The Connection to Cowtown
I don’t know about you, but, to me, names are very important. Call me uppity, but I’d be hard pressed to see a band called Morbosity. I don’t know anything about them, but every time I read that name, my brain reflexively shifts the second vowel to a long “e.” The resulting mental picture leaves me in stitches.
I bring this up because Morbosity is playing a metalfest soon at a place on Alta Mere called The Connection. When I first put those two facts together, I immediately assumed The Connection was probably some kind of teen center or rentable venue with an unfortunately vague name bestowed upon it by a well-intentioned organizer.
Of course, I was totally wrong. It turns out The Connection is just another lovable dive on Alta Mere, one I’d seen several times before but never visited. Moreover, it’s actually called The Country Connection.
I had planned to check it out on Saturday, just to know what I’d be getting into at the upcoming metalfest. A band called the Beer Gnomes was scheduled to play – a comparatively rad name that made me even more curious. Unfortunately, I ended up having a Wild Turkey dinner in the early afternoon and that evening wobbled only as far as the Chat Room, to see The Great Tyrant, a massive slab of hypnotic doom-metal.
So it was around midnight on a Monday night by the time a friend and I rolled up to The Connection. On the sign outside, the “Country” part was gone. Maybe the owners thought deeply and decided “Country” was too limiting. Maybe it just fell off. Whatever. We saw a big building with a small patio and a neon light indicating it was open, so we headed to the door. It was locked.
As I pointed out in last week’s column, plans are made to be broken. We went down the street to the Cowtown Sports Bar, which is possibly the brightest bar in the world. If you’re ever being chased by a vampire, I suggest hiding there. The UV rays blasting down on the bar area will reduce any bloodsucker to a pile of ash or at least give her a tan.
I’d be lying if I said I had a good time. Oh sure, the bartender was nice, and the rather intriguing menu offers something called a “hog wing.” The nice bartender suffered my stupid questions with appropriate patience, and she even smiled occasionally – I just didn’t dig the vibe. The combination of the bright lights, bad music from the jukebox, and more bright lights totally killed my urge to get drunk. Yet I’ll probably go back. The menu deserves a second glance and, based on some of the other, tantalizing offerings, could be a contender for Best Bar Food in our annual “Best Of” issue. And, anyway, Metal Fest at The Connection is coming up on March 6, and there’s bound to be enough awesome and awesomely named bands there to send me scurrying for a nearby place to hang out in. – Steve Steward
So Long, “JJ’s”
I’m the first to admit that I didn’t frequent J&J’s Blues Bar in recent years and probably took it for granted. Don’t get me wrong. However, when I was younger, I had some great times there. So a few weeks ago, when the long-standing blues bar announced it was closing its doors for good, I felt obliged to go pay my last respects.
My band had a gig earlier that night, so I wasn’t able to make it there until just after midnight. The parking lot was packed, and my gal and I were treated to a guy urinating onto the street. He was facing us – he looked like one of those fountain cherubs that piss water but was taller, fatter, and had a beard.
Inside, the place was jumping. The dance floor was packed with couples doing this thing I like to call The Overbite, which mostly involves biting your bottom lip and swinging your arms in time. Surprisingly, it didn’t take that long to get a beer. Even more surprisingly, it didn’t take too many beers to get my gal pal and me onto the dance floor. Of course, having blues impresarios James Hinkle and Elvis T. Busboy jamming with the lads from Latin Express onstage made it impossible not to cut a rug. In no time I was flailing along to the up-tempo blues-y magic. My bottom lip still hasn’t fully recovered.
I took one last forlorn look on my way out that night. At the risk of repeating a cliché, I felt pretty darn blue about the prospect of this city without that place. Then again, I often confuse sadness with hunger. After eating my body weight in Fuzzy’s tacos, I felt OK about the world again. — Eric Griffey
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