24, 2016

IMG_3940A couple of years ago, I pulled up to a little neighborhood bar in Philadelphia to play a show. The headliner that night was a group of young adults from Winchester, VA called Gallows Bound. Six folks decked out in t-shirts from their favorite punk bands, tattoos, piercing and the like.

Walking in, I received a sight I was not expecting to see: acoustic guitars, mandolin, banjo, double bass and a small drum kit with a washboard laid over the floor tom. Instantly, I was stoked to see what these punk rock kids were going to do with their influences from the foothills of the Appalachians.

They were a blast. A little rough around the edges, but the songs were great. Vocalist/Guitarist Jesse Markle was the grit to vocalist/guitarist Jordan Joyes’ grace. The contrast in vocals, the instrumentation of people who all could play their instruments well and the energy were all things that made the band stick out above other acts I had played with on tour. They were special.

We hit it off well, took some pictures together, drank too much together and then we went our separate ways keeping in touch sporadically through social media.

A year later, I was in Johnson City, TN playing a show when I saw a Facebook message that Gallows Bound was playing a few blocks from where I was playing. So, as soon as I packed up my gear, I headed over to the Hideaway to see the band and that was one of the best moves I have made as a music fan.

In that year, Gallows Bound had tightened up the sound, Markle’s vocals were blending well with Joyes’ and the rest of the band, bassist Aaron Blow, drummer Rob Shultz, mandolin player Forrest Veatch and banjo player Justin Carver, were hitting on all cylinders. The energy was high, the audience responsive and the set showed the continued growth of the band. Now, if only they would come to Texas.

Now, in 2016, about 8 months later, Gallows Bound was on their first US tour and the closest they got to Houston was in New Braunfels at Gruene Hall.

Looking a bit worn out from the preceding weeks of touring, the band loaded into the historic dancehall as a few patrons milled around waiting for the bar to open at noon. Having played a late show in Dallas the night before and travelling 4 hours to Gruene, it was interesting to see how the day would progress, especially with a 3 hour set looming.

IMG_3946A little past noon, with a small crowd gathering, the set was off. Almost instantly, at least to the spectators, the exhaustion disappear and the energy came rushing back. As the music filled the air, the butts filled the seats. People danced in the back of the room to the mixture of bluegrass, folk and punk rock attitude. Audience members delivered beers to the stage to help cure the band members’ hang overs and even the seated stamped their feet to the beat of the songs.

The set contained a few tunes from their first album, Empty Flask, Empty Heart, but leaned heavily of their new self-titled album and some yet-to-be released songs, a couple of which featured lead vocals from Veatch and Carver.

At the break for each set, the merch table was filled with people wanting to take home albums and other wares. It was definitely a good day for music at Gruene Hall and a good day to see Gallows Bound.

They are on tour until the end of February, so go check out their website to see when they will be close to you, you will not regret it. For tour information visit their website.

Gallows Bound by Gallows Bound

Holiday Hangout 2015 Tickets Available & Lineup Announced

IMG_64508751296426Start the countdown to December folks, because the Last Chance Records Holiday Hangout lineup has been announced and tickets are available. If you haven’t been before you should absolutely consider going: spend some time at the storied White Water Tavern in Little Rock with your favorite bands and some of the best friends you’ve never met. Tickets are available over at the LCR website, pick up a VIP weekend pass while you still can! And don’t forget to call the LaQuinta and get the special Holiday Hangout Rate for the weekend of December 5, 6, and 7!




The Rock Report- Great Peacock

boat drinks

Last night I had the great good fortune to see Great Peacock live for the first time. I’ve been listening to them for years now, their virtues lovingly espoused by their supporters over at This Is American Music, and I reviewed their debut album Making Ghosts right here.  While I undoubtedly enjoyed their music, it was seeing them play in a half-empty Hollywood club that made me a fan.

Perhaps you feel a little too relaxed when you listen to Great Peacock, as I did. Their songs are beautiful flowing things where even the most difficult subject matter is dealt with at an even tempo. While there’s definitely a place for this music, I myself have a hard time identifying with it. I don’t know if last night’s live show was the exception or the rule, but Great Peacock was by no means relaxed. Perhaps it was the inevitable difficulty of the First West Coast Tour, or perhaps something a little deeper, but the band played with a chip on their shoulder and let me tell you: it was good.

Each of the songs that I loved from their previous releases (“Tennessee”, “Take Me to the Mountain”, “Broken Hearted Fool”) was played just a little bit faster and a lot louder than their recorded counterparts. Front man Andrew Nelson shredded on electric guitar in a decidedly un-pop/folk matter, and the rhythm section of Ben Cunningham on bass and Nick Recio on drums had just as much willingness to turn up the volume. Blount Floyd bounced around the stage as he is wont to do, providing an energetic counterbalance to Nelson’s straightforward intensity.

They played a few new songs, and their sound and content hinted at what may be a future direction for the band- their most rock’n’roll song had a particularly somber chorus: “Love is just a word that you say”. This heartbroken sentiment alone would be interesting, but backed by skilled rockers and the band’s usual ethereal harmonies it is downright captivating.

I came away from the show impressed and excited- I’ll be sure to see these guys as soon as I can, and I suggest you do the same. If you don’t own their Making Ghosts release I suggest you pick it up now, and if you’re anywhere near their tour (dates below) you should see these guys before they blow up.

Great Peacock Tour Dates:

5-Sep Standing Sun Winery Buellton, CA
6-Sep The Continental Room Fullerton, CA
8-Sep Soda Bar San Diego, CA
9-Sep Valley Bar Phoenix, AZ
10-Sep The Lowbrow Palace El Paso, TX
11-Sep 502 Bar San Antonio, TX
12-Sep Lamberts Austin, TX
13-Sep Double Wide Dallas, TX
14-Sep Gasa Gasa New Orleans, LA
17-Sep Eddie’s Attic Decatur, GA
22-Sep House of Blues Cleveland, OH
23-Sep Beat Kitchen Chicago, IL
25-Sep The Demo St Louis, MO
27-Sep Midpoint Music Festival Cincinnati, OH
1-Oct The Evening Muse Charlotte, NC
7-Oct Zanzabar Louisville, KY
15-Oct The Hi-Tone Cafe Memphis, TN
21-Oct Proud Larry’s Oxford, MS
22-Oct Duling Hall Jackson, MS
23-Oct Benny’s Boom Boom Room Hattiesburg, MS

American Aquarium – Two Nights in Texas

AA House of Rock

Corpus Christi on a Monday night ain’t easy. American Aquarium were rolling in after a nearly sold out Friday night, raucous, Houston show, a damn respectable Father’s Day show in San Antonio and Corpus Christi would certainly be a bust…Or would it?

American Aquarium tour parts of Texas that Willie hasn’t heard of. And this isn’t a Texas geography lesson but trust me when I say they drive the state in circles when they come here. Their commitment to Texas is deep and Texas has responded. I don’t know BJ better than I know my child, but I’m pretty sure I see him more than I do her.

Friday Night at the Firehouse Saloon in Houston was packed. It’s the kind of bar people think of when they think of a Texas country bar. Patrick Swayze works the door, Lone Star flows, and people two step to authentic Honky Tonk tunes. It’s THE goddamn country bar in Houston, Texas.

Corpus Christi is a city where the political elite plot to keep the status quo and the locals talk about where they’d rather be. House of Rock is downtown and the kind of authentic Rock club with edgy attitude and excellent pizza that every city needs. House of Rock is, hands down, my favorite place in Corpus Christi.

“Nights Like These That the Drugs Don’t Work!”…We decided to go front row in Houston. They played “Burn.Flicker.Die.” And bunch of other great shit. I’m sure it was epic as we were up front. I don’t remember it because I was a bit messed up. I bought a bunch of Merch so I’m pretty sure I was there. They tell me it was great. Let’s move on and talk about Corpus…

I texted my wife before the show at House of Rock, “If this dude behind me keeps talking like he has through the first two acts, BJ is going to destroy him from the stage. BJ won’t put up with that shit.”. He was the loudest person I’ve ever heard in an intimate venue. Like annoying “I hate this guy” kind of loud. American Aquarium take the stage.

AA SetlistEver heard someone whistle so loud in your ear you want to stab them with a kitchen utensil? Ever heard that in a small room made of stone with excellent echo and acoustics? Imagine that, but louder, and that was this guy. I have no idea how BJ didn’t tell him to shut up but he didn’t. The band started to find it pretty humorous. When they did “Betting Man” loud guy kept singing at the top of his lungs, “SteamBOOOAT!”. BJ said something to the guy to the effect, “One of our saddest songs and you are singing along like it’s Freebird or something”. The band just laughed about it. All in all, a pretty successful Monday night in Corpus Christi.

After that Corpus Christi show I am sure I’ve seen American Aquarium more times than I’ve seen any other band. They truly are the hardest working band out there and are one of my very favorite bands. Of course, they are well known around 9B and to 9B readers but if you haven’t had an opportunity to see them live you may want to remedy that. They are on tour now and will most likely be in your city soon. Our tickets are already purchased for when they return to Houston in October. They will always be a must see band for my wife and I.

(Writers note: I apologize not posting this a couple months back. Life and stuff. I will get back to writing for 9B on a more regular basis. Thanks to the 9B team for letting me take a hiatus these last couple months.)

Two Cow Garage, Benchmarks, Heathen Sons

I hit the road again for another fun filled night of great music and fantastic friends this time ending up in Nashville at The High Watt. This wasn’t a normal night at a random show as there were some of my best friends from St Louis and all over TN there for the evening which means i’m sorry for anyone around us be we were singing loudly and enthusiastically.
Starting off the night were the Heathen Sons who’ve been written up here before by our own Wolf and to say they didn’t disappoint would be an understatement. I’d given a few listens to their EP and while I liked it it hadn’t stuck out for me yet. This happens more than I’d like to admit and is one of the many reasons why I try not to miss an opener to any show if possible. You’ll never know the music that grabs you until you hear it live. This band is one of those for me while I enjoyed the record the live performance was just full of very different energy that myself and seemingly the rest of the crowd enjoyed. It’s slightly indie while still definitely southern and past that i’d just call it good. Basically check these guys out if they’re close to your town.IMG_3137

Just over two years ago Lucero played two nights in Nashville and on the first night I elbowed a kid in the head that turned out to be Todd Farrell Jr. which was the beginning of a helluva night. When I sobered up I remembered to check out Todd’s band and was very happy that I did as the then current release of Where Fake Cowboys Go to Drink has some great songs on it. After that background up next was Benchmarks formerly known as Todd Farrell Jr and the Dirty Birds which while not a bad name did not accurately represent what the band is doing today so they changed it. In the best way possible there’s no easy way to categorize this band as they’re at their core a great rock band who also pull in some country and punk sensibility while never committing fully to either of the typical interpretations of those genres. So I’ve seen Todd Farrell and the Dirty Birds before at their last CD release and that gave me high hopes for what i’d see this night. I was not disappointed as the band ripped through the most recent American Nights EP as well as some tracks from the previous two release and requests. By their own admission the band hadn’t played together in some time as Todd had been out on the road with Two Cow Garage and everyone else had other obligations but couldn’t hear that from the audience. The set closed with Pawnshops when even Todd had to acknowledge our awful but very enthusiastic singing. I’m not sure when or where you’ll be able to see this band but if/when Benchmarks or Todd solo comes close to your town it is a show not to miss and in the meantime pickup the EP and the previous releases.

I'm terrible at photos but this feature Micah guesting with Benchmarks on American Night
I’m terrible at photos but this feature Micah guesting with Benchmarks on American Night

Next up is Two Cow Garage who I first discovered when Please Turn the Gas Back On was reviewed on this very site and from then on has been one of if not my favorite band. I’ve seen them countless times over the years at shows that have evolved from me and the band to 20ish diehard fans to today when they’re able to draw sustainable crowds. It’s always hard to talk about  Two Cow and Charles Hale did a better job than I ever could breaking down their style, progression and songwriting here so read that if you want some deeper insight into the band. I will say that I think we’ll need to add a new volume to that talking about what Todd is bringing to the band today. On this night the crowd was mixed with people who were obviously there for the first two bands but still curious about Two Cow and then a section of long term fans myself included who were somewhat vocal. Two Cow ran through highlights from most of their catalog not really leaning to one record or another but including the current single Let the Boys Be the Girls and the upcoming Continental Distance. To the folks that have not see Two Cow recently or at all the band is elevated with the addition of Todd Farrell Jr. who to my seasoned but uneducated ears fills out the songs in general and replaces some of the keyboards from the records. I never write setlists or take notes but on this night I took three notes which consisted of this: the 4 way harmonies are amazing and really add something to multiple songs then the unbelievably quiet crowd during Shoulda California and Swingset Assassin which is worth noting as it demonstrates how much people were enthralled by this performance. I always say that i’ll never see a better Two Cow show than what I see in Little Rock at The White Water Tavern but this show has me starting to think that may not be the case. It’s hard to beat a night with great friends and fantastic music so this was obviously a good one for all involved. It’s hard to come up with a better live band than Two Cow Garage so if you have a chance to see it and miss them i’m sorry for you.

My favorite Two Cow Garage photos are always about interaction. I'm terrible at capturing it but there's this.
My favorite Two Cow Garage photos are always about interaction. I’m terrible at capturing it but there’s this.

Bikeriders 2015

Ben Nichols in Columbus, OH
Ben Nichols in Columbus, OH

For those unfamiliar with this tour for the past 3-4 years when Lucero has a tour break Ben Nichols straps his acoustic to the back of his bike and hits the road for a string of dates with tattoo artist Oliver Peck and a rotating group of other folks. These are solo shows staged in smaller rooms with local openers and therefore tend to be more intimate than the normal Lucero performance. I’m a diehard long-term Lucero fan and have been to previous incarnations of this tour so this year I made my way to the dates in Columbus and Pittsburgh and thought it’d be worth writing up.

I hadn’t been to Columbus since high school so I had no idea what this venue or crowd would be like and to say they were great would be an understatement. The show was at the Rumba Cafe which was sold out well ahead of time much to the dislike of the people I saw trying to buy tickets at the door. Lydia Loveless opened the show with an around 40 minute solo acoustic set that consisted of songs from her albums and Boy Crazy EP as well as what I think was a new song. She’s always great live but it was interesting to hear completely stripped down versions of these songs. The surprising part for me was that a lot of the crowd didn’t seem to be familiar with her at all and I would have assumed there’d be a large crossover with their fan bases. Ben was introduced by Oliver and took the stage at 8pm which seemed unnaturally early but the crowd was already sufficiently lubricated so away we went. I’d be comfortable saying that this was the best solo show of his I have ever seen because not only did he sound great and seem to be having a great time but the crowd was very into the whole set, singing along and still respectful. I don’t keep set lists as i’m too busy enjoying the show to write anything down but aside from the usual Lucero live favorites we were treated to some rarities like the Red Forty song Outsiders, Mine Tonight and songs from Nichols solo concept record The Last Pale Light in the West. Lucero has a new record coming out in September so we were treated to two songs from that record the first of which being Went Looking for Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles that despite only being released the week before the crowd already knew the words to and Young Outlaws which is full of references to Ohio. The show was over by 10pm which allowed for more drinks and eventual street tacos so yeah it was a good night.

We moved on to Pittsburgh which was a city i’d never even been to previously. The venue  called Club Cafe was even smaller than the night before and nice enough that I wondered if they knew what they were in for from the crowd. It turned out to be another fun but very respectful group and the only issue was that they ran out of Jameson before the night was over. The opening act was Paul Luc who arrived on his bike as well. He played a great acoustic set which given what i’ve seen online now seems to be unusual for him. Ben was up next and proceeded to run through a similar but still very different set from the night before which included the more “standard” live Lucero tracks and then also rarities like Hearts on Fire and closing with Joey Kneiser’s song Bruised Ribs. We were then treated to an encore or crowd cajoled last song of I Can’t Stand to Leave You which I don’t remember hearing live before often if at all.

In the end these are just fun fan friendly concerts with a chance to see and hear a performer in a way you’re not used to experiencing. The old Lucero website and message board were named LuceroFamily and that still holds true today. You meet good people, bond over the same music and have a great time. What else could you ask for?

Thanks to Jeff Scroggs for this video from Columbus

Two Cow Garage Tour Diary Part 4 – Todd Farrell


two cow last night

May 20
Last night was an interesting one. It was a good show, for sure. The crowd was obviously there for Tim, and only a few folks knew who we were going into it. It was a bit of a Tuesday crowd as well, took folks until the end of our set to really start making some noise (or maybe they were just liquored up enough by then). We all chose to wear Indy Pride t-shirts in response to the refusal of service deal the governor passed last month. Didn’t talk about it, just a little show of solidarity and support for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
We had a chance to hang out with Tim backstage a lot more than we normally do. He’s truly a unique and wonderful human. We all come from very different perspectives on things (bulk of TCG being from small Midwest towns, me growing up in Southern suburbs, and Tim from the South and being a train guy for so long). The way he speaks about the blessing of being able to play music lights a fire in all of us. “Do whatever it is you love to do, and do that until the day you die” is basically his life mantra. Live simply and love life. I like his outlook. What an inspiring human being.
I’d also like to highlight the #anonymoustourquotes hashtag on Twitter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. It’s a gold mine.
Chicago tonight. Looking forward to seeing my brother, Marshall.
May 21
I love Chicago. I love everything about that town, other than that the winters are emergency conditions. Gman Tavern is a gem of a place. We set up on the floor with our amps and drums on a riser like it was an old VFW show or something. The show was absolutely packed, and the crowd was great. One of the more fun ones of the tour.
It was great to see my brother, Marshall, as well. He’s lived in Chicago for about a year and a half, and I don’t get to see him much. He’s a big fan of the band (even before I was in it), and had a great time.
Tonight we’re playing at Off Broadway in St. Louis. I won’t lie, I’m nervous about it. It’s nothing on the venue, the city or the people in the city, it’s just a lingering scab that gets ripped off every once in a while when I think about what happened there. The aftermath was a truly beautiful and wonderful thing. I’d just love to not be put in another situation where that needs to happen. After the show, I think we’re going to end up driving for a good bit before staying the night. I’ll probably still take everything into the hotel anyway. It may be overreacting, but I feel like I’ll sleep better knowing my amp is inside the hotel room.
The local news has already started covering our return, so I think tonight should actually be a really great show. Here’s hoping. I hope I’m not writing bad news tomorrow.
May 22
All of our stuff was not stolen.
Also, St. Louis was a really awesome show. Off Broadway was a great venue with great people working there. Beforehand, a few local news agencies came and interviewed us (Murph), updating us about the theft. They left out the part how the police won’t return our calls, but at least they even wanted to talk. Must have been a slow news day. After the show, Shane, Micah and I played a few songs on acoustic guitars for the folks that stuck around. Then we got the hell out of that city to stay the night in an undisclosed location too far away from band thieves.
More cool hangs with Tim as well. He’s one of those guys who sees colors when he hears songs. Not like, mood or feel, but actual colors when he hears songs. He also doesn’t ever know what chords he’s playing. He taught himself how to do just about everything he does, and his perspective on it was interesting. I’m also a self taught, but I would seek out learning things from time to time, or learn other people’s songs, etc. Tim’s music is 100% natural Tim, which is pretty cool.
We’re driving to Louisville now, and it’s the last show of the tour. I’ve had a blast on this quick little run, and a little sad for it to be over so soon, but it’ll be nice to get back to Nashville for a bit to see my friends, my girlfriend, my dog (or really my girlfriend’s dog, but I consider her mine anyway). Last day of tour is always a little bit like the last day of school or summer camp or something. Well, I never went to summer camp, but that’s what I imagine it’s like. The excitement of getting home to sleep in your own bed and see the people you love, but leaving behind doing exactly the thing you love doing with people you also love is bittersweet. We’ll be back on the road again at the beginning of June out on the West coast, so it won’t be too long.
Louisville tonight at Haymarket Whiskey Bar. Last night of tour, hoping it’s a great one.
May 23
The Tim Barry/Two Cow Garage Midwest Tour is officially over. We’re driving back from Louisville towards Columbus (at which point I will get in my car and drive straight back through Louisville towards Nashville… poor planning). Last night was a great way to end it all. A bunch of friends came into town for it and had a great crowd.
After our set, I decided to let loose a bit and actually go into the crowd and watch Tim at as a fan. It felt great. He was such an amazing and inspirational person to tour with, and I hope we get to see him again soon. When we said goodbye to Tim, he said “see you tomorrow.” We wouldn’t see him tomorrow. He was catching a morning flight to Las Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling, and we were jumping in the van bound for Ohio. “I don’t say goodbye, I say see you tomorrow.” Cool.
Thank you to Gabe at Nine Bullets for letting me do this tour diary. It’s been fun to share a glimpse of our life with you guys, and I thoroughly hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. Hopefully one day I won’t be writing it on the notepad of my my iPhone and forgetting things and using terrible grammar and spelling (sorry, Gabe). Thanks to Tim Barry for bringing us out on tour and being an amazing human being. Thanks to everyone who came out, sang along, bought merch, bought us a drink, gave hugs and hang out. It means the world to us that people care.
We’ll be back on the road starting June 9, heading West.
“See you tomorrow.”
-Todd Farrell Jr.


Upcoming Tim Barry Tour Dates:
6/18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
6/19 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes
6/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
6/21 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
6/23 – Montreal, Canada @ Divan Orange
6/24 – Toronto, Canada @ Lee’s Place
6/25 – Buffalo, NY @ The Studio at Waiting Room
6/26 – Pittsburgh, PA @ 31st Street Pub
6/27 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel
And while you’re at it, pick up music from Two Cow and Tim Barry!

Two Cow Garage Tour Diary Part 3 – Todd Farrell

Matt Woods Two Cow
May 18
Great show last night at Zeke’s. First of all, it was a rock and roll BBQ joint, and the food was absolutely killer. I try to kind of eat somewhat healthy on the road, because it’s hard to not eat like shit every meal of the day. Shane and Ryan (Parker, our tour manager) try to eat decent as well. Murph teeters, and Micah lives on a strict diet of cheeseburgers and Little Caesars pizza. Everyone has their fix. At this place, however, I ordered something called “The Four Horsemen” which is basically four kinds of bbq on a hoagie. It was life changing.
Being at a BBQ place, we were a little nervous. We’ve done those shows before, and they can be a bit awkward. Playing to seated folks eating dinner isn’t really a Two Cow environment, and Two Cow isn’t really a listening room band. This place was different though. They got the tables out of there, set up the stage and a hundred or more people showed up at the door. All was wonderful, and it was a great show.
Our Detroit friends Jeremy Porter and the Tucos opened up, and they were absolutely stellar. Their new record is fantastic as well, and all should take notice of it. Wonderful band.
More friends were there as well. Matt Woods, Adam Lee and Jeremy Mackinder all played earlier that night and came to hang with us. Seeing other musicians out on the road is always something special. There’s a certain solidarity in the conversation. Always starts with the “how’s the tour, how are the shows?” talk, but quickly goes into the “how amazing is it that we get to do this?” Quickly. It is. It’s absolutely amazing.
Today we have a day off, so we’re driving to Columbus so everyone can sleep in their own bed (everyone but me, of course). Hoping to see Mad Max tonight. Indianapolis tomorrow.

[ed. note: the following is a note Todd passed onto me about music and musicianship, and I thought it would be a neat bit of inside baseball for you all to see]

We had a really cool discussion in the van today while driving to Columbus. Murph and I are probably the most “schooled” musicians in the band as far as music theory goes. He’s a horn player, so it goes hand in hand with that. I had two years in high school of theory, but I don’t really remember too much, and I never really applied it much to my guitar playing. Micah was a drum line guy in high school (and is actually an amazing drummer, for those who don’t know), and Shane basically learned how to play bass as they were recording Please Turn the Gas Back On. Shane brought up an interesting point though, that he had always listened to music as a songwriter as opposed to a bass player. Since he’s started to listen to music as a bass player, he’s improved, he says. I used to listen to songs as a guitar player, and as a songwriter second. In the last five years, it’s been the opposite, and I sort of abandoned improving at guitar. Being in Two Cow, however, has given me a new urge to get the books and scales out and REALLY learn how to play properly. Murph said the same thing. He’s been drumming for over half his life, but never really learned how to play drums. Rock and roll is a strange and wonderful thing where the emotion is more important than the technique. However, we all want to get better with the actual “playing” part. Murph and I both have this want to hit the books when we get home and really zero in on becoming GOOD players. We do this for a living, and we should take it seriously, we decided. For the first time ever, I want to go home and PRACTICE. Just some random van thoughts.

May 19
Today we found out that the Columbus Replacements show that was cancelled will have not be rescheduled. Two Cow Garage has been perpetually the band of “almost”. I think it’s part of the blue collar, working man charm the band has, but it’s definitely not by design. We were so excited about that show. It would have been the biggest show the band had ever played, opening up for THE band. The Replacements might as well be Led Zeppelin or the Stones. Not that this would have been our big break or anything like that. We know better than to believe that. It would have been a nice moment for us though, the type of thing you tell your grandkids about. Now it’s just another foul tip. Another “almost”. So it goes.
Indianapolis tonight. New day.

Tonight is the last show of the Two Cow/Tim Barry tour, so if you or your friends are in Louisville be sure to check it out!! There are still some more tour diaries on the way next week…

5/22 – Louisville, KY @ Haymarket Whiskey Bar
Upcoming Tim Barry Tour Dates:
5/24 – Las Vegas, NV @ Punk Rock Bowling
6/18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
6/19 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes
6/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
6/21 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
6/23 – Montreal, Canada @ Divan Orange
6/24 – Toronto, Canada @ Lee’s Place
6/25 – Buffalo, NY @ The Studio at Waiting Room
6/26 – Pittsburgh, PA @ 31st Street Pub
6/27 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel
And while you’re at it, pick up music from Two Cow and Tim Barry!