September 29, 2016

On Tour With Belle Noire: Day 24


A noisy Walmart parking lot woke us up just outside the city limits of Austin. The reviews of this particular Walmart weren’t very favoring and it was easy to see why. Customers drove around recklessly honking and littering trash out of their windows. Despite this irritating all of us, we were surprisingly rested and in decent moods. Each of us got 9 or more hours of sleep. The quality of sleep was debatable, but it was much needed sleep nonetheless.

We had the entire day to ourselves. Load in wasn’t until 6pm and we were ready to start the day at 9am. We navigated to 3 various Verizon stores before we were able to get Dan a new phone. The other night in New Orleans had claimed yet another victim in our group. With that squared away, we headed towards a small gentrified area just south of the Austin to park for the day. The area was filled with re-purposed metal shipping containers turned bars, restored log cabins into beer gardens, and enough fancy hotels to make South Park proud. Dan zoomed off on his bike to explore the city and earn some extra cash as the rest of us ventured into downtown.

This visit marked my second time in Austin. I previously visited on a work conference two years ago and fell in love with the city. Nearly every local I talked to on my previous visit had warned me that 6th street had a very love/hate preference to it. It can be overwhelming with its tenacity at times and many locals only venture there sparingly. 6th street is jam packed with rowdy bars, cheap drinks and traveling tourists looking for a good time. Luckily it was still early afternoon and the streets weren’t busy so we made our way through 6th street easily and headed towards the capital building. The building was deep in history and an architectural marvel. We took our time exploring the various courtrooms and talked about how much this place had helped shape the laws of the state.

The day flew by. We were fortunate enough to snag great parking after load in and went in search of food. I found an outdoor beer garden that bordered a creek just a few blocks from the venue. Roman joined me and remarked about the restaurants similarity to San Antonio. It sounded like a place I need to visit. We split a sandwich and gulped down some local beers before heading back to the venue.

The show was at The Dirty Dog bar/venue. I had been there previously to see Emery and knew how amazing the place could be. Belle Noire would be headlining tonight and we hoped the crowd would stick around. The opening act, Atlas Mason, showed a lot of potential for a new band and won me over.


I wandered around 6th street after the first act to get a feel for the city on a Tuesday night. It was still much the same as when I was there before, but it was missing the warmth I felt last time. In my previous experience, the locals were enthusiastic about living in the city and encouraged me to do the same. My experience this time felt colder and akin to that of a desperate tourist. 6th street is only a small part of the city, but it was a section that I enjoyed. Seeing a half dozen people injecting heroin into their veins and peaking through the windows of our van put a sour taste in my mouth. I hope my next experience in Austin is better than this one.

Belle Noire played a tight set with a great amount of energy. Everything always seems to click when they’re headlining shows. Which is funny considering they typically don’t like to. We headed north of downtown for a hotel in yet another sketchy area of the city and made camp for the night. Thanks to the continued optimism of the band, I was able to shrug off my bad experience in Austin and fall asleep unburdened.

Written by: Patrick Marion

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