Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Oxford Town

I took another trip to Oxford, MS a couple of weekends ago. Josh and Jess Green accompanied me. The main purpose of the trip was to see Dinosaur Jr. play, but we got into some other things as well. Before we hit the road, we stopped by Oz Music in Tuscaloosa to support Record Store Day. I came away with the Sonic Youth/Jay Reatard Split 7", Tom Waits - Live 7", and Guided By Voices - Hold On Hope 12" EP.

After dropping off our scores at my apartment, we got going.

We stopped in Guin, AL to eat at a restaurant called the Frosty Front. I was starving and didn't look over their menu as well as I should have, which resulted in a quick decision for a mediocre order of chicken fingers. I should have gone for a patty melt or a Cajun chicken sandwich. Maybe I'll end up passing by it another time.

Once in Mississippi, we had to take the dreaded Natchez Trace Parkway. It's scenic, but has a tendency to get me lost. Luckily it did not defeat me....on the way there.

We arrived in Oxford and checked into our hotel room and chilled out for a few minutes while watching Alabama's A-Day broadcast on ESPNU. Ole Miss's scrimmage game was also that day, so this was a good way to avoid the crowded campus until that was over. We then headed out to find William Faulkner's home, aka Rowan Oak. That ended up taking much longer than expected, and we ended up arriving 10 or 15 minutes before they closed. Here are a few photos I snapped quickly while we were there:

(Faulkner's Typewriter)

(Notes for "A Fable" on the walls)

The house and the area surrounding it were really great to see, even while rushed. It looked like the perfect environment for writing. After circling the grounds, we drove over to Faulkner's grave site.

After that, we headed to The Square, and spotted J. Mascis hanging out by the venue.

(Phone booth party)

While shopping at Off Square Books (The used book companion to the mighty Square Books), we discovered that Lou Barlow had done an in store performance there earlier in the day. What a bummer. Had I known about it beforehand, I would have made it a point to be there on time. I tried not to think about it too much, and drowned my sorrows in a couple of bags full of books I didn't need to spend money on.

It was high time for food. We went to the Ajax Diner, which I hadn't given a shot in my two other trips to Oxford.

Cheese fries with brown gravy as an appetizer. It was obviously my kind of place. I had a burger with a side of excellent has brown casserole. We headed back to the hotel to rest a bit after this huge meal, and get ready for the show.

The venue, Proud Larry's, was smaller than I expected. We got a good spot up front and held onto it as best we could. Dead Confederate opened, and they held my attention for about 3 songs. One of the coolest things I spotted while inside Proud Larry's was a poster from a Warren Zevon show there in 1997. It would have been mind blowing to see him in such a small place. Dinosaur Jr. took the stage after a relatively long set change, and sounded great. Lou pointed out that J. normally plays out of three stacks (He was playing out of two and a combo amp at this show), and that when they go to Japan, he plays out of four. It still sounded louder than an average band to me. They played all the "hits", a handful of songs from Beyond, a new song, and encored with "In A Jar" and "Just Like Heaven." I snagged the setlist. Hopefully I can find a cheap frame to put it in.

After the show, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep, and got up relatively early the next morning to check out a bit of Ole Miss's campus and eat before heading back home. We ended up dining at a place called Sugar Brown's Southern Table. It was excellent, and literally every waitress in the place was cute as hell to boot.

(My choice for the day: Biscuits topped with smoked pork, scrambled eggs, and bean/tomato gravy. Very southwestern and very good.)

(Josh had burger topped with BBQ. I somewhat regret not ordering this. I believe Jess had a chicken salad sandwich, which didn't look anywhere near as gluttonous and beautiful as our meals, haha.)

We headed back home after our meal. Of course, the Natchez Trace got the best of me on the way home, and we ended up wasting a few minutes.

(This tower says "Punkin Water")

All in all, it was an awesome trip.