Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ramblings:-->ShamRock Lounge Shuffleboard & Low Red Land

"I don't remember how I got this way.
I don't recall what happened yesterday.
I don't remember what I did last night.
But I know I was feelin' all right."
Edgar Winter Group
Last summer I was introduced to an entertaining game provided by the The ShamRock Lounge at 1724 W. Douglas in Wichita, KS and it has since become a ritual of mine for loosening up the stress belt of college life.

Along with sharing a pitcher or two of some good-ol’-what-ever-it-is, this centuries-old game, Shuffleboard, has proven to be deceivingly simple to play and beautifully designed. But unfortunately, time has not been kind to this game and it has been mostly relegated to a barroom footnote.
Vintage Shuffleboard at Shamrock
Shuffleboard, (for those not initiated), is played on a long narrow polished wooden table and originated in England during the 16th century. It soon became very, very popular. So much so, necessary chores became dreadfully abandoned, causing town leaders to ban the trendy game just so people would start getting their work done. Indeed, even William Shakespeare makes mention of this Shuffleboard diversion in his works.

We, of the United States persuasion, got our first taste of Shuffleboard sometime around the Civil War, and it experienced a steady progression in popularity up until the time of Prohibition.
After WW II, Shuffleboard began to experience its greatest growth.

Taverns were providing one or more tables for their customers with leagues and tournaments being run regularly. And the beer joints didn’t have dibs on this great game, either. It was not unusual to find a Shuffleboard table set up in hospitals and fraternal meeting places. Even youth groups were provided with the opportunity to play.

The unfortunate demise of Shuffleboard seems to have occurred when the endless variety of electronic games became the entertainment of choice in the early ‘80s. Soon, finding a tavern that offered this offbeat game was harder than finding someone who would admit owning the entire catalog of Culture Club. And sadly, Shuffleboard became nothing more than a game our fathers used to play.

Fortunately, The ShamRock Lounge (and a hand-full of other spots around town) offers a beautiful table on which to hone your skills.

Everything about this game feels right.
The wooden tabletop shines and is lightly dusted with friction sand to make the metal discs glide smoothly as if moving in slow motion.
The round metal discs have a nice weight to them and feel cool to the touch.
The unique clicking sound the discs make when bumping into each other is strangely music to the ear. And the basic rule of the game is uncomplicated. Send your disc gliding closest to the other end of the table without it falling off the edge and you score.
Believe me, this is easier said than done.

All the nuances of this grand game provide (for me, anyway) a gentle, calming blanket against the oft-times unfair velocity life forces us to travel. For now, playing Shuffleboard takes me back to what certainly was a slower era, and I can almost feel myself journeying in time, rubbing shoulders with my ancestors as I send another metal disc gliding slowly toward the edge of the table. “Whose turn is it to buy the next pitcher? And are we blue or red?”

Indie Introduction:

Low Red Land

There is something refreshingly real about this San Francisco band...Low Red Land...that borders on dangerous. With biting Southern tang mixed with some rural can almost imagine Steve Earle fronting for My Morning Jacket.

In fact, this three man forest fire (Ben Thorne, Neil Thompson, Mark DeVito) oft-times drifts into deliciously strange jams only to bring it all together with well-written lyrics delivered in Low Red Land style. Check these lyrics!
"There are people who hit so hard you lose your sense of fear,
But you won't be spitting blood all by yourself."
(Dreams That Heroes Dream)
That's a bad-ass line.
And they seem to have many interesting ideas that fortunately will keep this band from becoming accursed as a one-note wonder. They offer mp3 samples here.
Low Red Land is real, indeed. Good Stuff!
Low Red Land:-->"Elijah's Church" off Weight Of Nations <--(Their 1st CD).
Well...That's my Indie Intro this week. Throw a little support their way.

Edgar Winter Group:-->"We All Had A Real Good Time" off
They Only Come Out At Night (1972) (Own This CD)


-tom said...

great post !

Unknown said...

Low Red Land is has worked its way into my all time favorite bands list. I've been keeping up with them on their new kyte video blog where they have been posting video of what they are up to and even some sweet live music! They even have it embedded on their myspace page, check it out