Standing on Avenue B downtown is a small building that invites, even encourages passersby to exercise their imaginations. The tiny white structure looks foreboding to some, unsettling to others, and condemned to most. I was definitely off-put as I stepped out of my car to investigate this out-of-the-way music venue. But my friends who told me about it had said that it was a great place to catch a mid-week show. So, I found myself peering into a dark interior through an entrance sized for a closet. From the walls adorned with bumper stickers to the plain concrete floor stained with beer, this place was decidedly not my regular haunt. My anxious inspection was interrupted by the bouncer telling me the cover for the evening; handing him a crisp 10, I stepped inside to see what this uncommon evening might hold.
The bar offers an assortment of beers, focusing on Texas brews; grabbing a trusty Lone Star, I walked the five feet over to the main area just as the band was finishing their sound check. My eyes wandered around the interior once they had adjusted. The whole place couldn't have been more than 1,000 square feet, but it felt smaller than my college dorm room. Small groups of punk-rockers talking over smokes occupied the back patio, accessed through a door directly opposite the stage. Ah, the stage. The band took up the whole thing, giving them a larger than life feel. The sound was good; a couple of quality stacks flanked the front, while cords led to a simple Mac and soundboard on the side.
As that night's band, Othello, started playing, people streamed in from the patio and the front door, drawn in by the smooth R&B infused melody. Pretty soon the place was full, and I was pressed against the sidewall by the churning crowd. The night picked up and a couple of bands came and went. I don't know quite when it happened, but suddenly I was at home at The Ten Eleven. I looked around and saw friends and family of the bands. I saw punks, goths, and rockers, young and old. And they were all having a great time together. I felt privileged to be a part of it, and I look forward to my next visit. And I assure you — there will be another visit.
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