That’s where we were on Wednesday and Thursday last week, at the Paramount Theatre, to watch two shows:
- K.D. Lang and the Boom Siss Bang on Wednesday evening, and
- Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on Thursday evening
Both were real fun and very entertaining. Personally, I liked Bela Fleck more. Maybe that’s because his music wasn’t that loud. After the K.D. Lang performance it really took quite a while for my ears to come back to normal hearing and for the resonance in them to stop.[Aside: I really don’t know why nowadays bands and singers must have the volume up that much.]
K.D. Lang was a real bundle of energy on the stage. She dominated her band, kind of, whereas Bela Fleck was himself much more subdued and the other members of his band all had their own prominent parts and plenty of solos. They were absolute masters of their respective instruments: real virtuosos. Most interesting was Roy “Future Man” Wooten, who played synthesizer-based percussion. That, for a while, confused me, as I could not see anybody behind the drums playing. It took me a while to realize that he did so by what I’d call “remote control”: fantastic to watch. But his brother Victor Wooten, playing the bass guitar, was amazing in his solos, too, as well as keyboardist and harmonica player Howard Levy. I’ve never seen so many different harmonicas being played (by one man).
The Paramount is, btw, a wonderful old theatre, that nowadays only survives thanks to donations [Mary is a sponsor, too]. We hope that itÄll survive for a long time yet, as just the interior is fantastic to look at – quite a contrast to the often soul-less modern buildings. We always like to go there for a show.
We had our supper on Wednesday evening at the very traditional “ages-old” diner Threadgills – a real Austin institution – and at a small Mexican restaurant on Thursday evening: both to be recommended. With being in Austin it certainly helps that Mary studied there at the University of Texas at Austin: she really knows where to go for sightseeing as well as food.
For the nights we stayed at the Best Western Atrium North. This really is the best motel we have ever found – not only in Austin. Quite apart from the fact that I have never seen breakfast cooked to order for you in a motel [well, cooked as far as eggs, waffles and pancakes are concerned], it was also an interesting structure/building architectonically, with a roofed inner courtyard [well, the “Atrium”] with a breakfast room quite spacious for American motels and another fixture of American motels, the swimming pool. This inner couryard’s roof was four stories up, and the corridors leading to the rooms were all around it. The layout of everything was very generous, with small nooks to sit in even on the corridors. There never was the impression that they had wanted to use very available space to make money. Talking of money: what we liked about that motel, too, was the fact that it was even cheaper than the “Super 8” we used to stay at when we were in Austin previously, and which, up to now, we have considered our most favourite motel. Talking of breakfast again: besides the usual cereals, (sweet) pastry, toast, butter and marmalade we found pots of crisp bacon, sausage patties and gravy [that white stuff is not one of my favourutes, btw]. And then there was a – very talkative – black cook who did eggs [scrambled, over easy and sunny side up as usual here in the US] as well as pancakes and waffles on demand. And something else that is not always the case in American motels: the coffee was very good [Douwe Egberts, btw]. We’ll certainly stay at this motel again when we’re in Austin, as early as this coming Friday, when we’ll be there for another show at a different small theatre.
Oh, one more remark: I found the traffic in Austin worse than in Houston. More traffic jams and more speeding drivers.
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- In concert: A Q&A with banjo master Bela Fleck (pbpulse.com)
- Howard Levy Named Harmonica Player of the Year, Presents “A Chat with Bela Fleck” Exclusively at Howard Levy Harmonica School (prweb.com)
- Béla Fleck and the Flecktones: 24 July 2011 – Littleton, CO (Review) (popmatters.com)