Walking home in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I checked the time on my phone. It was 4 a.m. Christ, I said to myself, I’m getting too old for this shit. Indeed, I had turned 33 on Thursday, commencing my celebration with lunch and beers at Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill downtown. Next was Finn MacCool’s for pints of Rahr’s Summertime Wheat before I walked home for some front-porch time with the bottle of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel that my little brother had sent me. And on and on the party train chugged until Sunday, when I didn’t even want to see alcohol, let alone smell it, least of all drink it. But I had a gig that night, and the last time I played a show sans booze — eh, I don’t know what happened. It’s been a while, and it was probably boring.

Truthfully, after all that partying, all I really wanted to do Sunday night was rip a bowl and watch Game of Thrones. But have bass, will travel, so play the gig I did. The bill consisted of Darth Vato (my old band reliving the glory days) and Pablo & The Hemphill 7 at Spencer’s Corner. When I booked the show a month ago, I was really looking forward to it. Of course, with my typical lack of foresight, I didn’t think about the physical effects of a four-day bender, nor did I consider the mental wear and general melancholy intrinsic to mid-30s birthdays. Though worn the hell out, I loaded the car and hit the road. When all was said and done and we’d played, packed up, and gone home, I was reminded that music is almost always therapeutic. I also got to waste a third of our set time making poop jokes about Bonnaroo, and that was nice, too. And, really, you have to work hard to have a bad time at a PH7 show, so my birthday malaise pretty much melted away.

After the show, I came home and watched Game of Thrones’ season finale, which I recorded. If you’ve read George R.R. Martin’s novels (I devoured them) or watched this show, full of swordplay, maidens, knaves, castles, and wizardry, you know that the series is not particularly sunny. The episode’s end sent the principals moving further into their respective arcs; for most of the Thrones characters, the future is uncertain, but they seem to have a bit of hope and purpose saved up for their next moves. Reflecting on the best-laid plans of the show’s proverbial mice and men, I figured my haggard birthday closed one chapter of my life and pointed me in my next direction.

Or at least to some new bars. –– Steve Steward



Last Call

Speaking of “new” bars, I found a really great old one the other day while picking up a bunch of lights and cables and shit in Benbrook. Headed north on Hwy. 377, I saw a sign. Not just any sign mind you — this one actually read “Last Call.” Now that’s the kind of coincidence I live for. This particular omen advertised a long building covered in well-intentioned murals of a woman wearing Daisy Dukes and Stevie Ray Vaughan wearing his trademark blooze-grimace. In this space, formerly occupied by J-Z’s R&B, the scene was alive and kicking. Or at least as alive and kicking as a Far Westside carpet-bar can be at 3 in the afternoon. About a half-dozen regulars sipped suds under the glow of beer signs and the eternally vigilant gaze of a taxidermied bobcat, lazing on a shelf above the shuffleboard table. White-and-blue wood siding covered the walls, and one of the nicest bartenders I’ve ever met asked me about my day. A man and a woman shot pool behind me, while the old guys down the bar complained about Facebook. I learned that it’s reprehensible for a kid to make billions of dollars and that “those fucked-up social networks” are only good for keeping up with your grandkids. I might be sore about being 33, but it’s one year closer to being totally crochety, and I can’t wait. I paid my tab and left before they got started on “that tweeter thing.” –– S.S.


Gear Thieves: Hell Awaits

If you’re the sort of person who occasionally glances at Blotch, you’ve probably learned how the great guys in best new band nominee The Apache 5 got the bulk of their gear stolen on the eve of their CD release party at The Where House last weekend. Those despicable, grandkids-connecting social networks have been afire with fan/friend support and Re-Tweets of the list of stolen equipment (including some of my own, though I’m not in the band). In acts of goodwill, 50 percent of the sales of Phantom Caste’s new, eponymous, space-rocking CD will go toward the 5 ’til the end of the week –– just something nice that Phantom Caste thought to do. And 10 percent of bar sales Thursday through Saturday at The Moon (2911 W. Berry St., by TCU, 817-926-9600) will go toward the afflicted band. So do the poor guys a favor and buy a Phantom Caste CD (you won’t regret it) and also swing by The Moon at some point between Thursday and Saturday. Drinking/rocking for charity? A capital idea, I say. –– S.S.


Contact Last Call at

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