Today’s post comes from musician Kim Field of The Stargazer Lilies. She and her band (including her husband) made their way across the country to perform at the SXSW Music Festival this year. This is the story of their Southern tour, on the way back home.
We left Austin and headed to our next show in Baton Rouge at Mud and Water. Nice venue, nice sound system, great staff. It was Sunday and the night after St. Patrick’s day. So, pretty uneventful. I’m sure the whole town was hung over and still in bed. We drove after our show to New Orleans to stay with a friend and to also have the next day to to see the sites before our 2 hour drive to Mobile, Alabama for our next show that evening.
New Orleans was a dream! It was my first time and I loved every moment from the time I opened my eyes (which was not too long after I shut them). Our friend’s had added on a modern “dwell” like structure to an old home. They also built 2 modern cabanas in the backyard. So we had our own little cabana.
I walked out of it the next morning to find a half dozen chickens in the yard. It was so down home and refreshing. Also my first time hanging out with chickens. After getting to know me for a few minutes they were really comfortable and cool and apparently come when you call their names (although probably due to my exhaustion, I forgot to try).
After a hot outdoor shower and some strong black coffee on the deck we hit the town, starting with Bourbon Street and then lunch at Antoine’s.
Tip #6: If you’re looking for a cheap authentic New Orleans meal in a gorgeous dining hall, this is the place. (Not for vegetarian or vegan- with little options, I ordered fish, a rare occurrence) A special lunch deal: twenty dollars for a three course lunch. You can’t beat the twenty five cent martinis too! I think we each had at least four which made the rest of the afternoon that much more fun.
We ran around, in and out of historical hotels and buildings peeking in to mysterious rooms with deep pasts. My favorite room was known for the seances which were held in it. It was dimly lit and painted ruby red with plush leopard sofas, gilded mirrors, nude paintings- ultra moody.
We also went for a walk around the worst hit neighborhood during Hurricane Katrina which is now the site of Brad Pitt’s project “Make it Right.” The homes that have been rebuilt there are quite impressive. But it’s still a bit surreal to walk along the newly built sea wall and climb up on the levees and look out over the river. There are of course many vacant lots still and the lingering heaviness of loss.
We couldn’t resist shooting an impromptu Felini-like video on location there which is the video for the title track of our soon to be released record.
Next stop Mobile, Alabama. We played a great venue called the Blind Mule. The owner was so kind and treated us to dinner and drinks. The food was home made, Southern and soulful.
We headed on to Birmingham, Alabama the next day for our next show at The Nick Rocks. Real cool CBGB’s like venue with a pretty amazing sound system and a very thoughtful and attentive sound engineer.
Our last show was in Atlanta, Georgia at The Drunken Unicorn. This venue is great! We especially loved that we were able to leave our gear in the music room after our show and head to the other two sprawling rooms for an all night dance party. Maybe not the best idea before driving immediately and straight 15 hours home (some of it during a rare late March snow storm in Georgia where I thought we were going to plunge off a cliff and into an icy river to our deaths).
We managed to make it home alive only to arrive to 7 inches of ice and snow. The warmth of the south was wonderful while it lasted. Tip # 7: If you live in the North, travel South in the winter and maybe just stay there until Summer comes.
The Stargazer Lilies
All photos courtesy of Kim Field