So The Hanna Barbarians got a van: a 2010 15-passenger Chevy. The reason? Oh, just a short but undoubtedly intense tour through Austin, Waco, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Nashville, and Memphis.
I know what you’re thinking. This is a bad idea. The thought of The Hanna freaking Barbarians, one of the best bands in Texas and also one of the drinkingest, piloting a massive vehicle across the great Southeast and playing shows without any adult supervision is enough to send even the least reasonable person onto his or her knees in prayer –– for the guys; their loved ones; the citizens of Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee; and for all of the innocent liquor cabinets and beer coolers along the way. But the Barbs’ Pop-Off Tour 2013 is different from what you might expect in a couple of ways.
For one thing, frontman Blake Parish, guitarists Alex Zobel and Kris Luther, bassist Christopher Evans, and drummer Brady Hamilton have never been on a tour like this, one that will keep them out on the road for an extended period of time and carry them onto several stages (and perhaps into some living rooms). The Barbs’ previous road outings have been merely weekend-warrior trips, which means the guys loaded up their cars, drove 15 hours in one direction, played a show, and then drove 15 hours back. For another thing, the guys believe the tour could be the start of a breakout year –– they’ll need to behave. Well. Kinda. “It’s really exciting,” Luther said. “All our ducks are in a row. … It’s good. We’re moving forward.”
If the tour is the last duck, the next-to-last would be Spaceway Sessions Vol. 2, the band’s second and perhaps final installment in a planned series of EPs recorded with producer Will Hunt (Burning Hotels, Holy Moly, Amy Lee/Evanescence) at his Spaceway Productions studio downtown. (Since there has been some turnover in their ranks, the Barbs are reconsidering the serial-EP approach.) The three-song disc will be released officially at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666) on Friday, when the Barbs play with Denton’s The Birds of Night and Leopold & His Fiction, a national act with which the Barbs will share the huge Austin venue Stubb’s during the tour.
Austin, in fact, is the only city on the parade route where The Hanna Barbarians have played before. They’ve never even been to New Orleans, which is semi-astounding considering how well their Southern-fried music and wheels-off personalities would work there and the amount of voodoo in their tuneage, particularly on the Vol. 2 tracks “Marie Laveau” and “Oh, Spirit,” a glorious, epic slow-burner with sumptuous backing vocals from Fort Worth’s Christa Russell. “We’ve been at a turning point,” Evans said. “This is really good. It’s been amazing, getting everything together.”
Cover to the Lola’s show is $10-14, and the first 100 attendees will get a free copy of Vol. 2.
Evans noted that while on tour his band will play one of Men’s Health magazine’s best bars in the country.
Men’s Health? So the place must be a smoothie bar and everyone will be drinking fruit smoothies, right?
“Yeah, smoothies,” he said, “with whiskey in them.”
Most Excellent Fest
Talk about a house party. From 3 to 9 p.m. on Saturday at 1116 Hawthorne St. on the Near Southside, Most Excellent Fest offers nearly a dozen out-of-town bands plus locals Cleanup for the eye-popping price of $0. Bring your valid ID for free beer from Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing Company and Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub. Catering will be provided by Taco Heads. Featuring headliners Deer Vibes from San Antonio, Hikes from Austin, and Sunrise and Ammunition from Houston, the show is all ages.
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