Pool Hall

The girls and I met down in Wilmington on Sunday night to hear Trampled by Turtles. The plan was as follows:  back roads, diners, farms, beachside campground, Taj MaTent, amphitheater show, campfire.  The plan wobbled a little when two of us got involved in a fried catfish/fried chicken incident at a roadside dive called the Shamrock, in some small perfect coastal town, and were running late for setting up camp.  The plan wavered further when a downpour hit as we pulled up to the amphitheater.

We sat in the car until the rain let up, and thoroughly enjoyed the opening act, Honey Honey.  But the wheels came off of the plan altogether during the torrential rain and lightening which hit the coast just before Trampled by Turtles were due to come on.  The crowd scattered.  Those of us sitting next to giant metal equipment scaffolds scattered fastest. Back in the car, we regrouped, chatted, finished the last of the gas station snacks, and gave our three smartphones a workout, trying to figure out the weather  (“widely scattered showers,” hah) and the timing (“we’ll try to start the show at 8!”)

We decided to wait it out in the nearest Irish pub, where there were a number of wet concertgoers but sadly, no food.  We waded out to the next Irish pub over, where there was food but nobody would look at us or take our order.  Perfect, because before we could get ensnared in a long meal, the band announced they were doing an impromptu show at a pool hall a mile away.

The oldest pool hall in Americaapparently.  You snake down these stairs to the basement on the left, and there’s a lot of space in there,

except for the stage, which is tiny and tucked away in a corner, with a ceiling low enough that people were actually banging on it during the show.  Nobody cared about the tiny space.  The band showed up, and fans trickled in, and then everyone packed in in a mad rush, and it was pretty great.  I did actually see the band, in little glimpses, during sound check:

and then the rest of the show looked like this.


I didn’t mind a bit.  As much as I’ve enjoyed seeing them play, I just wanted to hear last night, and hear I did.  They didn’t have to slog through a downpour with all of their equipment, they didn’t have to call around and find a place with a stage, and they didn’t have to play their hearts out in the basement while people shot pool.  They could have said, oh well, rainout, we’re rescheduling anyway, let’s go find a place to have a beer.  They got up there and sang for free for a wildly happy crowd because they love what they do, and they love that people love it.

I love it when a plan comes together, but sometimes its even better when a plan falls apart.  Thanks for a great night, y’all.

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