I drove with my husband, a teacher at my school Jenny, and her husband Steven, to New Orleans early Sunday morning. We got there Sunday evening, checked into our hotel, grabbed some food at Pat O'Brien's, and then went to the Flogging Molly concert at the House of Blues. It was fantastic.
If you've never been to a concert at HOB, I highly recommend that you go next time a decent band is playing at the one in your area. They are a great venue, with good acoustics, and good crowds. I really loved the FM concerts at the one in Chicago and the one in New Orleans. Anyway, the first warm-up band was different from the previous one at the Austin concert. They were called The Cherry Cokes and they were this incredible band from Japan that played punk Celtic music, not unlike Flogging Molly's sound. I just loved them and ended up buying their cd and getting the whole band's autographs on the front. They didn't speak much English so it was funny when they started talking between songs.
The second warm-up was Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band again, and I really enjoyed them again, especially Washboard Breezy. It was fun to hear songs that I remembered from the first concert. I especially like My Old Man Boogie, and Mama's Fried Potatoes (you think your mama makes better fried potatoes? Well let me ask you this: Does she have a song about them? No? Then I think it's settled.)
And of course Flogging Molly just completely rocked the whole night. They played Selfish Man, The Likes of You, Salty Dog, Swagger, Tobacco Island, Within a Mile of Home, Whistles the Wind, Drunken Lullabies, What's Left of the Flag, Rebels of the Sacred Heart, If I Ever Leave this World Alive (mine and Jordan's song), Devil's Dance Floor, three new songs from their awesome new album (Requiem for A Dying Song, No More Paddy's Lament, and Float), and then a mostly-accoustic version of Black Friday Rule for the encore, with Seven Deadly Sins as the final song of the evening. I will have to ask Jordan, I think they also played Screaming at the Wailing Wall but I'm not sure.
Near the end of the concert I almost made it to the front row, and I was literally about 4 inches short of getting the playlist for that evening. It is a tradition that they give it out at the end of each concert, and Jordan has one from their Green 17 tour in Chicago a few years back. It would have been cool to have another one though. Four inches too short!
The next day we toured around New Orleans the next day (Monday) and I really liked the city. It was very laid-back. We did a little touring and a lot of shopping and window shopping. At one point we went into a hat store with no intent on buying anything and each of us bought new hats. They all looked pretty awesome on us. Jordan got a pinstriped fedora that fit him (XL) so it looked really good, all the other fedoras he has tried on in the past have been too small so they didn't look quite as good. Plus, I really like the pinstriped ones. Jenny got a hat that sort of looks like something a female hip-hop singer would wear. Here, I found two pictures that sort of fit what it looks like. The first picture is about the right brim size and about the right poofiness of the hat when it's on your head, and the second one is a little more what it looks like except it's black. It looks fantastic on her. Her husband got a flatcap, and it really looks good on him. It's got a stripe down it that makes it look kind of like a golf cap to me, but it still looks good on him. And I got a Greek fisherman's hat. I looks like the back hat only gray, and all three of the others said it looks really good on me. I am glad they were there, as I was inclined to get the darker colored one, but they all said the gray was more flattering.
We also ended up taking pictures of each of us mimicking the poses of different statues around. It was really fun and we're going to make a collage of all the strange pictures. For lunch that day we walked until we found a restaurant that sounded good and served po'boys. It was called The Coffee Shop, or something like that, and next to our table on the wall was a painting someone had done of the interior of the restaurant with servers and customers. No kidding, our waitress was the same waitress wha was in the picture! I had an oyster po'boy, and it was amazing, too.
Near the end of the night we had dinner in Margaritaville, and three of us got a drink called "Incommunicado" and they were strong and good! We debated going the cheap route and drinking in our rooms but I never really did much of the bar scene and I wanted to drink out so we planned to do some bar hopping. Jenny actually insisted that if we did bars she wanted to only do one drink per place. The first place we decided to try was a bar across the street from Pat O'Brien's called Finnegans, and there were only a few tourists in the bar but because it wasn't on Bourbon Street and it was also a Monday, the bar was mostly quiet. In the back there was this little courtyard, and we got some drinks and enjoyed the atmosphere so much we decided to stay there for awhile instead of going around. I had a beer and then switched to White Russians, which our bartender made almost double the size of a normal one. We played cards, and Jenny made up a drinking game that seemed to benefit her the most. I also smoked a couple of Steven's cigarette's, because when I'm drinking with people who smoke I tend to want to smoke, too. I never really have a desire to otherwise. At around 12 or 1 we felt like going back to the hotel, so we picked up some Heinekins and went back to the room and spent some more time together, and went to bed around 3am. I didn't switch to water early enough so I got a little bit of a hangover the next morning, but it slowly went away over the course of the day.
I forgot two big things from Monday! We took a mule drawn carriage tour of the French Quarter, which was really fun with a great guide, and that evening we went on a very cool Ghost Tour of the quarter. Our guide was more historian than campy tour guide, and we got a lot of history and architechtural facts mixed in with the ghost stories. It was a really interesting tour, and we found out that the hotel we were staying at was, in addition to being a hospital during the Civil War, also haunted and had a problem with maids thinking that they kept seeing bloodstains on sheets. Creepy. Also, I just remembered that on Sunday night after the concert we went to the Cafe du Monde for beignets after the concert. They were really, really good.
Anyway, after the night of drinking and debauchery (ok just drinking), we drove to Houston for our second concert. We had pricelined our Houston hotel and we were staying at the Hyatt. It was really nice, even though in Chicago I've probably stayed at nicer for cheaper (in downtown Chicago you can seriously priceline a four-star hotel for $65 a night). But it was really nice. We didn't share a room this time and that was kind of nice too. Steven didn't go to the concert that night because he wasn't quite as big a fan as Jenny and ended up opting out. He had planned to try and visit a relative but that didn't work out so he pretty much bummed out at the hotel (but enjoyed the relaxing). Jenny, Jordan, and I went to the concert. The concert itself might have been better than New Orleans, but overall the experience wasn't, in my opinion. The crowd in Houston was younger overall, with lots of high school age kids there. Yes, I said kids. I'm old dammit! Anyway, the crowd was just not as cool as the crowd at House of Blues. Dammit, I keep forgetting things! Back to the first concert--when it was over, we hung around a bit and one of the guitar players (the bass player I think) came out from the stage and was hanging around on the floor with the fans. He was pretty drunk but I got his autograph anyway. Also, the accordian player was out at the foot of the stage giving autographs. By this time, also, only about fifty fans were left in the building so it was really not too crowded to try and get signatures and they were just chatting with the fans and stuff. Then, on our way out, near the exit one of the other guitar players was also signing autographs. So, we met three members of the band and got three more autographs (Jordan already has one guitar players autograph). Oh, and when we were in line to get into HOB, Dave King walked right by us. Seriously, just walked right down the line.
Anyway, back to the Houston concert. The warm up bands were great again, and people really liked the Cherry Cokes (they actually went "awww..." when the lead singer said "last song"). But the funny part was when Flogging Molly came on, said "1-2-3-4!", started to play, and only the violin could be heard! They all stopped at different points and Dave asked "It is April Fool's Day? That was pretty fucking anticlimatic, wasn't it?" Then it was fixed and they played great to make up for it. Their part of the concert was great, like I said, but there were some pretty crappy audience members out there. One lady moved in front of me and was trying to get in front of Jenny, but Jenny wouldn't move, and finally she asked Jenny "can I get in front of you?" (Jenny was in like the third row at this point and she was trying to get to the front row) Jenny said "where are you trying to go" and the lady motioned to the front of the audience, and Jenny was so great, she said "Nooo...I want to get up there too." So the lady was mad that Jenny wouldn't let her in front of her, and she ended up staying in front of me, keeping me and Jenny separate for a few songs, which kind of pissed me off. I asked her right after Jenny turned her down, I said, "Hey, I'm with her, can I get back up to be next to her?" and she said "Yeah, if she let me in front of her." At one point the crowd shifted and Jenny got a little closer to the stage, so she grabbed me and pulled me up behind her. Pissed of that lady, who was now between me and Jordan. At the next big moshing song there was enough movement that I pulled Jordan up behind me and it pissed her off enough that she finally left. But, that's what I meant by stupid crowds. At the end of the night, Jenny actually ended up in the front row, and she got some great photos and even took a little bit of video without gettig caught. It was pretty awesome.
After the concert ended, we shook hands with some of the band members again and got cd's and autographs of all the members of the warm up bands, and then went back to the hotel and hung out for a little bit in Jenny and Steven's room, watching the video and looking at Jenny's pictures from the trip and the concert. Then, today we packed up and drove back to Austin. I am a little sad that it was over, but only because it was so awesome of a trip. We definitely get along really well with the Clifton's and that is really cool. We're actually thinking about a trip to St. Louis with them this summer, so that's something to look forward to.
Well, I think I got most of the important stuff in here. Overall, really, really great time and a well-needed break. And the bonus is that I still have time before I have to be back at school!