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Fort Worth Fortress Festival … Add To Facebook?

April 27th, 2017 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Music


Like many of my friends, I have been playing The Facebook game listing 10 concerts.  Good timing.  After the weekend, I will have a few more artists to add to my master list, and hopefully more good stories.  (More on that in a second …)

The PingWi-Fi photo team is excited about Fort Worth’s latest Spring time outdoor place to be, must see — Fortress Festival.  I have  a pass and a “kind of photo pass.” But anywho …  Will Funkytown’s Fortress someday rival Coachella or ACL or all the other massive selfie photo events that also have music.  Let’s hope so. (And I hope the festival has Wi-Fi, of course.)  Judging by the festival Web site, it’s certainly off to a good start, for this the inaugural show this weekend.   I would love to see the festival back every year.  I mean … what a backdrop — Fort Worth’s aesthetic, shady Cultural District with one stage set up at title sponsor The Fort Worth Modern Museum of Art, and another at the growing Will Rogers complex … and then there’s the nearby architectural treasure The Kimbell adding to the ambiance … There’s the vibe of the nearby West 7th development …  Very cool.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the local and regional acts featured at Main Street Festival, but I am excited about the current, big names playing Fortress … and of course, I think Mayfest brings in pretty good acts too … Then there’s Jazz On The Blvd., not to mention Rocking The River over on the Trinity. Fort Worth is kind of building a music scene … not too mention the perennial favorite Billy Bob’s Texas down Main …

Playing Fortress, Saturday’s headliners are Run The Jewels and Sunday’s show will include Purity Ring.  Here’s the link for more:

Fortress Festival

Now about that concert thing on Facebook … Have you posted your list?  Were you able to contain yourself and list just nine acts that you’ve seen and mix in one concert that you did not attend?  Ha … I almost followed the rules, I think I listed 11+1 … It was difficult … like naming a business or choosing a favorite child or getting a tattoo (so I would think).

Is this just one more reminiscent thing, indicative of Facebook’s growing popularity with an older crowd of members?  I like it.

And it is so fun to read the lists other people compiled and posted.  Back in the day, when I met a new friend or visited a new apartment or whatever, I would always make a beeline to the person’s music collection.  You can tell so much about a person by their taste in music.  This Facebook game is like a sampler of that … a limited version of the soundtrack of a person’s life, right?

It’s got an interactive component too.  In the Facebook game, other friends try to guess which concerts on the list are valid and which are conjecture.  It’s a great way to get a dialogue going … Who don’t like to talk music?  And it seems that each time someone guesses incorrectly, trying to name the bogus concert, the person who posted the list has a story.  They say scars are like tattoos with better stories.  Well, I am sure concert stories fall in between those two signposts somewhere.

The favorite of the day:  A Fort Worth area filmmaker recalled he and his teen-age buddies (ha … hoodlums) climbing over fences and breaking into ticket windows to see concerts for free … and this was back in the day when concerts were seven bucks.  Ha … From one concert venue, he retold the story of his buddies and he striking out, unable to break into a show.  Not to worry.  He went on to say that a tiny drunk cowboy came out of a bar across the street and asked them “Why so glum?”  They gave him their hard luck story about no free admission.  The stranger said, “Here hold my beer” or the equivalent … Takes a running start, jumps in the air, curls up in a ball like a cannonball dive, and goes crashing through a window.  Ha … the police all left the unlocked exit doors to go apprehend this good Samaritan, so meanwhile the filmmaker and his buddies shot through the doors … for free.  The storyteller — and rightly so — billed this as one of the best cooperative efforts ever between Fort Worth hippies and Cowtown “rednecks.”  Good story.  Ha … I forgot what concert it was. Sometimes it is the journey and not the destination.

The Clash

The Clash


What are your Top 10 Shows … or Your List?

So … if I haven’t lost you yet, I will share a few stories that didn’t make my Facebook list. (I think I told a story about The Clash show and some others …” Here’s more …

Echo & The Bunnymen — Google them.  They were hot in the ’80s and had a few songs you will recognize.  Well … an old girlfriend was a huge fan.  So when I saw ETBM posters in Rome, some buddies and I went to the show, sort of in her honor, since she was back in Texas.  Well … just as the show really got going, some punk types starting “gobbing” the band.  Singer Ian McCulloch had been spit on one time too many and took his microphone off the stand, swung it by the cord like some medieval weapon, and clocked one of the punks.  Concert over … riot began.




Jefferson Airplane/Starship — I hooked up with an old buddy in LA during my first trip to California.  He said, “Hey we’re going to a concert if you want to go.”  He told me it was Starship etc., and I wasn’t real excited, but it was live music … So, “Sure!”  Later I learned that my buddy’s fiancee was from The UK and that she had worked as an au pair and nanny for Grace Slick and (the late) Paul Kantner … the two leads in the band.  That was the reason for their interest in the band. Backstage was interesting.  Kantner and other band members were very social … but not Kantner’s ex-wife.  Grace walked around like she was in a trance, sneering at everyone, as I recall.

The Neville Brothers — Someone told me that if you are not invited to all of the parties during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, just walk in like you own the place … ha … or throw a tiny person through a window as a diversion.  I chose to just walk in to a computer company’s party, for their biggest, best customers and when I got inside the small ballroom, I learned the evening entertainment was Nawlins’ Nevilles.  Ha … I partied with some guy from Ireland in front of the stage for the entire show, while most stayed back at tables.  When the show was over, it was open bar, and I noticed through the door that the Neville’s were just sitting around doing nothing backstage, not part of the party.  Quickthinking, I grabbed a round server’s tray, loaded it up with craft brews, domestics, imports and glasses of wine, and kind of barged into the “green room” where the Nevilles were cooling down.  I couldn’t believe someone else had not taken care of such an iconic group.  I guess it was my destiny. We bonded.




Metallica — I always joke that in every Metallica song each line of lyrics ends with a guttural “Yuh!” So, I guess I am not their biggest fan.  By my buddy Steve is.  Well … we heard the band was playing a concert in relief of New Zealand earthquake victims, while we were over there cleaning up after the quakes.  A lucky break, a few calls and we were given press passes to the sold out show.  “Yuh!” Oh … the other part of the story … I saw some longhaired guy on the elevator of our hotel, days before the concert.  I figured he was one of the roadies, so I chatted him up.  Come to find out, he was the lead guitarist of the opening act for Metallica … from Austin, Texas’ very own Sword.  Small world.  Well it got smaller.  Three years later, I was walking down the street in Austin at SXSW Festival, and the guitarist and I ran into each other and talked … he remembered.  Ha … maybe I was his biggest Texan fan in Christchurch.



Head East —  Surely some of you remember that keyboard-rich band for their hit, “Never Been Any Reason” … ha … yes … back in the ‘70s.  Well, their show was great, but what was most interesting to me was the venue.  They played in a bar across the street from The Amarillo Civic Center, where so many coast-to-coast touring bands played.  Ha … when I was a teen, it was just common knowledge that if you drove to Amarillo from farmtown USA, with short hair, you would be beaten up by long-haired hippy bikers if you dared to enter the little joint called Fuzzy’s Place. That was the word, anyway.  We heeded the warning … ha … until Head East played there when I was still in high school.  I couldn’t resist.  My buddy Mike and I were apprehensive, but went on in and inched toward the stage … which was about 50 feet from the door.  No one noticed.  No one messed with us.  Perhaps because Mike was 6-5, 235 and solid muscle … well almost solid muscle.  Great time.

Johnny Clegg & Savuka — Two iterations of South African Clegg’s band were Juluka and Savuka.  I don’t speak Swahili fluently enough to tell you the difference.  But anywho, Clegg had a big MTV world beat hit in the mid ’80s, and was playing a small club during my first trip to DC.  My former running mate and I showed up at the door for a sold out show and I flashed an expired press pass … saying that I didn’t mind paying full admittance … I just showed the media credential to get in.  The bouncer frowned at me … and just pointed to go in and wouldn’t take my money.  Incidentally, Clegg — a white South African — has a historical footnote by his name.  He was blacklisted for a while, back when artists were boycotting and not playing at South Africa’s Sun City venues at end of Apartheid.  Later, Clegg was excused for playing there, since he was a South African and that was one of the biggest opportunities in his homeland.  Google him and watch him perform some traditional African dance steps with his black African band members on YouTube.


Edward Sharpe

Edward Sharpe

The Plimsouls — If you ever saw “Valley Girl” you heard The Plimsouls whether you knew it or not.  They had a few big songs, including “Million Miles Away” in that “important film.”  Well … they played the best joint in Lubbock back in the day — Fat Dawg’s — a small venue.  Another friend named Mike and his friend Ted joined our group for the show and they brought Ted’s ultra-hot sister.  After a few ultra-big pitchers of beer, she used her good looks to get on stage.  Ha … actually, she just hopped on staged and grabbed a mike to sing along with The PSouls.  Ha … front man Peter Case was not pleased.  He apparently thought she was more crazy than hot, and gestured to the sound man to cut her mike off — picture a rocker with his finger going across his throat.  It was very funny.


Farm Aid II — The first concert my son every attended.  After a grueling 15-hour day, my ex-wife, bless her heart, was unbearably exhausted.  We found out a few days later that she was with Chase … er … with child.  I wrangled The Amarillo Globe News into sending me to Farm Aid bcause they had moved me to the Farm & Ranch beat.  Ha … Didn’t I go to college to move on beyond the farm?  Anywho … July 4, 1986, I visited with many of the musicians — ranging from Amarillo’s J.D. Souther, to Lubbock’s The Nelsons to the stratosphere’s Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), to David Allan Coe who is from another redneck planet.


Farm Aid II All Star Lineup (1986)


The B-52s — It was after this show that I met one of the most interesting friends I have ever known.  Some friends were coming over to my apartment after the B52s show.  Mike came in and immediately went to the restroom to wash a lot of blood off his hands and arms.  Some guy had followed him after the show, making fun of “Mikey’s” punk hair do.  Mike hopped out of his car and pummeled the guy.  Mike was built as sturdy as a concrete wall, and could talk music, politics, philosophy and sports with anyone.  Interesting guy … That’s what I remember about the B52s show … that and that this was before all that “Love Shack” crap that MTV forced on us.  The 52s show was the most funk-filled, backbeat dance fest I have ever seen.  In the Lubbock Auditorium, every seat was sold, but none were used. Everyone was on the armrests of the chairs and in the aisles dancing.  It was incredible … so spontaneous and non-stop funk.




Black Oak Arkansas — Ha … my buddies who stayed up to watch Midnight Special and In Concert back in the day know this band, primarily because of longhaired, blond Jim Dandy at the helm.  IF you want to see a cocky rock star with stage presence, Google Black Oak Arkansas and watch their appearance at The California Jam, 1974.  And this dude’s from Arkansas!?! Ha … the band played a small club in Lubbock years after their prime.  Kinda fun … kinda sad.

Stevie Ray Vaughn — a college photographer and I attended the blues giant’s show in Lubbock and he allowed me an interview.  I look for that taped interview about twice a year.  It’s here somewhere.  He played guitar on David Bowie’s tour a couple of years later … attained superstardom … and then was gone.

Just Trey ... Phish That Got Away

Just Trey … Phish That Got Away

Again at Fat Dawg’s … a fairly good band Lords Of  The New Church played, and I had media credentials, hoping to sell a freelance piece to a national publication … this was after I graduated from Tech’s J School.  But a friend at the college paper also wanted an interview but didn’t get a pass.  She asked if she could go with me.  I said yes.  So I was interviewing the lead singer on tape and he was answering questions and simultaneously trying to remove the college reporter’s leather skirt.  How distracting.

Ween — what a name.  What a band!  They are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t know why not.  My buddy Markus and I traveled from Boston to some suburb for Gene Ween’s set.  The front man with his guitar, a bass and a drum.  And somehow he performed some pretty sophisticated songs.  I won’t try to sell you on Ween and their variety, but I will say this.  I have a mix list of their songs with a steel-guitar flavored country song or two, a calypso/reggae number about bananas and cocaine, a Spaghetti Western anthem, an almost-Elvis impersonator-esque rocker, an acid-rock feedback fest, more country, and some other genres that haven’t been invented yet.


Blue Oyster Cult — I saw these guys when they were big, riding high on the success of “Don’t Fear The Reaper” and “Godzilla.” If you want to hear the depth of the band, listen to the melancholy lyrics and haunting guitar of “Then Came The Days Of May.” It was years later that they put out 1981’s “Fire Of Unknown Origin,” my favorite in their catalogue although many bashed it for its commercial success.  The first time I saw them, the immortal “More Cowbell” skit on Saturday Night Live wasn’t even a gleam in Lorne Michael’s eye yet.  But the last time I saw BOC was at the South Padre International Music Festival, and I guarantee you that I begged backstage to play cowbell with the band on “Reaper.”  No dice.  Buck Dharma and I did connect on Linked In though … so I score it a success.


Oh Whitney

Oh Whitney

Oh the memories … Looking forward to more after The Fortress.  Meanwhile … ha … here are the ones I can remember, in no particular order — too much information for the Facebook game.  Where you there? If we went to a show not listed, remind me.

  • The Clash
  • Waterdeep
  • The Doobie Brothers (4)
  • Van Halen (3)
  • Rush
  • Styx
  • Sudie
  • Quaker City Night Hawks
  • Dengue Fever
  • Golden Dawn Arkestra
  • The Smith Westerns
  • Active Child
  • Grave Babies
  • Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Head East
  • Ray Charles
  • ZZ Top (4)
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Keller Williams
  • The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Yes
  • Calexico
  • Iron And Wine
  • Jethro Tull
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Ghostland Observatory
  • Steel Pulse
  • Bob Dylan
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Cross Canadian Ragweed
  • Merle Hagard
  • Leon Russell
  • The Rockets
  • Johnny Clegg & Savuka
  • REO (before pukey ballads)
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Judas Priest
  • Cheap Trick
  • Metallica
  • Moxy
  • Sheryl Crow
  • G. Love & Special Sauce
  • Jack Johnson
  • Loverboy
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Willie Dixon
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Rainbow
  • Foghat
  • Black Oak Arkansas
  • AC/DC (with Bon Scott)
  • UFO
  • Widowmaker
  • John Cougar Mellencamp
  • Willie Nelson (4)
  • Fine Young Cannibals
  • Trooper
  • Lords Of The New Church
  • Point Blank
  • The Mavericks
  • The Specials
  • Wilco
  • Sonic Youth
  • Bow Wow Wow
  • George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers
  • The UK Subs
  • Johnny Winter
  • Pat Travers
  • Heart
  • Trey Anastasio (Phish-less)
  • The Neville Brothers
  • The Pogues
  • Los Lobos
  • The Plimsouls
  • Cracker
  • Ween
  • The Romantics
  • Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Pure Prairie League
  • Tower Of Power
  • Muddy Waters
  • .38 Special
  • Baby
  • Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  • Max Webster
  • Triumph
  • Kansas
  • Snoop Dog
  • Reba McEntire
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard
  • Dixie Chicks (before Maines)
  • Joe Ely (10)
  • The Flatlanders
  • Joe King Carrasco (3)
  • Devo
  • Junior Brown
  • Harry Connick Jr.
  • The Blasters
  • Dave Alvin (3)
  • Oh Whitney
  • Animal Spirit
  • Donald Fagan
  • 10 Hands
  • Fever In The Funkhouse
  • Brave Combo (3)
  • Killbilly (3)
  • Reverend Horton Heat
  • Tish Hinojosa
  • Eddie Beethoven
  • Alejandro Escovedo
  • Steve Forbert
  • KC & The Sunshine Band
  • KISS

Know what I sayin?