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"We loved it," Hammond says, speaking over the phone from a 97's tour stop in Boston. "We've been playing there ever since. You identify some key great venues that, if I just played there the rest of my life, I'd be happy. Sons of Hermann is one of those places. It's just sopping with good vibes and atmosphere. We keep returning because we know how to do Sons of Hermann."
Indeed: For a time in 1997, Hammond briefly became one of the Hall's fraternity members—something that bands familiar with Sons have long been known to do, if only to benefit from the cheaper prices of renting the ballroom for performances. (And, OK, for the cheaper drink costs, too.) That's why Beau Wagener and several of his bandmates in The Crash That Took Me became members, at least.
"It's really pretty cool," Wagener says. "When it's empty, it can seem kind of cavernous, but when you're playing to a full room, it's great."
So that old, lonely appearance of Sons of Hermann Hall? Turns out, it's deceiving. Thanks to recent bookings from area companies such as Parade of Flesh, the venue has started hosting shows from younger acts with musical styles that differ from the previous years of country and roots bands.
Further proof that the venue still knows what's up in 2011: Sons of Hermann Hall now even has a Twitter account (@SonsofHermann). A recent tweet: "A challenge for you: Find a bar in Dallas older than Sons of Hermann Hall, and I will buy you a drink!"
Good luck with that one. Sons may be getting older. But it's not old just yet.