Jackie's band went out for a short run across west TX and NM, including my two favorite derelict hippie towns, Terlingua and Madrid. First of all, west Texas is massive and mostly empty, and for the last 45 minutes or so of the drive in to Terlingua, there's nothing on either side of the road but hills and bushes and shit. Just nothing. Love it. The Starlight is a really great venue, and we were greeted by a crowd of 30 or so teenage German camper tourists who stayed throughout the first set and bought a lot of merch. While the crowd thinned out a bit after that (rain storm + dirt roads = people get the fuck home), those who stayed were receptive and appreciative, which is, y'know, pleasant. We stayed in a one-room cabin on the outskirts of town, with no electricity or running water, which I initially thought was going to be god-awful but ended up being OK. Sat outside for a minute before going to bed, as big open clear night sky out there is one of my favorite things to stare at. Woke up in the middle of the night because Jackie went outside to pee and I saw her shadow through the window and was convinced she was a murderous bear or something. I don't sleep well in general, especially in foreign settings, so it's not uncommon for me to find myself in that weird half-sleep-half-awake state imagining all manner of strange shit. Anyway, no murderous bears after all, as is often the case.
Abilene was... well, it sure was. It's always/never reassuring to roll in to a 'jazz club' to find the sound guy blasting metal music over the PA (I mean, I dig it, but it doesn't bode well for the venue). There was one nice couple that sat near the front all night and really dug the music, along with a few regulars/townies and a fellow dressed as Jesus for an early Halloween celebration. Got some decent dinner comped from a food truck out back and called it a night... until there were these asshole kids at our hotel, running around the walkways all night banging on windows and shit. These kids today, with their hula hoops and their rap music, I tell ya. Get off my lawn.
Halloween show in Cloudcroft was better. First off, we played a festival in Cloudcroft last year and it's SUCH a pretty landscape. I didn't know there were trees in New Mexico until we hit Cloudcroft. Awesome mountain/forest-y scenery made my short list of places to crawl in the wilderness and die when the time comes. The Western is a decent little dive, and when we were hard-pressed to figure out costumes before the show, Mitchell and I came through in the clutch with Dollar General bedsheets aka 'ghost costumes'. Jackie, ever the artist, was a bit more creative, donning a truck-stop-bought parrot hat and calling the costume a 'parroty of herself'. Get it? There were some weirdos in the crowd, but most stuck around and dug the show... I hear there was an older-middle-aged lesbian couple flashing boobs during the set break costume contest, but I was outside at that point. Always missing the good stuff.
Madrid is a rad little town of, like, 200 people maybe, and I've been there several times with Jackie's band over the last couple years. Seeing as it was a Sunday night, and the day after the entire town had partied their collective face off for Halloween, attendance was a little light, but everyone in the room was great. Had a guest guitar player sit in for the last set who was also kind enough to loan us his house for the evening.
One last thing worth mentioning is that Jackie finally broke down and upgraded her tour vehicle. Since I started playing with her band in 2013, we'd traveled in her tiny SUV, but alas, no more -- now we were hitting the road in glorious GMC conversion van style. More than enough room for the trio, however, the van's maiden voyage was marred by a flat tire in New Mexico (manly stuff, changing tires, nailed it.) and hitting a deer on the drive home through middle-of-nowhere west Texas. The latter resulted in a thoroughly dented front end and demolished grill, but on the plus side, a kindly stranger stopped to help us out with our bent bumper, hooking a chain to his truck and bending that sumbitch right back out so it wouldn't fuck up the tire it had previously been mashed into. Deer are dicks.
10/29 Starlight Theatre, Terlingua TX
10/30 Neon Parrot Lounge, Abilene TX
10/31 Western Saloon, Cloudcroft NM
11/1 Mineshaft Tavern, Madrid NM