by: Thomas D. Mooney
Six Market Blvd. has been on a string of reunion shows where, for all intents and purposes, the term “reunion” is used rather loosely. It’s only been a couple of years since the Stephenville-based band called it quits. When they started playing shows again earlier this year, it didn’t feel as though they were ever even gone.
Nothing stays the same though. Time touches everything.
It was December 2013 when 6MB announced that they would be on an infinite hiatus. Since then, the major cogs in 6MB have gone on to other enterprises. In the three years, they’ve done more individually than they had as a band–or could have together. That’s not a knock; it’s reality.
Now, this isn’t going to be a “If 6MB stayed together, the Texas Music world would be a better place” or a “Here’s 11 reasons why 6MB should have stayed together (You won’t believe in #4) kind of piece.
Could have 6MB gone on to do grand things? Sure. But more than anything, they were a band of a time and place.
They wrapped up this reunion run last night in Lubbock at The Blue Light. They were as top-notch as they’ve ever been. But it’s like a dream. Something’s off and it’s only when you awake when you become aware of the glaring warp, omissions, etc of the dream. The music, it’s the same. It’ll always be the same. The strangeness–it’s you, me, them, and us. The collective whole.
To fully understand why, you have to go back.
There was a stretch of time when 6MB was the biggest damn band in Lubbock. While their two studio albums–Running on Seven and Shake It Down–sound good, their live shows is where you truly became a fan of the band. Always a sellout. Asses to elbows. Every damn time. They’d finish their set with a round of beer being thrown around and being flung off the ceiling fans. Beer soaked floors, backwards cap, long beards, sweat, Apple burns, cigarette smoke (This was back when you could smoke in Blue Light), more Apple burns, Lone Star, another round of Apple burns, rinse, repeat, repeat.
Hot off the adrenaline rush of the show, you’d end up at The Castle House–at a time, the epicenter of Friday & Saturday nights. Never too crazy, but plenty of excess that’d perhaps rival any spot in or around town. The sprawling house had plenty of space to find your conversation/activity of choice without being on top of another. In a way, kind of the antithesis of that night at BL. A nice decompressing zone. Ultimately, you’d smoke away your pack of cigarettes, empty any and all remnants of alcohol on the premises, and sometimes, end up at Jake’s at 8 in the morning for a couple more rounds and healthy conversation. Sometimes, you’d find yourself just sitting on the back porch, pulling out your sunglasses to fight back the rising sun.
Naturally, most talk circled back to music. We’d come up with ridiculous hypotheticals and questions about the music of Jerry Jeff Walker, Kings of Leon, The Band, The Strokes, the underrated Mick Jagger and difficult Keith Richards relationship, and really, the happenings of Texas music at large.
All of that though, it almost doesn’t even matter. The reason the afterparties were even cool is solely because of the band playing. The bigger and the better show, the better the rest of the night and next morning was going to be.
Fastforward to last night. Walking into the back patio of Blue Light, the first person I see is Ben Hussey. We grab a seat and talk. Danny Cadra is playing on the stage with his cowboy cool croon in full force. Usually, Hussey and I, we just go into music talk, but I guess because of the nature of the night, we just talked about old days–not necessarily the better than present old days, but good nonetheless. You wouldn’t redo them a different way, but you’re not exactly looking to repeat them in the present either.
Now, it’s not all Hank Williams Jr “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down).” But it’s kind of the Lite version–Topo Chico and coffee took the place of pills and ninety-proof–you get the point.
Old faces show up and it kind of becomes a night of nostalgia .As much as it is a band playing, it’s the people who show up that throw the nostalgia into a higher gear. Newer folks show up and you talk and realize this is their first (and last) time seeing 6MB. That’s not being an elitist either. It’s just an “oh wow, I never thought about that being the case for about half the crowd” kind of enlightenment. Their impressions of the band rest largely on that night’s show.
6MB start playing. It’s finishing their set without a round of beer being thrown around and being flung off the ceiling fans. Beer soaked floors, same backwards cap, longer beards, sweat, Apple burns, no cigarette smoke (Blue Light is a non-smoking facility), maybe another Apple burn, Lone Star, no more Apple burns, rinse,
repeat. It’s the singalong to “Silence in Me,” the “is that a Kings of Leon cover?,” the “I ain’t worried about shit like that.”
It’s the show, the song, the conversation. A band of the times.
Enjoy the Salad Days while you still can. You never know when it’ll be the last time you see a band play–even when it’s your first time.