What a great friend. The music was a perfect fit, so we listened for two full days on Mexican back roads and a never-to-be-named secluded beach. Witty, fun, loaded with desert imagery . . . and, my favorite part, exceptional drum work. It worked for me, so I had to check out Circus Mexicus. And buy my buddy a replacement CD.
Meanwhile, back at the bar . . .
Greg and I had come off of a long day of driving through the desert and arrived at this not-so-little bar near the beach, Sunset Cantina. If you’re a guy, you’ll enjoy purchasing a brew direct from the bar – girls in tiny bikini tops and cut-off shorts serve the drinks here. Yes, they’ll titter at your lousy come-ons and absurd jokes. Some gimmicks always work, don’t they? Welcome to Gringolandia, but be careful where you put your pesos.
We sipped down something cold, and the band hammered through a sound check song. I enjoyed watching the fans stirring in the streets and singing along as the sky turned orange over the ocean and the salty breeze lifted the hats off of tourist’s heads. The guys wear Shady Brady hats, island shirts, and flipflops. Girls like to wear bikinis and beach wraps . . . also with Shady Bradies. To some degree, it’s oddly familiar to a Jimmy Buffet show and I have to be honest: I’m suspicious of it.
Just get me to the music.
Shortly after dark, the opening band, Cross Canadian Ragweed, slid on stage and fired through their first song. The drummer pounded out solid rhythms and his compadre locked into the kick drum with his massive six-string bass. I liked them. No wasted air time with a speech or an introduction – we were trapped music fans subjected to paying $4.00 for a can of lukewarm beer while standing around in a dirt lot. Cross Canadian Ragweed understood that we needed one thing only: a good song.
I raise my glass.
“We ain’t never had a hit on the radio, and we ain’t lookin’ fer one, neither . . . thanks for coming out.” There they were: the first spoken words from the singer, and after the first two songs. Nice touch, and just the right amount of edge for an independent rock show.
Halfway through the set, Roger Clyne sauntered onto the stage with drink in hand. He grinned with his entire face, infecting the crowd with positive energy, and strode towards the microphone. Lifting his glass in the air he spoke, “Buenas noches amigos!” His shirt said it all in large, old colonial lettering from shoulder to shoulder: M E X I C O.