Olospo, Bagg

Saturday, September 17, at the Granada Theatre

"This is just like church," Bagg drummer Grady Sandlin observed as he rode in a rented party bus back to Denton, after his band and headliners Olospo exhausted the Granada crowd with nearly six hours of jam-band improvisation and eclectic rock. The standing-room-only party bus shuttling Bagg's Denton fans to Dallas and back indeed bore a resemblance to a church shuttle taking rowdy kids to some deranged revival, but instead of being slain by the Spirit and flopping on the ground, these holy rollers noodle-danced to Bagg's jazzy, funky Dead-influenced grooves and the drum-tight Olospo's encyclopedic rock references and heroic guitar solos. On the bus, a cacophony of chatter and the sounds of sing-alongs with a guitarist and mandolin player drifted with marijuana smoke to the front. When drunken crew leaders weren't cracking jokes over the PA system or urging respect for the driver, they were calling out names of raffle ticket winners to claim plastic trinkets and candy. And as has happened on many a youth group bus trip, the good-natured but exasperated driver made an unexpected stop to maintain order--not to yell for quiet or tell people to stay seated, but rather to mutter, "I gotta pass a drug test," as he opened a ceiling hatch for ventilation. Most members of this Church of Fun were welcoming and accommodating, offering whiskey and weed to newcomers, while a few seemed to fear outsiders. Early in the ride to Dallas, the crew leaders tried to persuade me to "be discreet" in my description of the activities on the ride. When I made it clear that honesty was my policy, Jesse Duke-Sandlin--wife of Grady--grabbed the PA mike to announce, "The enemy is among us," making it clear I was about as welcome as a witch. So in that respect, sure, the whole ordeal was kinda like church, and while service didn't make a believer out of me, the faithful were more than pleased.

 
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