Last night was a major Team Demon/Dingus trip up to Denton to hear the Two and Three O'Clock Lab Bands at the Syndicate. Since it's spring break, we probably would have gone no matter which bands were playing, but it was a happy accident of scheduling that these two were the ones that were on tap for the night.
We had quite a crowd: Halfling sat in on improv, and Miles also came along when we were done with class; Fizban, Dingus and Demon Matt met us afterwards, Dingus squeezing himself into the back seat of Kevmobile 1.2 (a casualty of the "shotgun wars" with Halfling) and the other two following us in Fizban's truck.
We got there with about half an hour left in the Three O'Clock's set; I camped out in this band for many years in my college career, and Jay Saunders is doing a fine job with them. They had a lot of tunes that featured an alumni vibes player (I think he's an alum; I remember him from the mid '90's) which had originally been written for the noted vibist Terry Gibbs.
While they changed bands, we got to go through a massive "de-fictionalization" (the real world and the online world collide in friendly fashion) as the guys were introduced to J-Guar, who I think was really amazed to meet so many of the "stars" of this blog at the same time. We're all gonna hang out at some point when UNT gets back from their break.
The Two O'Clock took the stage in a bit; the level of soloing definitely rose a bit between the two bands (the lead tenor definitely had it goin' on, and the bassist, whom I knew in his North Garland days a while back, sounded great). I think for the first time I was really able to listen to these high-level bands from an educator's standpoint, especially the soloing (perhaps since I'd just come off a night of teaching improv).
I used to be in awe of the elite players at UNT, but I've come to realize, once I cast aside the usual "I suck"-ness with which I sometimes regard my own playing, that I'm in the league with a lot of them now (they just need to start granting doctorates in jazz so I can go back and make the One O'Clock someday). They played a lot of the cool lab band standards like "F.M." and "Three and One" (the bari/flugel/bass feature that I always like playing at camp), and Jim Riggs is wildly entertaining on the mic, just like he is in person.
Afterwards, we got to go to the Tomato, which thankfully is open until 1 on weeknights. Fizban said (halfway in jest?) that this was his main reason for the trip. The pizza was good as always, and it capped off the night in fine fashion. The trip back was uneventful (i.e. no cops *grin*), and one could only wish that traffic on Central were like its 1:45 a.m. self more often. Another awesome day...