Tonight’s guest blog was written by Stephen who had one wild ass night at the Sleigh Bells show. He should have stayed for CSS! And thankfully Granada did buy M Street Bar. Coming in 2012 yall! Anyway, enjoy the epic tale of bad decisions & dodged bullets.
We were sitting at a bus stop, my best friend and I, but we weren’t waiting on a bus. It was early, before 8am. I was shaking almost uncontrollably and nursing a coffee and I had no idea where my car was. My best friend’s shorts were covered in blood. Just 12 hours earlier, we’d been watching Sleigh Bells at their sold out show at the Granada.
I live in Houston but I frequent Dallas as much as I can. It’s a prettier city, a hipper city. I’d heard stories about the Granada Theatre, how it was so old but such an awesome venue. Sleigh Bells/CSS would be my first show ever at the Granada. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Sleigh Bells is a newer act and the shows I’d seen live on the internet or on TV just weren’t that good. I love Sleigh Bells, I think they’re a revolutionary new band in a more and more stagnating music scene. They just weren’t that good live.
But then I thought of something. I’d only seen them on devices with small speakers. I wasn’t getting the full Sleigh Bells effect. Now I had second thoughts about how good the show might turn out to be. I was as close to the stage as the staff would let me. Then the lights went down and the crowd went up and the opening hook to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” tore my eardrums apart. When Sleigh Bells then began “Crown On The Ground”, I knew this was the best show I’d ever been too.
I will apologize in advance for sneaking a flask of vodka into the show because I didn’t know the Granada had such decent prices on booze, a rarity in many concert venues back home in Houston. Me and my best friend took turns on the flask and cans of PBR while Sleigh Bells burned the stage apart with every song in their small catalog. Even the repetitive “A/B Machines” and their song “Holly”, which wasn’t even on the instant classic record, “Treats”. I didn’t know anything could be that loud without destroying everything around it but…It. Was. Loud.
Alexis and Derek kept their mystique, never once engaging with the crowd but it worked. They gave everyone aneurisms via strobe lights and the bombastic sound they’d become famous for having. For the first time, I felt like I got my money’s worth at this show, and I’ve been to many a show.
Then Sleigh Bells finished and the lights went back down. Here was my first mistake. I should have stayed for CSS. I love CSS and it would probably be a long time before I’d see them again. But I didn’t stay. I left to meet some friends at midnight bowling. I didn’t have too much to drink and I’d stopped drinking an hour before the show ended, something I always do when I may have to drive.
Next door to the Granada is M Street Bar. It was my friend’s birthday the next day and he wanted to have a couple more drinks to celebrate. I reluctantly agreed and went into the bar. We had a couple drinks, yes, but then my friend noticed an expensive looking bottle behind the bar. The bartender informed us that it was Louie XIII, the notoriously expensive Cognac. I would never afford the stuff by my friend insisted on two drinks, one for me, one for him. It was his birthday, right?
The bartender gets the manager and pours our drinks. My friend reaches for his and spills it. Everyone’s jaws dropped I think. But my friend ordered another drink and we were ready. With Louie XIII, or any older liquor, you are supposed to sip the drink. It’s not a shot. Nobody told us this so we took the drinks like shots. Here’s my next mistake.
I have a good friend who lived around the block from the Granada. My best friend’s sister could have picked us up and taken us home. But for some regretful reason, I drove. What happened next is a series of blurred snapshots. It went like this: Hit a curb, tried in vain to find which tire was blown out (it later turned out to be 2 tires), a crowd of people walked by and asked us if we needed help, then there were the police lights, then there was the struggle, then there was the cop telling me not to puke somewhere. I did it anyway, not my proudest moment.
I woke up in the hospital talking to a nurse. She informed me that I wasn’t in any legal trouble and I was “a lovely drunk”. In my clear bag of belongings was the flask I’d snuck into the show and all of my other stuff. I was wearing the concert t-shirt I’d bought at the show and it was now encrusted with a small splash of vomit. I was sure i was going to be arrested.
My friend was in the next room and proceeded to pull out his IV because he wanted to leave, thus spraying blood everywhere “like a fountain”. This is what happens when you listen to bands like Sleigh Bells.
There were no charges pressed, which I found perplexing. My car had been towed so we walked about 2 miles to a bus stop to wait for a friend who’d finally called us back. I felt awful.
My car was totaled. I cracked an engine block. After it was done, the Sleigh Bells show had cost me somewhere around $5,000. But my life was changed. This was my one big screw up. I cut back immensely on my drinking and now getting behind the wheel isn’t an option at all after drinking. I grew up after this event, which most likely was a close call with death.
I recently returned to the Granada to see The Sounds and thankfully, M Street Bar is now closed.