Friday night ninebullets and Aestheticized are teaming up to bring Jon Snodgrass and Cory Branan to The Emerald for a night of loud music and whiskey. For yours truly, I’m viewing this as my official SxSW primer, so expect ridiculousness and I hope to see some of y’all out there.
Scott Harrell is a regular writer for many a publication here in the Tampa area as well as a member of Nessie, one of the opening acts Friday night. When he offered to write a piece about his experiences with Drag the River for ninebullets I was beyond flattered. It was one of those ‘ninebullets is starting to make it’ moments for me. Anyhow, I jumped at the opportunity.
Please enjoy his piece and come out to the show Friday night. I’ll let you buy me a “have a good trip” drink.
Drag The River: Thanks, Guys
by Scott Harrell
The first time we played with Drag The River, back in–shit, what was it, the summer of ’05?–I didn’t know much about ’em beyond the facts that Chad from All was in the band, and they played what some people were calling country. But that was more than enough to inspire us to connive our way onto the bill with them at the Uptown Bar, a place we weren’t convinced we wanted to play again unless we were pretty sure it was going to be a good night.
It was a good night.
Sold out. No AC. What had to have been 150 people crammed into a space only slightly larger than your average walk-in closet, sweating out the beer faster than they could get it into their systems. But it was one of those nights where everything came together, the people and the mood and the music creating a vibe that just absolutely defied everything boring and ordered and responsible about being an adult, just completely negated it.
I remember running outside to throw up from the heat the second we were finished playing. I remember helping clean Will Quinlan up in the ladies’ room after some lady punched him in the face. I’m pretty sure I remember Gainesville’s Enablers killing it–was that that night? But what I remember most is being mesmerized by Drag, who weren’t anything so conceived or put together as a bunch of punk dudes playing country music. It was so much simpler than that, it might as well have been elemental. They were just expressing themselves; they were just doing what they wanted to do, and getting off on it, and everything else in the world could’ve fallen away and it wouldn’t have changed a note.
A few of us rode to the after-party in the customized furniture truck that took the Descendents and All through God only knows how many miles of touring, and everything was perfect.
In the four and a half years since that night, we’ve had the honor of supporting Drag, in whatever incarnation happened to be hitting the road at the time, on a handful of other occasions. (The second most memorable involved Ybor City’s New World Brewery, Columbus, Ohio’s marvelous Two Cow Garage, and about 20 folks ganging up on the mics to cover “Can’t Hardly Wait.”) I wouldn’t say we’re tight or anything; maybe a few e-mails here and there during the months between shared bills.
Every time Jon or Chad or the whole band comes to town, though, they remember. They ask after common friends, joke about common experiences. As someone who’s opened for everybody from cult heroes to arena has-beens, I know exactly how rare that is, how easy it is to forget that opening act they played with in St. Pete, how all the past bills can run together unless you’re careful not to let it happen. And I appreciate it. It expresses the loveliest side effect of playing original music: the communities of lifers that coalesce around the love of tunes and bars and beers and laughter and drama. It reminds me that, while I write music because I’m driven to, the friends and times that come with it are often every bit as important to me as the words and the chords.
And it makes me love and respect Drag all the more–after all, they could’ve been assholes, and I still would’ve been blown away by the tunes.
Scott Harrell plays in Florida bar-rock act Nessie. They’ll be supporting Drag The River’s Jon Snodgrass and Cory Branan at downtown St. Petersburg’s The Emerald Bar this Friday, March 12 along with Pensacola foursome Deadly Fists of King Fu.