Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Good Friday with the Hacienda Brothers

If I had known it was going to rain like that on Friday, I would have never gone out. And as I tromped across Sundance Square in a torrential rain, I thought, 'I must want to see the Hacienda Brothers really bad.'

By the time I got to the McDavid Theater to pick up my tickets, I ran into a friend and talked for a minute and I started to feel glad I made it out. We talked about the McDavid Theater, which I had never been to. "They're trying to be like the Caravan of Dreams," he said. "But it's not quite working."

On my way out the door, I was behind these really cool looking Mexican guys, including this one vato with a porkpie hat, Fu Manchu goatee and an untucked plaid shirt. They were goofing around talking to this one guy with glasses. They were funny and I smiled but didn't want to appear to be listening in.

I had dinner with my family at Uno's (not my choice) and by the time we were done it was really raining. So I went back to the garage to get the truck, picked up my girls, dropped them off at the theater and parked the car again. Not great planning, and by the time my travels were over, I was fairly drenched.

But I didn't really mind. The McDavid space is nice. It's small, only a room for a couple of hundred and you sit at table rather than stand. Unfortunately, all of this really kills the energy. There's nothing for the band to feed off of because everyone is spread out and no one is moving around. And it didn't help that the crowd was, ahem, a little geezerly. I still haven't figured out what that was about. It's not like this was Lawrence Welk. And it's not like this is the Caravan.

But even though half the Hacienda Brothers were suffering from the death cold that's going around and Chris Gaffney was hobbled by a bad ankle, they did right by the crowd. These guys are billed as the first Western soul band, but they are really a jazz combo with a country-blues addiction. Everyone gets to take a solo and make a variation on a theme.

They opened with "Midnight Dream" and they seemed to be finding their bearings. Then for their second song, they played "If Daddy Don't Sing Danny Boy" which led to the coolest part of the night. "It was really important for us to play this date in Fort Worth because although this song is about Barry McGuigan, the guy who won the fight is sitting on the front row." Turns out the Mexican guy in the glasses that I saw earlier was Little Stevie Cruz, the Fort Worth boxing legend.

The set built up steam from there. Dave Gonzalez was absolutely blistering and Dave Berzansky is easily the best steel guitar player I have ever seen and he reminded me very much of Speedy West.

At the intermission, I got to talk to Dale Daniel briefly, and although I hadn't seen the guy in nearly 20 years, he remembered me and we had a nice talk. My daughter was very impressed. "Gee, Dad," she said. "You know all kinds of famous people." Well, not really, but Chris Gaffney did sign her hat.

Thanks for a great show and a great evening, guys. Even if we didn't see Steve Ray.

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