Being a live music addict, you spend a lot of time in dark clubs, breathing cigarette smoke and dodging your way through drunks just to get near the stage. It's heaven on earth, for sure, but everyone should have a change of pace -- a little something now and again to cleanse the palette and clear out the lungs.
Last weekend, Euless was hosting Arbor Daze, an annual festival that's been going on for for twenty-plus years. To celebrate trees, they offer live music, fire trucks, crafts and countless food vendors. (No dogs are allowed, though -- which seems a little unfair considering how much dogs love trees.)
Some things about live music in the Metroplex never change, and the lack of free parking for this event certainly made me feel right at home. I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories, and my Masonic friends tell me that Masons don't really run the country -- but they sure as hell ran the parking at this event. I bribed one of them to let me park under some trees at the lodge so that I could hike to the music and have some hope of getting there before dark.
Yes, it was still afternoon when I arrived. We were out in the open, on the lawn, with world class music coming out of the speakers. Sunlight and fresh air seemed to smother the whole thing. There were kids running around, people eating BBQ from the legendary North Main BBQ, and it was all so uncommonly clean for a North Texas rock event.
The highlight of the festival for me? The inaccurately named Jace Bersin Trio. The band consists of Jace Bersin (of D Snacks and the Afterschool Special fame) on guitar, Miguel Fair on bass, Mike DeRammelaere on drums, Brandon Bumpas (of Velvet Lovebox) on percussion and Rene Ozuna on saxophone. You have to be able to count to be a musician, but count means something different in musician-speak.
With another stage across the field, bands had to compete for listeners. But word must have gotten out, because the bleachers in front of Jace soon started to fill up. Neill Schnell of Velvet Lovebox even showed up, and he's not usually seen before sunset.
The Jace Bersin Trio is an instrumental band, with a kind of cool, precise, funky, almost jazz feel. Most instrumentals often turn self-indulgent, and playing nothing but instrumentals to a non-jazz audience seldom works. But these guys kept the audience right there through the whole show, and me along with them. You have to have something to say, musically, and Jace Bersin does that. They kept enough of a consistent thread from song to song for continuity, and yet we got jazz fusion, rock and funk -- all righteously executed.
I honestly didn't see too many trees during my time in Euless, but I also didn't stray far from the music. It was worth the trek to the mid-Cities, worth braving the sunlight and fresh air, even worth the hike from the Masonic lodge. If you're into trees, be sure to check out the Arbor Daze event next year; and if you're into good music, check out Jace Bersin as soon as possible.