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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Double Wide

As another Deep Ellum venue closes, the area feels more and more like a ghost town to me. The thought that I was at the Double Wide merely two weekends ago for the Undeniable Records show is still fresh in my mind. Maybe I'm going through the "disbelief" phase of grief since this closing came as a shock.

I saw a number of shows at the Double Wide in the last few years and by pure coincidence, some of the best ones were recent. The Numbers Twist blew my head off, as did [DARYL], the Golden Falcons and Saboteur, for various reasons. The sound was always incredible; I could actually hear things like shakers and backing vocals. On top of that, the layout of the whole place was fantastic: if you just wanted to sit and drink, you could go inside to the bar or outside on the patio. If you wanted to see the bands playing, you went into a separate room connected to the patio. The layout was ideal for a lot of people and unlike a certain now-closed venue nearby, they had really cool bartenders and door folks. Yes, I'm gonna miss this place, however I'm not about to get all sad and start saying all sort of ugly things about Deep Ellum. I have my misgivings about the area (especially the outrageous price for paid parking and the outrageous lengths to walk for free parking), but it was made very clear to me a few weeks ago about how much the place has changed for me.

While walking from Sons of Herman Hall to the Liquid Lounge to meet up with some friends, a lot of memories came into my head. They were good memories, but they were memories. I passed by the Door and thought about the numerous shows I'd seen over the years (Braid, No Motiv and the Get Up Kids were just some). While the Door is still going, the places that have closed brought back a lot more memories. The Galaxy Club, a haven for punk, hardcore and metal shows for years, moved its Main Street location to Upper Greenville sometime last year. Regardless of the location change, I thought about the numerous shows I'd seen there back in college. I saw Slowride play its second show as they opened for Strung Out, No Motiv with Saves the Day and H2O, Hot Water Music with Indecision, AFI and Sick of It All and so on. Those were great shows, but they were years ago.

As I got to the Liquid Lounge, I thought about the few times that I loaded in to play the venue whether it was with the 11:30s or Voigt. I thought about the Curtain Club right around the corner to the left of me and Club Clearview around the corner to the right. I hadn't been to this part of the area in at least year as I often go to places like Lower Greenville, Fair Park, Denton or Fort Worth for shows. It was only 9:30pm as I waited for my friends, but the whole area felt out of step with me. I always go where the show is, but the shows I want to see aren't usually in Deep Ellum anymore. Maybe my tastes have changed, maybe Deep Ellum really is bad as what people say it is, but it's all in perspective.

It's not like there's a dearth of places to see shows here in town. I would liken this recent visit to whenever I go back to Kingwood, the town I spent most of my life growing up. Feeling like I'm stepping back into a former life, some things have changed and some have not. The change wasn't overnight; it was little by little, year by year.

These days, I'm very happy with going to Lower Greenville for shows, Fair Park for Fallout Lounge for drinks and Ave Arts for dancing at the Smoke. I don't feel like I'm settling for anything by going to these places instead of Deep Ellum. These are the places that I want to go to. It's not like I live in some small town where there are only three bars and only one has live bands play. There are so many places here in Dallas, along with a number of great places in Fort Worth and Denton. Even though the Double Wide was one venue, it was a really special place for those that enjoyed it for what it was.

2 comments:

jen medina said...

ok, i just wrote out this big long response, but some how it got lost in the submission process, and i'm too lazy to try again.
the gist: we're old. bands still play in deep ellum, just not bands we like. people still go to deep ellum, just not people like us. the deep ellum we knew and loved is gone because we let it. not to say we're bad people who let a scene die, but rather it's just a fact that people grew up, got married, had kids, and moved on. there are already new people there ready to take over and make ellum "cool" again, we just don't like them or their version of "cool".
(i swear, it sounded much better the first time.)

Sarah said...

The AFI/Sick of It All show... Yeah! We did that one together. On my crazy follow-the-band-all-over-Texas tour.

Galaxy Club moved, eh?

I think your friend Jen is right. I've really come to realize this lately as I think about the punk scene that used to be such a part of me, and how when punk bands come to town now I don't know who they are. Or how every year, I know fewer and fewer of the bands on the Warped Tour. I'm getting older, and moving on in many respects, and I no longer connect in many ways to the current young people standing where I used to stand.