Saturday March 19 brought Warrant, Slaughter and Firehouse to a club in Grapevine Texas; Glass Cactus. I could not possibly miss a chance to see these so called 80’s hair bands perform in a small venue.  First about the venue, this is one of the best venues out there if you are into the whole ambiance thing. If you are into the rock and roll music lifestyle, not so much.  This is a club on the shores of Lake Grapevine. The deck has a 270 degree view of the lake. The clientele tends to be a bit swanky. The pure reason my concert friends will attend an event here, no matter who is playing. OK.  More wine, and I will continue. For $25, I could not resist seeing this line up. I do not have the issue of the venue.  I actually like it alot. It holds about 1500 in total.  Regretfully, it doubles as a younger peoples club after the concerts, so young assholes begin filling the place and a DJ takes over playing black music that whites try to imitate to think they are black.  Ugh

Firehouse (click on link for website)

Not a whole lot of people know this group. I have three CDs from them.  I love them. Lead singer CJ Snare has one of the best set of pipes in the industry.  Tonight however, I was quite disappointed.  The mix was not good. The sound was muffled as much too much bass….Snares vocals were not featured by the mix. Clearly, for the most part, he still can sing to the years of when they were most popular. He did go the low route on one of their mellow hits “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, a ballad that features his voice and changes keys for the higher at the end.  He ducked back at this point and went an octave lower, a true sign that a voice is tired. The band was fairly tight. They played an hour and addressed all of their “hits” such as they are.  Overall, they disappointed. The sound mix and a fairly rigid performance stole away the opportunity to establish a bond in a smaller club setting.

Slaughter

Slaughter (website under construction, so I do not put a link here)

This is one of my daughters favorite bands of the 80’s (daughter is 23……..loves the bands).  I am with her. They had two songs that made great radio airplay.  The group is headed by a dude named Slaughter, and I am not sure if he just rents the rest of the players from the session pool. But the music, (look folks, you need to look beyond the “hits”) is great. The group puts on an energetic show. Slaughter has packed on a few pounds. 15 maybe. So he does not have the sex appeal he once had (according to the daughter….get real you homo phobes), but he still commands a stage in a very singular manner. He has a very screeching voice (just Google slaughter fly to the angels….you will recognize the song). The band is very tight. The mix was on.  They made Firehouse look like they needed to drop off of this tour.

Warrant (Click on name for website)

So let me begin by saying that this is the 9 time seeing Warrant. Warrant is a 80’s ahri band that had a cadre of hits topped by a top five single; “Heaven” . The lead singer and primary writer was Jani Lane. The problem here is that Lane is bestowed by demons of multiple varieties. He is bipolar.  He is an addict. He is a talent that wastes his life away.  I have seen Warrant 6 times with Lane, 3 without.  In all times past, I thought the group sucked without Lane.  The problem is, they sucked with him as well. The last time I saw Lane with Warrant was when my daughter and I attended a one time festival in Houston called “Rock The Bayou”. Lane sucked. He sabotaged the performance of the other Warrant original members (one of the few groups touring today who are all original….sans Lane now). My daughter loves Warrant, the good Warrant when they are on.

So I was a real skeptic to see Warrant with yet another lead singer. All prior editions failed fairly miserably. I did not even get the name of the current singer.  Did not care. Figured they would suck as usual.  But after listening to them, my questions is Jani who? This dude had a voice. Yes he made an attempt to sound like Lane, but not so much. He clearly had his own identity. He was fucking terrific. He nailed each song (there is not a song they will play in concert that I do not know…sans the new stuff). His stage presence was excellent.

Warrant - they guys who have struggled through for years

Truly, this was one the second best Warrant concert I have witnessed. The first was when Lane went through a period of sobriety and being really thankful that fans stuck with him and the group over the years and his exploits. Back at the Bronco Bowl ( you Dallas peeps know what I speak of, but I digress) Every note was hit by this guy ( I really ought to get his name…..commenting peeps, help me out). His stage presence excelled. The original members embraced his presence.  Yes, there was a little kissing ass…..what do you expect?  But bottom line, this guy rocked, and so did Warrant.

As is true with most of these groups, they have a new CD coming out.  They played a few from it. It is too bad, there is just not airplay for these groups, and airplay is still king and dominated by the shits that come to this club after the concerts like this are over. The new music rocked. It is very blues rock based. My CD friends who collect them need to find a buy on this.  A++. And I just do not hand out these kind of endorsements…but this is derserved.  I will seek out to find when they play next to go hear them

Go see them. True fans ( and I know you are limited bunch) will not be disappointed.

Now a quick note: Jani Lane is currently filling in for Jack Russell as the lead singer for Great White. Seems Russell had a serious medical issue that has sidelined him since November.  Seems Russell has more medical issues that initially thought. For years, he evidently has taken a steroid to help his voice…stay strong…..and the result is not only his current medical issues, but a degradation in bone structure where he falls alot………very sad.  Word is, despite of my above review on Lane, he is strong  as Russell’s replacement, and they are cooking as a group and playing Warrant hits as well…..if this is true, I may need to work to see Great White for a 17th time…… after all, they are my original and favorite ‘hair band’ even despite the fact that they burned a Rhode Island night club that resulted in 99 people losing their lives, including their then basis  Ty Longly. I will see them again, no matter who is singing, and apparently Lane is doing a crack up job.

Peace. And go see Warrant.

 

Green Mesquite. Our latest entry in the never-ending search for the best BBQ leads us to the capital of Texas—Austin.  While Austin is a huge city compared to most of the BBQ places we have reviewed, the “River City” is known more for its Tex-Mex and Margarita’s than BBQ.   As a side note, Austin calls itself, “The Live Music Capital of Texas”.  With its well-known love affair with ‘Rita’s, it is only appropriate that Jimmy Buffet wrote his huge hit, “Margaritaville” when he was in Austin.  But let’s get back to the ‘Cue…

Green Mesquite Has Been Green A Long Time

Taking an out of town visitor to the downtown area, we pondered a bit before deciding on an old standby on Barton Springs Road, near to famous Zilker Park—The Green Mesquite.  I had not been there in perhaps 15 years, and they had suffered a terrible fire, but had rebuilt.  Still funky, still crowded, with a large outdoor seating area for live music—this is Austin, after all.

The menus were handed on a large laminated sheet, with the specials listed on a chalk board next to the draught beers for happy hour.  A good sign.  The staff was very casual, but pleasant and knowledgeable.  No pretense, no attitude, just “what do you need, here’s some suggestions, we’ll get it out to you in a few minutes”, then leave us alone to chat, with the exception of filling our tea glasses.

I tried the three meat plate, brisket, turkey, and sausage, with potato salad and coleslaw.  One companion got the pulled pork sandwich and another got pork ribs and pulled pork.   The meat servings were large, overflowing the plate.  The brisket was good, tender, with a nice smoke ring.  Didn’t have a large smoke flavor but one could tell it had cooked for a while.  The turkey was moist with a touch of pepper.  The sausage was a long, thin link that was disappointing.  It was extremely juicy, greasy, tough to eat, and the flavor was bland.  The ribs were not overly meaty, but had good texture and flavor.  The pulled pork was good as well, but lacked the necessary smoke kick that sets the good apart from the great.  The sauce was tomato based and was on the table in a plastic ketchup bottle.  This sauce was very good, deep, dark, smoky, with a touch of black and red pepper, perhaps?

The sides were well done.  The potato salad, while not outstanding, was good, with generous amount of mustard, which I like.  The coleslaw looked and tasted like it had just been made before being served.  Crisp, flavorful, mayo-blended.  The cabbage was cut in large pieces, somewhat unusual in my experiences so far on the BBQ Road.

For a grade, I give The Green Mesquite a solid B+.  Good Brisket, good turkey, good sides, very good sauce, OK pork ribs and pulled pork.  The only real negative was the sausage.   The prices were very good, especially for the amount of food on the plates.  They even have an “All you can eat” special, that would have been a target in my younger days.  I am tempted to bring some college students with me next time, to see what kind of damage they can do.  The Green Mesquite is worth a repeat visit!

 

The BBQ Road goes ever onward…..

 

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Installment 3 of Big 12 Tourney

On March 11, 2011, in Low Budget Review, by admin

How will YOU catch the Lady Bear v. KSU game at noon this Friday?

by Karen Schexnider Tracy on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 10:10pm

 

This is a gratuitous note:  a public service announcement if you will.  I understand that not every Lady Bear fan can take a week off of work to attend the Big 12 tournament and cheer on our favorite team.  Let me tell you the many ways that you can enjoy the game at NOON tomorrow:

 

1.   If you have an i-phone, download the free ESPN app, add NCAAW as one of your sports and the Big 12 as your conference, Baylor as your team.  You will see an icon with the game.  Push that icon and then go to the “gamecast” button and you will get a live feed of play by play.  This is the most discreet way to track a game and I have used it with great success during weddings, funerals, and court appearances.  I only wish that this technology would have existed when Jordan was in school and I “got to” go to all of those school programs and awards ceremonies.

 

2.  Noon is your God-given, and Fair Labor Standards Act protected time for a lunch break.  If you don’t have time to get home, then have lunch as BWW, or BJ’s brewhouse, or Hooters, or Fox and the Hound.  Get those chick-ball hating establishments to turn on the game.  If they say they can’t find it, then tell them that is is on FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST.

 

3.  If you can’t get to a TV and you don’t have an iPhone, then go to

http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/031011aaa.html and click on the link to listen to the game over the internet.  It is free.

 

 

Sorry the photo is of a prior year tournament. It is all that I have handy at the moment.  SIC EM BEARS!!

 

 

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I have yet to perfect the ability to be in two places at one time and I have tickets for the men’s and women’s Big 12 tournament games.  Because the dates and times severely overlap and I attempt to catch as many games as possible, I know that there are some tickets that will not be used.  If the unused tickets are for the women’s games, well, I might as well blow my nose on them because there is no resale market.  But the men’s tickets have value.  So I endeavored to find a civilized way to sell my tickets for the men’s session tomorrow morning because I will be at the Lady Bear games.

 

I have bought through Stubhub in the past.  I have sold tickets well in advance through stubhub, but I have never tried to sell at the last minute.  It is quite the adventure.  I will share with you how it works because a lot of people don’t care for women’s basketball and won’t read further once I get into that.

 

The first thing you have to do is to list your tickets on Stubhub by event, section, row, seat and how much you want for the ticket.  I merely wanted my face value of $45.  Stubhub then tells you what that will net you.  They take their fair share. Then Stubhub tells you that because you have waited sooooooooo late, you have to participate in a late delivery system unless you have electronic tickets (which I don’t). You list them, tell them your paypal account and then a day later they tell you what you need to do to get your tickets to stubhub.

 

The big jolt is that, until Stubhub has your tickets in hand, your listing doesn’t even get posted online.

 

So I get this email to take my tickets to David somebody at the Marriott in Kansas City at the corner of Main and 12th. Really, that’s pretty much all you get. And to put your tickets in an envelope with your email, phone number, etc etc etc.

 

So I get to Municipal Auditorium early (9:30 a.m.) as it is located near 12th and Main Street.  And (pause for dramatic effect), there are Marriotts on TWO CORNERS of the intersection.  I pick the larger one, go in and ask the desk person to help me find the stubhub person (they set up temporary offices, apparently, to faciliate these special events).  The desk person (Rod) has a fedex envelope to deliver to David also, so he takes me with him to find David.  David is usually set up in one of the conference rooms.  Alas, it is occupied by Weight Watchers.  I tell Rod that Weight Watchers really works.  He doesn’t respond.  Given his body shape, I would have thought that he would take a greater interest.

 

So we take off for David’s room, which puzzles Rod, because Rod thinks it is a little sketch that Stubhub David would be operating out of his hotel room.  But there we stand, outside of Room 640, just a-knocking.  No David. So I leave my tickets with Rod to give to David.

 

Here’s what is supposed to happen next: your tickets get listed when Stubhub gets their grubby hands on them. I check via my phone periodically throughout the day. Nothing listed until 3:00 p.m.  My solo ticket has not sold yet and apparently I have to confirm the sale if it happens. We shall see. But in my quest to find out if my ticket was listed (to met me about $30), I noticed that the Thursday a.m. session prices were sky high! I look at see that in the first game of that session, Kansas is playing and in the second game of that session, Kansas State is playing. Baylor men are not in that bracket so even if they win tomorrow (insert laughter), then they would play in the evening bracket.

 

It looks like I can sell that one session ticket and net about $170. I paid $360 in total for all of my tickets. Kid you not. So I listed it and I will be back at the Marriott bright and early tomorrow a.m., once again looking for Stubhub David.

 

Last year, I sold my championship game ticket so if the Baylor men are not playing in that game (insert laughter), then I plan to sell THAT ticket, too.

 

No surprises in the women’s brackets: the higher seeds all advanced.  The Iowa State v. Nebraska women’s game was a real mawtapper and it looked as if the Lady Cornhuskers would advance as the 12 seed but, alas, they did not.  The two teams leaving the Big 12 were the teams that bowed out first.  Lady Bears get Kansas tomorrow.  We drummed Kansas pretty good in January (39 points), but anything can happen in the Big 12 and if you take a game for granted, well then just pack those basketball shorts up and get on the bus.

 

I smuggled quite a bit of food and I was super excited to discover that I have an excellent place to smuggle a banana in (but they were all green at the store). I have one of those rain hoods that you can fold into a snap down collar.  I opened the collar up and it would be perfect to hide a banana. I stuffed something into every zip pocket of my lands end coat and then put my coat over my arm and walked in with it.  The ushers do not seem to notice that I am eating a ham sandwich on multigrain bread with baby organic spinach on it. The lady behind me was amazed by my orange that I peeled and ate and she told me that she had an apple that she wanted to bring, but didn’t.  She also brought in some nuts!

 

The Baylor men play Oklahoma tomorrow. There was something in the paper about Jeff Capel possibly losing his job. That makes me sad. I think that he is a good coach.

 

I loved the quotes attributed in the paper to Pat Knight today. He’s not sad at all about being fired.  He was quoted as saying something to the effect that he is a basketball coach and not a doctor, policeman or firefighter that actually makes the world a better place.

 

Pat, Pat, Pat, you shortsell yourself.  You brighten my existence by your mere presence.  I look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening!

 

Regular readers know that we focus on all things Texas, specifically the BBQ of this great state. We are passionate about our BBQ. Our BBQ reviews are merely poor excuses to stop by the roadside BBQ pit to try on some great ribs or brisket. We review Texas Best BBQ joints here.  We cook it. We develop our own recipes. We take seriously the art of smoking our meats, developing rubs, marinades, whatever, you name it, we are into it.

But what does BBQ really mean? How does it differ from different states in the US and abroad?  Well, first, let me finish cooking my ribeye with cooked to perfection with the reddgranite rub (nope, you cannot buy it….yet). So, actually, this is what it is about.  We call cooking steaks on the grill “BBQ’ing” here in Texas.  But this has nothing to do with Texas BBQ at all. It is merely cooking out.  In Brazil, the word BBQ means that ‘gaucho’ type restaurant where they serve all kinds of meat on a stick, some of the meats you would rather not know what they are. BBQ in the northern states seem to resemble that of the south in its intention, but the reality is that you may as well pick whatever choice of meat you wish to call BBQ, grill it, smother it with bottled BBQ sauce, and wella, you have the Yankee version of BBQ.  Indeed, while you can buy brisket up there in grocery stores, many have no idea what a brisket is.BBQ in Europe is unheard of.  It something they all wish to try becuase they heard of it on re-runs of ‘who shot JR’.

Then there is the US BBQ bragging rights.  Kansas City believes they have the best. The Carolinas think they have the best. There are different versions of BBQ in pockets of the central US, St Louis, and Memphis.  Both sport a bit of a twist on BBQ as they focus on ribs, and the emphasis is on dry rubs.  In some regions, the best BBQ is considered an ethnic thing.  So my approach is to try them all.  I have traveled quite a bit. The only region where I have not had BBQ is in the Carolinas

Kansas City has good BBQ.  No, KC Masterpiece (all though good bottle sauce) is not BBQ.  Good brisket and ribs in KC.  Avoid the KC Masterpiece brand restaurants, this is not good BBQ.  Find the hidden gems.  Locals will be happy to guide you. The St Louis and Memphis ribs are great, but I do like a little sauce as well.You have read about Texas BBQ at length on this site….we stand by our BBQ  joints, the seedier, it seems the better

And sauces:  many of the Texas BBQ sauces are a thin, vinegary based concoction that does not resemble BBQ sauce as most know it.  It is weaker in taste.  The reason is simple.  Here we focus on the smokey taste of the meat and thick sauces merely mask this.

We will continue to bring reviews of Texas best BBQ in our travels throughout the State of Texas.  Next up will be a review of a long standing Austin BBQ icon: Green Mesquite. Peace

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