Toward the end of Saturday, Holy Moly frontman Joe Rose looked out from the stage into the crowd at The Aardvark, pointed a tattooed finger in the air, and yelled, “We’re Holy Moly, and we’re from this motherfuckin’ town!” And then he and his band launched into “Hardcore Werewolf,” causing the spot in front of the stage to swirl in a circle of swinging elbows and bellowed lyrics. For those keeping score at home, the only mosh pit on West Berry Street happened in front of a band that has zero electric instruments.
I think. Memories are spotty, and mine probably looks like the back of Angela Lansbury’s hand. And anyway, it was 2 a.m. — details are always a little fuzzy at 2 a.m. Nevertheless, I do recall getting a little nostalgic — I probably was standing in the same spot (stage left, three quarters of the way back) at Holy Moly’s first show back in 2005 — because I’d also played at the nearby Moon right before popping into the ’vark, and I bartended there on Friday.
You might say Berry is where I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life. Oh sure, I’ve had jobs and apartments, but I’ve been hanging out near TCUland in various capacities for a decade. I like going into The Aardvark and perusing the gig posters plastered above the bar, because it’s like visiting a cemetery where nobody really cries about the deceased. The posters are headstones for the local bands of yesteryear. If you go into Spencer’s Corner, you’ll see a similar thing, with photos of all the bikini contests from its forbear’s 1970s heyday — obviously, I wasn’t around then, so The Aardvark’s memorabilia from days gone by mean a lot more to me.
But what of The Moon? Sure, I’ve hung out at the ’vark for a long time, but I practically lived at The Moon, at least since Chris Maunder bought it from The Aardvark’s Danny Weaver in 2003. (Or was it 2004?) My bands have played The Moon since then, and I worked there for four years, so the joint has sentimental value. When Maunder remodeled the bar in ’07, I took home one of the glass bricks that made up the bar, back when it was over on the south side of the room. I don’t know what kinds of souvenirs will be left when he moves the club to the Ridglea-plex. I guess that’s what made the Moon-shift I picked up on Friday night more than just some money in my pocket.
I hadn’t been behind that bar in nearly a year, and it was sort of funny walking in there last Friday, because things that drove me crazy for years had been inexplicably fixed — the computer never balked me, the lids to the beer cooler didn’t stick when I slid them back, the drafts poured smoothly — it was like the bar itself was stepping up its game. By the end of the night, the muscle memories of opening bottles, dunking pint glasses in the sink, and counting tips on the back bar made me feel like a million bucks. Or a couple hundred anyway. When The Moon moves across town to Camp Bowie, there might not be any physical reminders of the bar that used to be. On Friday, I was happy to grab a mental souvenir. –– Steve Steward
Beery on Magnolia
In other fill-in news, last weekend’s Arts Goggle gave attendees a great peek into what’s happening on the Near South Side — and what’s happening is a lot of new bars. Zio Carlo is finally open. Though the Italian brew pub has yet to brew its own, uh, brews (the owner is waiting on some permits), the ones on tap (including Jester King’s Drink’in the Sunbelt Wheat) aren’t too shabby.
One of the focal points of Arts Goggle was the Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge. At this stage, the joint is little more than an empty warehouse, save for an in-progress mural by Where House painter Jay Wilkenson. Proprietor Bill Smith had some blueprints available to fire up the public’s imagination, as well as free kegs of Sierra Nevada and Fireman’s 4. Oh, and there was art, too.
West of Live Oak is another nascent watering hole, The Boiled Owl. If you’ve seen the sign and gotten curious about the name, it’s derived from ye olde English — apparently, getting “boiled as an owl” means you’re totally drunk. Possibly from drinking, well, Olde English 800. The Boiled Owl is hoping for a late-November launch, and from the description one of its owners gave me, it sounds like a great place to get hard-to-find bottled beers. You’re on your own for the old gold. –– S.S.
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