It was a tough choice Saturday on where in Fort Worth to go for music. We had Spoonfed Tribe tearing it up at Lola's, but I found myself feeling kinda homesick. You see, the Seventh Street corridor may be the showplace of music in Funkytown, but the scene was born over on Berry Street. Josh Weathers, the Quaker City Night Hawks -- you name the band, and you can almost bet it started out at the Berry/University corner. So I headed to the Cellar.
One of the oldest bars in the Fort, the Cellar is rumored to have been serving drinks during Prohibition. The bar itself is underground, with live music in an add-on section up the stairs. It oozes atmosphere, and you can duck out the back door and load up on tacos at the Salsa Limón food truck just off the outdoor patio. I recommend the barbacoa (traditionally made from the head of a cow -- a smile in every bite), loaded with cilantro, onions and pickled cabbage.
Back inside, while the band was setting up, Quaker City Night Hawks, Transistor Tramps, Josh Irwin and My Wooden Leg wafted out of the house PA. I remembered all the great times I've had here, seeing those very bands, and I hoped the night's act would be another good memory in the making. I was not disappointed.
Igneous Grimm took the stage, consisting of cousins Ryan and Jody Elmore (guitar/vocals), David Vaughn (drums), Zach Stevens (bass) and Ben Hance (keyboards). This stuff, intentional or not, fits into the neopsychedelic happening going on in Funkytown. Although the songs are originals (lyrics by the Elmores), you get a taste of latter-day Beatles at one point, a touch of Dylan at another. It's more melodic and laid-back than some other local bands in this genre, but just as honest. You even get hints of early Pink Floyd.
Igneous Grimm already has a strong following. The crowd grew thick, and personal space was out the window. People sat wherever they could find a place -- and that's how the Cellar has built such an amazing neighborhood culture in a locale inhabited by transient college students. There's no room in this place to be standoffish.
Near the end, the band took kind of a sharp turn with a song called Don't Blame the Darkness. I couldn't help but think of Alice Cooper during this track (an idea that seemed to mortify Ryan).
"That song," said Ryan, "is about how people blame the devil and the darkness and the serpent and Satan for everything that really is their own fault. That's what it's about to me, anyway -- could be about anything to anybody, really. It's all about the person perceiving it, and how they choose to apply it to their own life. That's what I hope to achieve, anyway, from the lyrics."
Back to the psychedelic. The band switched to a song called The Air You Displace. It conjured up memories of Eric Burdon and War. The instrumentals showed nice songwriting, and the vocals, which had been rough in places throughout the night, were spot-on for this one. Igneous Grimm fills a niche that Fort Worth's psychedelic movement needed -- something more thoughtful and reflective.
You can check out the band on its website, www.igneousgrimm.com. Grimm's first album, The Man Outside, is available for free download. A second effort, Everything Is the Same Thing, is planned for summer. I highly recommend you check these guys out in person, though; this kind of music lives and breathes with the crowd around it. And when you feel like you've seen every act out there, meet me back on Berry Street. Something new is happening all the time.