Monday, November 17, 2008


Friday night, my lovely wife and I are chowing a burger at a local eatery. She says, "You know, if we're planning on getting a new TV for Christmas, because I love you, I think we should get it before the Tech game this weekend." Ask and it shall be done. Saturday morning, before departing on a haul across the Corridor of Colorful Roadkill--the stretch from the Yellow to Tulsa, OK--we dropped in at the local Sears (because Wal-Mart only carries the basic level Sony because, well, they suck and don't feel their customers really deserve any more than the crappiest Sony that Sony makes...which, c'mon, it's still a nice TV...if you're blind and don't care) and picked up a beautiful new TV that makes real gangstas' TVs look like an Etch and Sketch. We toss it in the house and hit the the road at precisely 8:20AM for Tulsa. You might recall that I'm taking my lovely wife to see Amos Lee. Not that I'm just along for the ride necessarily, but I've been on an extended dry spell in live shows. I, honestly, haven't been to a show since Atmosphere and crew detonated Lubbock and that's been a far bit. Regretfully, of course.
And because I'm a crazy-great husband, I also agreed to dedicate some time turning over antique stores looking for a fixture for the new TV. We knew what dimensions and a ballpark of what we wanted it to look like. Other than that, we had about five and a half hours of road, two iPods (mine, of course, killing hers simply because it has 54 James Brown and the JBs tracks) and enough to discuss (leading the conversation with "is the penitentary system only a holding cell for people with really nasty head injuries?"--discuss and we'll reconvene later). Upon arriving in the budding metropolis of Tulsa, we were actually taken back by what the lovely city had to offer.
It's a dope place. Kinda reminds me of Austin as it's the "cool" to OKC's stuffy-Dallas-ish snootery. Accomodations were nice and centrally located and, thanks to the punk bartender who I asked to borrow his corkscrew at which replied, "You can't borrow it, but I can do it for you," as he glared at me and my bottle of cheap red wine for my lovely wife...the drinks were tasty. We did a little shopping at some local antique stores and this pretty fly consignment store. We walk up and the dude's col' blasting some Young Jeezy. I walk in wearing my Wu hoodie and he's like, "Aw, Wu Tang." Amazing that a single sweatshirt can basically break the ice wherever it goes. He throws on some Immortal Technique like full blast in this place while my lovely wife and I search his goods. Cat had some nice stuff, but nothing that we were looking for. We hit up this nice little bar down in the Brady district where we watched this cat Paul Benjamin play. He reeled me in with a cover of "Girl from the North Country" by Bob Dylan. Dude killed it. Had a couple of local IPA's and then we were on our way to the venue.
Amos was way nice. Very surprising. I guess I've just been listening to other stuff. He's mad decent and trucked through his set. Nice time was had by all except for a woman who caused a commotion and then people fled in different directions. I call a pool of puke. Guess she had the wrong idea about the Amos Lee show. I suspect she has the wrong idea about a lot of things. We wrapped up the show and decided to head up Main Street to the Cain's Ballroom which was where Bob Wills blew up and pimped the whole game. The Sex Pistols played there and, in fact, of the few places in the States where the Pistols played, the Ballroom is the only one still standing. Did you know The Outsiders was filmed in Tulsa? Yeah, didn't think so. Do the knowledge.
So we head up to Cain's and it's apparent by the sound from within that there's a show. Not really in the mood for a show, but rather just wanting to see what a "spring-loaded wooden floor" feels like, I kinda wander outside while my lovely wife walks right in. Through an open door, I see her waving me in. She tells me that the doorman said, "The bands almost done, ya'll just head in." And now, I'm wondering what that horrible moaning is that I hear coming from the stage. Turns out it's none other than the Plain White T's which I really have no interest in, but I like a good experience.
Buckle up.

So, we walk in to this huge space and I'm just gawking at the place because it's so insanely badass. It's this huge, dimly lit ballroom, a little dusty with these huge portraits on the wall of Bob Wills, Eddy Arnold and others. I'm just taking it in while the Plain White T's play another song off their new record that no one knows. I'm starting to watch the crowd and it dawns on me how incredibly sad this whole ordeal is.

The Plain White T's blew up around "Hey There, Deliliah" and, what happens when you write a song that basically exceeds you, people stand around with their arms crossed, sipping Pepsi all pissed off because you'll play everything in your reportoire except (and only except) the song that basically put you on the map. Hell, if they played it first, no one would've made it to the third song. Here they are playing to a bunch of radio winners--in fact, probably only a handful of kids paid to see that show. The owner's pissed because I was the only cat that bought a beer in probably the three hours they were open that night. You got some pissed off cat with his kid who just celebrated her sixth birthday sitting there yelling at Plain White T's, "Play the only song we know!"

To the Plain White Ts credit, they stuck to the gameplan. They didn't give in at all. They sat there and mowed clumsily through their set and their new songs knowing that knowing was paying any sort of attention. It was probably the most painful thing I've ever witnessed. Tom, the lead singer (Wikipedia, kid...Wikipedia), kept laughing between songs uncomfortably saying, "How about another song off the new record?" which was met with absolutely no applaud. Like he heard two thousand kids yell, "Hell yeah! Play something off the new record!", the band dives right into another song. Reality is he's dancing around on stage while only about 150 kids stand there in a pool of their own drool as their legs begin to bend and loosen in their excrutiating fatigue. After about two more songs, Tom salutes the crowd and says, "Tulsa, thanks for having us. Good night." They dash off stage.

And, yes, you guessed it, they come back out in like ten seconds. Seasoned performers wait like, at least two beers before hitting the stage again. Not the Plain White Ts. Like they couldn't wait to get it over with, the come bouncing back to the stage with guitars in hand and now these kids know they're gonna get what they're due.

A song about California.

At this point, you feel like the place is about to erupt. I'm thinking some kid just consumed in angst is going to burn the place down waiting to hear the Plain White Ts play "Hey There Latifah." Even Tom's getting edgy dropping the F-bomb on these poor kids. You can tell this gig is getting really old for him. It's like playing hard to get with the crowd and it's so juvenile and tiresome. The crowd is basically begging him (short of hopping on stage and playing "Deliliah" their damn selves) for one request so they can go home and he's like, "Ah wait, now. I got a song about the dentist office. I got a song about Canadian architecture in the 1920's." And, while tonight, he's trying to prolong his glory, he's trying to do the very same thing to his career. Just two more songs. Just two more songs.

You know, you'd think the dude would be grateful. I mean, how many dudes can claim they have a song that was number one in like twenty-something countries? If I were him, I'd come out and do fifteen different versions of "Deliliah" in under thirty minutes and then I'd bail. I'd do it for about a year, quit, own a pony ranch or t-shirt company and die happy and rich. Artistry just gets in the way. It's okay to pimp yourself. Everyone does it in the music industry.

He finally goes into "Hey There Deliliah" rather uncerimoniously. I would've been like, 'Alright, you morons, here's the freaking song you wanted to hear. I'm going to play it once and only once. You sit there and sing along like good little kiddies because it overwhelms me with a distinct feeling of accomplishment that otherwise I would not get to enjoy because I've failed at everything else in life. Sing along. Smile. Sway from side to side. Here's "Hey There Deliliah."' But no, he just goes right into it with barely an intro. I got near the door because as soon as he reached the middle of the song, I knew we'd need to split to beat the mob of kids sprinting out of that place. An interesting experience indeed. Cain's was badass. Would love to see Atmosphere there. Apparently they played there a couple of weeks back.

The next morning, we hit up Phill's just south of downtown where I feasted on two eggs covered in Tabasco, five slices of bacon, two helpings of hash browns, a biscuit and gravy and about six cups of coffee. I'd eat breakfast at every meal if it was available.

Before we hit the Corridor of Colorful Roadkill, we were still committed to hitting a few antique stores to see what we could find for the TV. We hit this district south of Tulsa where I picked up a Barry Manilow record and a Beach Boys record. No cabinet however.

We hit the highway, got suckered by Subway's $5 footlong offer only to find out the club is not included. Chow. Proceed to Weatherford. We see a billboard outside of Weatherford about an antique store. We hurry knowing that, on Sunday, if they're open, they're about to close because it's about 4:30PM. We hurry into this place and find the perfect piece with only five minutes to spare. It clears the back of the Honda by a fraction of an inch, but it fit. So we got the TV, the cabinet and the new Blu-Ray player in place all before Monday morning. Oh yeah, got the old Nintendo in too. Came to tears when I played Baseball Simulator 1000 on the wall.

Work always sucks after a vacation, but George sweetened it up by dropping off the introductory fitting of Sun Ra albums. Will get into that soon. Also, I got the freaking White Lightnin' record in. Tucker was first to listen to it. Am looking to get it converted to mp3 tonight and finish up the mix this evening.

Got to repair the track though once in digital form because the chump that I bought this from didn't let me know that he let his two-year old play with his vinyl. There's a huge ass crevace down the B-side of the record and, yes, it goes right through the one track that I spent $25 to get..."That's No Lie."

Regardless, I can work with it. Be on the look out for the De La mix. I'm listening to it right now and it's uncut dope.

Alright, The Root Down fans and readers, shirts are being made this week. They will cost you only $5 ($7 if needing to be mailed) and that's losing about $2 a shirt. It's a steal. Dude, I need to get in the freaking t-shirt business. They make some profit, geez. They were shocked when I asked if I got the screens when they were done. Whatever. They were nice, but I just don't trust their costs are equal to their output. We'll see.

I'm ready to make my prediction on the Tech game this weekend. Tech will win 56-45. Some cat online predicted that Oklahoma would win 47-37. I wasn't so confused by why he picked Oklahoma, but why he picked us to score 37 points. That's five touchdowns and a safety (safety not being likely) or four touchdowns and three field goals (three field goals even less likely). And he calls himself a sports writer. Dude, do you research. All you have predicted is suspect.

Stay up, folks.

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