The Gourds @ Central Market, Ft. Worth – September 28, 2006

OK, so I had no idea what to expect from a Gourds show at Central Market in Ft Worth.

For one thing, I’d never been to Central Market in Ft Worth. I’ve been to the one in Dallas and couldn’t quite envision a band playing there. But there it was – a Thursday night free Gourds show at a grocery store.

We got a late start, nothing unusual about that, the show was 6-9 PM and we got on the road at about 6:30 thinking that the opening act was going to give us a little slack.

So after a 40 minute drive straight into the setting sun (who designed I-30 anyway?) we pulled in just after seven and could hear Kevin Russell singing “Roll and Tumble” on the huge outdoor patio/veranda that made the Dallas Central Market look puny by comparison. I was thinking that had to be their first song as I dropped off our party at the patio and found a parking space to the strains of “Bottle and a Dime.”

After a fairly long hike from the parking space I could feel the energy as I approached the stage area. Sure enough, this was just about the coolest venue you could imagine.

The weather was perfect. About 70 degrees under some light clouds with a nice breeze blowing and a huge crowd with the Gourds in full swing.

Kevin Russell was commenting on what a cool venue it was when we found our Ft Worth friends at a table on the second level of the patio. You could go in the store and find an amazing selection of cold single micro-brews and imports in the 1-2 dollar range and a deli with an incredible selection of the best prepared food at any super market I’ve ever been to. Then just take it all out to the patio and catch the band.

The Gourds are fairly well known for their love of Ft Worth and last night you could feel the love for miles around. The crowd was totally into it; according to our friends – who make it out there every Thursday night – they usually have a cover band playing, so hosting the Gourds was a pretty big thing. It’s a kid friendly family atmosphere (there’s a playground behind the stage) so there were lots of happy families enjoying the show.

They played anything they would have played in a club and it wasn’t the abbreviated set I was expecting on a weeknight at a grocery store. The only real drawback was that they wouldn’t play their notorious cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” despite numerous requests from the audience. Kevin Russell finally said “Sorry, but tonight it’s gonna have to be milk and cookies.”

So people started yelling “Milk and Cookies!”

They did play a surprisingly complete Gourds show covering every record they’ve put out and playing a lot of requests from the enthusiastic crowd.

A real highlight came near the end when they did “Grievin’ and Smokin’” in full jam mode and worked a real nice version of “The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised” into the middle of it.

The band was was enjoying it as much as the audience and they played for just over and hour and a half and I went away thinking that it was as perfect a show as I’ve seen in some time.

After the brutal summer we’ve had to endure here in North Texas, it was a real nice reminder of why it’s not such a bad place to live after all.

They don’t get this kind of thing in Oklahoma or Kansas, you know.

Big props to Fort Worth Weekly for hosting and big props to Bryan and Carol for the heads up!

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