Tag Archive for Flamingo Cantina

2/2/12…Ukemi @ Flamingo Cantina

Flamingo Cantina Stage

Flamingo Cantina

I felt like I had just been to Flamingo.  And I guess I had just been there a mere two weeks ago for a fantastic “Love” show hosted by Ginger Leigh.  Tonight I was FINALLY making it out to see a friend’s band, Ukemi, for a late night show.  I was trekking out way past my bedtime, but it was well worth it, as it turned out.  My friend Jaret, who is the drummer for this band, had invited me previously to see them, but until last night, timing just didn’t work out.  So I made the effort this time.  When I walked in at around 10:30, the band was still setting up.  I wasn’t thrilled about the late start, but I’ve come to find out that this is pretty standard practice with bands about town.  Nothing ever goes quite as planned.  At least I got to say hello to Jaret, so he knew I was out there watching.  The band is made up of five members, a keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist, a bassist, a second guitarist/vocalist, a drummer and finally a violinist/glockenspielist (is that what you call it??).  I wasn’t too sure what kind of sound they were about to produce, but I was pretty sure it would be something quite different from what I’d ever heard.  And yeah, I was right.  I will admit that it took a minute for my brain to really wrap around the complexity of their sound.  I was sonically overwhelmed.  As they went into their second song, my analytical side started to weaken and the music started to make more sense.  By the third song, I was really “getting it”; My foot was tapping, I was shaking my shoulders a little,  I was ALL IN!!  The beautiful part of having the violin along with the more standard instruments was the drama that it brought to their songs.  The impression I had of these five players was that they were all at one time band nerds, and I say that with all the affection of a woman who grew up with a band nerd for a brother.  It’s actually a nod at the playing skills of each of these five individuals.  The music really carried me away to places that I haven’t musically visited since I’ve been in Austin.  It was orchestral, lush, and at times even ROCKIN’!!  I was so sad that I had to run out, but I had to get back to my car before the meter was up.  HA!!  I really wish I had just stayed put to hear the rest of Ukemi’s set, because by the time I got back to my car, I found a ticket on my windshield.  I was like, “How the heck…”  Then when I looked at the details of the ticket, it turns out that this particular part of the street (9th St & Red River) turns into a pumpkin, I mean a taxi stand, at 11:00 pm on Thursdays.  Just when I thought I finally had some luck.  I  found a spot quickly, I parallel parked really well (on a hill)…I was very proud of myself.  Yeah, well you all know how that turned out.  So my last bit of advice here is make sure you look up AND down the street you park on because there are sneaky signs with sneaky messages just hoping that you don’t see them.  So SEE THEM before they or the cops bite you in the butt.

1/19/12…Love: Ginger Leigh/Noëlle Hampton/Andre Moran/Shelley Mac/Rod Williams @ Flamingo Cantina

Flamingo Cantina

Flamingo Cantina

The first thing I have to say is that as homogenous as the overall atmosphere is on 6th Street, the bars are all very different.  I’m never that excited to visit a new venue on 6th Street, mainly because of the crowd it draws, and usually I don’t find the music to be all that appealing.  There are some very big exceptions and Flamingo Cantina is one of them.  Time was not on my side tonight.  I left my house late, I got downtown late, I arrived at the venue late.  Bleh.  Luckily, the set-up of the show still allowed me to see a great 90 minutes of collaborative music.  Ginger Leigh hosts her own show, Love, every Thursday night here.  She performs and invites a select few artists to come perform with her.  Each artist performs his/her own songs while the other artists jump in with their own contributions.  Sometimes they just sit back and let the other artist do their thing.  When I arrived, I made a quick dash for the restroom.  Ladies, I hope you’re not too modest because at this bar, there are two stalls, one of which has no door, only a black curtain (kinda sheer too) covering the stall.  The bar itself is one big warehouse with concrete floors and exposed brick walls.  The walls are painted with festive colors and, of course, flamingos.  There are brightly colored sheets and lights on the walls, as well, adding to the cantina theme.  There is stadium seating along  two sides of the main room and rows of chairs set up in front of the elevated stage, lending to the feel of a concert arena.  There is also one bar in this main area.  The space is half exposed; the exposed half being a 2-level deck.  The lower deck was closed, but I walked up to check out the upper deck and it was pretty cool.  It had a small bar and some tables.  It also overlooks the main floor so I stayed and listened to the music from up there for a bit.  Once I caught sight of a front row seat, I walked back down and sat down to the show before me.  When Ginger Leigh took the mic for the next song, I was blown away.  She has an amazing, strong voice with songs that are tough and raw, seeming to mirror who she is as a woman.  She was very gracious with the other performers.  Everyone on that stage was great.  I enjoyed the music so much I ended up staying for pretty much the entire show, even though it was a school night. ;0  At one point, Ginger Leigh decided to do an a capella song.  WOW!!  She stood up with no guitar, no mic and just put on a show.  She is fearless on that stage which just strengthens the connection she has with the audience.  Expect to pay a cover when you come to Flamingo Cantina.  I paid $12 tonight, but it was well worth it.  If you haven’t been to Ginger Leigh’s Love, you should get your butt off the couch and get out to see some great live music!!