Midnight River Choir will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse on Saturday night.
By HAP MANSFIELD
It’s a weekend to appreciate things. It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and, Lord knows, she could use some appreciatin’. The first annual 72 Degrees Festival on Saturday is all about appreciating the San Marcos River, home brew and local music. Then, there is National Train Day, where we appreciate the trains that have been moving people and goods across this country for 140 years, transcontinentally speaking.
We could always stand to appreciate each other a little more, of course. The spring has been gorgeous, and we certainly owe the earth a bit of appreciation.
Here are just some of the many ways you can appreciate San Marcos this weekend.
Friday, May 7
Pitzer’s Fine Arts (13909 RR 12) in Wimberley has music and art on its patio every Friday from 5-8 p.m. There’s a $5 cover charge for the band. Light hor d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages are available, or you can bring your own bottle of wine and relax and enjoy the band. Lovely way to unwind.
Triple Crown’s (206 North Edward Gary Street) early gig features Darren Hoff and the Hard Times at 6 p.m. If Buck Owens had grown up listening to Metallica and Nirvana, then decided to play country music, he and the Buckaroos would probably have sounded a lot like Austin’s Darren Hoff and the Hard Times. There’s a nice hard edge of honky-tonk country to the band, with a peppering of rock. Well worth your attention.
It should be a lovely night to head down to San Marcos Plaza Park (205 South C. M. Allen Parkway) for the second annual Movies in Your Park Eco-Night. The event starts out at 6:30 p.m. with demonstrations and activities centering around recycling, conservation, sustainability and beautification. The night is hosted by Keep San Marcos Beautiful. It is also brought to you by the city’s parks and recreation department and Time Warner Cable, which means there’s a movie, and it’s a good one. The hit Disney film, “Up,” will be shown when it gets dark enough. Bring a blanket to sit upon and a sweater to warm you from the sweet, cool evening breezes.
Way back before “American Idol,” there was “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour,” which had more than 1,600 episodes on CBS. Ted used to pick the order of contestants by spinning a wheel and saying the somewhat famous phrase, “‘Round and ’round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows.” Ted could say that, were he alive today, at the Wimberley VFW Friday night bingo game as he turned the basket, but instead of discovering Pat Boone, Gladys Knight, Irene Cara or Anne Margaret, he’d be discovering a bingo number that could add up to prizes and fun. Added to the fun are the delicious concessions sold by the kindly hands of the Ladies Auxiliary. The basket starts turning at 7 p.m.
At the Wimberley Playhouse (450 Old Kyle Road), the Wimberley Players will present Eric Coble’s play “Virtual Devotion.” The play is a day in the life of three members of a shattered family trying to navigate a world of pollution, terrorism, and disease to make some connection through — and in spite of — their faith. The only-slightly futuristic satire will make you laugh and think. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.
A few years back, two 16-year-olds in Fannet, Texas, started up a band and named it after a Billy Joe Shaver song made famous by Waylon Jennings. The Slow Rollin’ Lows found themselves a bass player, played some gigs and cut a couple of CDs. It doesn’t hurt them any that lead singer Calvin “Pug” Johnson has a voice touched by that perfect Texas twang that breaks your heart or gets your feet to tappin’. Now, it’s one thing to have a heroes like Jennings and Shaver, and another thing to be able to deliver the goods, but you’ll see when the threesome plays Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102) tonight that they write and play their way around a good tune. They’re solid.
Forest Wayne Allen is one of those Cheatham Street finds that takes your breath away with fast-paced guitar work and rockin’ country-Americana songs. You’d be hard pressed to find another guy who works harder to write a good tune. He’s great, but what if, just by chance, you could see a gig with him and another really awesome artist like, say, the golden-throated Aaron Einhouse? Is it too much to ask for? Yes. But this is San Marcos, the home of musical dreams come true, and you can indeed see both of these sterling artists tonight at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street). Allen starts the bill off at 9:30 p.m.
If you haven’t already noticed, it’s a great night to see music in San Marcos, and the Triple Crown makes it doubly hard to choose who you’d like to see. Austin songbird Clay Nightingale, Bryce Clifford and Company and Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground will be playing what shapes up to be spectacular show tonight. Javi Garcia is one of the most intense, charming, hard drivin’ rock musicians you will ever see. There’s little bit of Texas country in him, but there’s also a whole lot of blues. Do not miss him.
Okay, all this Texas country rock is fine, you say, but where are the great glam bands, the T-Rexes and the New York Dolls? Where is the new Jobriath? Why can’t bands sound more like The Sweet? You just haven’t seen Chasca, which plays the Gray Horse Saloon (1904 RR 12) tonight. Chasca brings its own influences to the glam rock party, and it makes for a really refreshing musical experience amidst the cowboy crooning and the western swingers to see a band drape a feather boa over all the boots and spurs. The band is fun to watch and devoted to its craft.
Saturday, May 8
The morning’s activities start off at 8 a.m. at the San Marcos train station (338 South Guadalupe) for a celebration of National Train Day. Now, before you go gettin’ all sour about the many trains that cross your path on a busy day, remember that a freight train can move a ton of freight 436 miles on a gallon of diesel fuel. The train made this area a thriving and possible destination in the 1800s. Today, that is celebrated with speeches, proclamations, free train whistles, bike maps, mall coupon books and gift certificates for the purchase of train tickets.
At 9 a.m., get yourself a little exercise with the Boardwalk Hike sponsored by the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance and the San Marcos River Foundation. You can celebrate American Wetlands month and learn more about local wetlands and water. Remember to wear long pants, closed toe shoes and sunscreen, and bring a bottle of water. Don’t forget your camera, as the views are always sublime. Hikers should meet up at the Aquarena Center.
Just down the road a piece, in Martindale, is the first annual 72 Degrees Festival being held at Don’s Fish Camp (1005 River Road). The festival is all about music, home brew and the comfortable year-round 72 degree temperature of the San Marcos River, hence the name of the fest. There’s a pirate river race at noon, starting at Thompson’s Island in San Marcos and ending at Don’s. Then the Home Brew Contest starts at 2 p.m., when some of central Texas’ finest amateur brewers will compete with their foamy wares. The competition also will be the first meeting of a new Central Texas Homebrew Club.
At 3 p.m., the music begins and will continue until 10 p.m. Performers include The Beaumonts, Turbo 350, the Crystal Creek Boys, Halleyanna, Olive Street, Dead Phonetics, Ashleigh Stone, The Divine Authority, and Ashley Nicole Monical. For a listing of times for the bands, check on the San Marcos Local News Community Calendar. Admission to the event is a mere $10 and can be purchased at the gate. Bring your own tents if you want to stay the night, bring your own beer and prepare your ears for a night of unforgettable awesome Texas music.
Wake the Dead Coffeehouse (1432 RR 12) will feature the creative genius of local artist Sarah Stevens from noon until 5 p.m. today. You’ll get to see and buy her charming and original work. Wake the Dead has an awesome array of shakes and coffees and chai and sandwiches, too. Great place to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Tonight, the Starlight Symphony Orchestra presents its annual pops concert at the First Baptist Church in Wimberley (15951 Winter’s Mille Parkway). The program includes music from Twilight, Gladiator, John Williams movie music and works by Aaron Copeland and Scott Joplin. Admission is free.
The Wimberley Players will present “Virtual Devotion” at 8 p.m. tonight at the Wimberley Playhouse. The Coble satire may have you staring at your tapioca pudding a little differently. You’ll have to see the play to figure that out.
Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings will be reverberatin’ and a rockin’ with their signature blend of country and rockabilly at Riley’s tonight. They are the real rockabilly deal, more than a little fun to see. Riley’s, with its Texas roadhouse look and atmosphere, is the perfect setting for the band. Go, wear your shades and prepare to dance like Uma Thurman and John Travolta in a Quentin Tarantino film.
Triple Crown presents a formidable line-up with Lions, the Couch, Zlam Dunk, Shotgun Hustler and Pompeii. Shotgun Hustler was formed right here in San Marcos, and can bring the rock. Bring your earplugs for this one, and enjoy the buzz and beat.
Midnight River Choir creates an original blend of almost psychedelic rock and country that is both riveting and toe tappin’. The choir is enormously popular and one listen will make you understand why. There’s nobody quite like it, and that’s hard to do with the country genre. The players also can switch instruments with one another when they feel like it. They’ll play at the Cheatham Street Warehouse tonight.
Speaking of musicians who can play multiple instruments, how about we give it up for Amber Lucile, who can play bass and drums, in addition to playing lead guitar while singing in her clear, strong voice? Her band plays a bluesy southern rock with more than a hint of country. She will be at the Gray Horse Saloon tonight.
Sunday, May 9
It’s Mother’s Day and, hopefully, you haven’t put off getting her a card or some chocolates. But if you have, think ice cream. Take your mom to Rhea’s Ice Cream (318 North LBJ Drive) and treat her to a delicious flavorful homemade ice cream. Rhea’s is open from 1-6 p.m. today and almost everybody’s mom likes ice cream.
It’s supposed to be a little rainy today, so it’s a great day to cuddle up with a little satiric play like “Virtual Devotion” at the Wimberley Playhouse. The play will give you some food for thought, and it’s not just pudding and fast food burgers, although the play mentions those things, as well. The curtain rises at 2:30 p.m.
You could head down to the Geronimo VFW ( 6808 North SH 123) in beautiful downtown Geronimo for the Sunday afternoon dance starting at 3 p.m. The dance is a $5 benefit for the post. Klassic Kountry Gold will play its spirited and proficient country swing. The rhythms will force you to get up and do a little dancin’. Your feet will be hypnotized by the swing.
The sweet, dulcet tones of the Ash Family will grace the Cheatham Street Warehouse from 4-8 p.m. today. Nothing can lull the hours so pleasantly as the “First Family of Hill Country Music.”
If your mom always said you could be a famous singer if you wanted to be, you could prove her right (or wrong) by hitting an open mic tonight at Riley’s Tavern or Triple Crown. You could bring mom along and sing a little Karaoke at the Gray Horse Saloon, if you’d rather.
On TBS tonight, the mother of all blockbusters, “Titanic,” is on at 7 p.m. Frankly, we didn’t see the movie when it first came out because we were pretty sure we knew how it ended. The movie, however does have its charms in the forms of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Another great mother movie may be the Rosalind Russell/Natalie Wood tour de force performance in “Gypsy!” the story of burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee and her ambitious mom. Great music in that movie, too. It starts at 9 p.m. on TCM.
Or, maybe you could just do the dishes for mom. She’d appreciate that.