mexico

We took our first trip to Mexico recently, staying on the coast down akumal way, picture below. Tranquil hardly begins to describe it. Managed to swim with green sea turtles, survey some Mayan ruins, indulge a little in the local cuisine and just generally relax with family/friends. A great respite, returned refreshed to H-town, but ready to go back to Mexico asap, maybe Merida next time.

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flaming lips

I think we’ve seen more shows in Houston over the last three years than all the years previous. Last night’s performance by the lips was one of the most theatrical and enjoyable of all time; mac deMarco did a great job priming the crowd. We were delighted to find that Wayne Coyne was as charismatic and eccentric as we’d hoped, belting out most of the classics and a couple of newer songs as well.  The band also put on a spectacular light show, punctuated by plenty of vibrant and crowd pleasing props.

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wolfsburg

Alas the wolfsburg died as it lived- painfully. Exsanguinated on I-45 by a piece of it’s own undercarriage to be precise. Apparently some debris broke off a corner of the drip pan, which proceeded to rotate into the transmission like a buzzsaw. Nice.

There’s nothing quite like finding out that your expensive DSG transmission is toast, which happened for the first time during a snowstorm in PA at ~ 50k. To have it happen a second time with ~99k on the clock meant that it was time for the knackery. Here’s hoping that the new vehicle is less of a money-pit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look at some expensive mods for my wrx.

avett brothers

Per kind favor of good friends we were privileged to see avett brothers on the 18th down in sugarland. Energetic, touching show with a heartbreaking tribute to incredible talent chris cornell (a rendition of black hole sun). I fondly remember seeing avett brothers in ’07 during bumbershoot in seattle. Eddie vedder did a few surprise duets with crowded house, and I heard the shins live for the first time too. I digress.

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Still hunkering down. We’ve been touched by the outpouring of support last few days, a great testament the sincerity and love of our family and friends dispersed all over the globe. So far we’ve escaped the damage of Isabel in ’03 or the various blizzards we’ve experienced in the north east; we’re very grateful. A blessing to see the sun out and shining today in Houston. Below is an extract from one of my favorite conversations.

vacay in WA

After a successful day or so at Collision in New Orleans, we moseyed on up to Seattle for some R&R. Stayed first night next to the Safeco field, turns out the Mariners were playing that night. Enjoyed a meal in a raucous restaurant attached the SilverCloud, set out next morning for Pike place and provisions. The markets offered up a pleasant sensory overload. We picked up smoked salmon, hand made cheese, fresh donuts among many other items. Made the obligatory stop at the original Starbucks, ate at a Bavarian place that did a very decent breakfast.

On the way out of town, stopped by Mischief distillery in Fremont, for likely the best tour and tasting we’ve ever had. Our gracious host regaled us with the recent history, the sourcing of the (sustainable) rye exclusively from WA and area farmers. One of our favorite whiskeys was aged aboard a boat featured on deadliest catch.

From Fremont we drove out to snoqualmie in order to nerd out over the twin peaks revival, shot out that way. Stayed in the great northern hotel aka salish lodge, walking as much as possible over to the falls to take it all in. Supped on the salmon and other vittles from Pike place, washed down with Rye. Locals were accommodating and warm, especially in the town cafe(s) near the train museum and when making the obligatory stop by the double R diner in north bend aka twede’s cafe. Also managed to seek out the sawmill and a couple of other iconic locations.

Saturday we bid a fond farewell to twin peaks and drove on down to St Helens and the Cascades. Day was a little overcast (surprise!), the highest roads through the park still closed, but the cascades remarkable nonetheless. Shot over to yakima in the afternoon, took in the delights of N Front street including hop nation brewery, antolin cellars and 5 north for dinner. Our host Rob at the cellars was good enough to send us to the other destinations, including carousel for brunch the next morning, for quite literally the best pancakes we’ve ever had. Again the locals were extremely kind and forthcoming, especially over at hop nation.

Sunday before jetting back to Houston we took in Fremont and it’s market one last time, with final stop at our namesake, Brouwer’s cafe for the stout fest and the world’s best (lamb) shepherd’s pie. I did my best to put a dent in their extravagant and delicious list. Bliss 🙂 Thanks WA, you’re every bit as cool if not more so than CA.

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pixies @ white oak

We took in the Pixies on April 30 at the bucolic outdoor venue at White Oak, right after an enjoyable hour or so at raven tower next door. The seating on the green hill with resplendent view of the stage and city skyline was perfect, as was the generous set from the Pixies. They powered through all the classics, including my favorite Velouria, throwing in a few new tracks that were just as good as anything they’ve ever done. The Houston weather over-delivered, providing a dry, temperate evening that overall made for one of our most memorable outings. pixies

sleigh bells @ granada theater

We made the trek to Dallas last weekend in the wolfsburg with new front suspension, making the ride on 45 north out of Houston slightly less hazardous than usual. Upon arrival, checked into the beautiful Magnolia hotel, former home to the old oil company of the same name (that ultimately became Mobil), replete with exquisite tiled ceilings and décor, circa early 20C.  Our uber driver informed us on the way to the Granada Theater that lower Greenville is home to a not insignificant St Patrick’s day parade, confirmed on arrival by the swaying lime green crowds. Swell. Turned out to be quite a friendly group, we even made some new friends in the hours before the Sleigh Bells show. Euphoric is the only way to describe their performance,  one that still reverberates in the ears and gladdens the heart. So very glad we made the pilgrimage.

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brmc @ house of blues

Several years ago now we had planned to see BRMC at (what is now called) levitation, alas, fire ants and sunshine intervened; you can read about the details here. We finally made it to one of our favorite acts, who played house of blues nov 3. The openers included deap vally (also from LA) and death from above 1979. Both bands complemented BRMC well, deap vally in particular was a really pleasant surprise, we hadn’t heard them before. Picture below of Bec with the ladies. Reassuring that there’s still a few bands out there carrying the torch in the name of rock / good music in an increasingly bland / middle of the road musical world.brmcdv

the kills

As usual I’m a little slow to the punch, however we took in the kills a couple of months ago at the White Oak Music Hall. Was an absolutely stellar show from the consummate musicians and performers. With almost unbearable levels of talent and chemistry, one of the best shows we’ve seen, in Houston or anywhere else.

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