Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Black Angels -- "Entrance Song" (2010)

Rolling fast down I-35
Supersonic overdrive
Interstate 35 is the third-longest north-south interstate highway in the United States.  Its southern terminus is in Laredo, Texas, and its northern terminus is 1568 miles away, in Duluth, Minnesota.

On the way from Laredo to Duluth, I-35 passes through San Antonio, Austin, Ft. Worth-Dallas, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, Des Moines, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. 

Do you know how U.S. highways are numbered?  There's a very elaborate system -- with numerous arbitrary exceptions, of course.  (After all, this is the federal government we're talking about, boys and girls.)

But generally speaking, the primary interstate highways have two-digit numbers.  East-west interstates have even numbers, and north-south interstates have odd numbers.  

The numbers of the odd-numbered interstate highways increase as you go from west to east.  The numbers of even-numbered interstates increase as you go from south to north.  (That's the exact opposite of how the older U.S. highways were numbered.)

The San Antonio Museum of Art
from across the Paseo del Rio
Interstate 35 passes over the northern part of the San Antonio River Walk.  That stretch of the Paseo del Rio -- which opened to the public on my 57th birthday -- is called the "Museum Reach."

This part of the River Walk takes you past the San Antonio Museum of Art.  That museum is housed in the original Lone Star Brewery, which operated from 1895 until Prohibition.

This summer, the museum is featuring a Matisse exhibit:

Matisse's "The Horse,
the Rider, and the Clown"
Just a couple of blocks east of the museum is another noteworthy civic institution, The Luxury:

The Luxury is pretty much an open-air establishment.  It is decorated mostly with cactuses (or cacti, if you prefer) planted in oil drums:

But mostly it has beer.  Here's only a small part of its draft beer menu:

That's a serious beer list, boys and girls.  (By the way, the first figure represents the cost of a pint -- the second figure is the cost of a pitcher.)

And the Luxury has a bocce court:

Given that a winning score in bocce is 7 to 13 points (local rules vary) you would think that players could keep track of the score in their heads.  But The Luxury's bocce court is equipped with a scoreboard:

That scoreboard comes in handy for The Luxury's addlepated beer-imbibing bocce players.

One of the featured brands at The Luxury is St. Arnold's, which claims to be the oldest craft brewery in Texas.

St. Arnold's is named for a 7th-century bishop -- Arnold, or Arnulf -- who hailed from Metz, a northeastern French city that's just a stone's throw from the Belgian and German borders.  Arnold is considered by some to be the patron saint of brewers, in part because of "The Legend of the Beer Mug":

St. Arnold of Metz
From Wikipedia:

It was July 642 and very hot when the parishioners of Metz went to Remiremont to recover the remains of their former bishop.  They had little to drink and the terrain was inhospitable.  At the point when the exhausted procession was about to leave Champigneulles, one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed, “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.”  Immediately the small remnant of beer at the bottom of a pot multiplied in such amounts that the pilgrims' thirst was quenched and they had enough to enjoy the next evening when they arrived in Metz.  

That's a wonderful variation on the story of the loaves and fishes, isn't it?

Personally I think the folks at St. Arnold's Brewing Company are a bit confused.  

St. Arnold of Soissons,
stirring a mash tun
Most people consider a different saint, the 11th-century St. Arnold of Soissons, to be the patron saint of brewers -- especially Belgian brewers (who are the greatest brewers in the world).  

The Black Angels are a psychedelic band from Austin who supposedly took their name from the Velvet Underground song, "The Black Angel's Death Song."

But the liner notes to their first album include this quote from artist Edvard Munch, which might have inspired the band's name: "Illness, insanity, and death are the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life."

Based on that, do you think their music might be a little depressing?  (Does the Pope sh*t in the woods?)

The Phosphene Dream album cover
"Entrance Song" was released in 2010 on the band's third studio album, Phosphene Dream.

Here's "Entrance Song":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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