Enter the Paper Tiger


Turnt Up Texas at the Paper Tiger in San Antonio, Texas

Walking up the gritty, sand-like pathway to the Paper Tiger, I stop for a moment and soak up the atmosphere. Both my left and right sides are surrounded by familiar painted brick enclosures and directly in front of me is an alcohol oasis.

I walk up to the bar and nod to the staff. They passively yet gleefully reciprocate my subtle greeting as I have a split-second internal battle. “Are the concoctions listed on the chalkboard all they got, or are they holding out on me?” I think to myself.

“Lonestar?” I ask.

“Yup” the bartender answers.

This was the first time I had been to the Paper Tiger since it was “slightly” renovated and changed over from the iconic, White Rabbit. I must say, this venue holds the same awesomeness I remember as a green eyed teenager, yet the atmosphere has increased in the sophistication factor. Not that it’s some hoity toity hipster paradise. In fact, it now seems to cater to all kinds of crowds instead of just the rock/punk scene. Change is good.

The music bill of the night read as such: Akasha Glow, Rivers Want, Antique Sunlight, The Gentlemen Swank.

No, you’re not time traveling back to the 60’s or 70’s. These bands exist today. They’re quite good too.

Akasha Glow was the first band I had the pleasure to experience aurally. To me, they sounded like if James Brown [R.I.P.] did some cocaine, picked up a guitar and started playing At The Drive-In and Mars Volta cover songs. In the video below, they played one of their more mellow tracks which followed a blisteringly-head-banging-yet-psychedelic-vision-inducing tune about God knows what.

Did I mention that Bear Lee was swallowing swords?

He should really consider changing his stage name to Sawyer Swarovski the Sword Swallower, because you know, alliteration.

What you can’t see during the video is an audience member curling up in the fetal position (still standing) and about to collapse to the ground. Apparently, some people just can’t handle watching these types of feats. I was pretty impressed watching him almost non-chalantly devouring the swords and bringing them back up, which got me wondering: how did he get into this profession?

Bear learned his technique from sword swallowing great, Red Stuart. Red has graduated to swallowing car axels on a daily basis, so teaching Bear to swallow a sword was a piece of cake. All Bear had to do was avoid disemboweling himself. No pressure, right?

After the sword swallowing and music was over, Rivers Want setup and took the stage. They sounded pretty good from the outdoor alcohol hub but unfortunately, I missed their entire set. I had sat down and interviewed Bear and Akasha Glow right after they got off stage and it took a little longer than I had anticipated. Sorry guys!

You can check out the candid interviews here:

I stopped by the bar to grab another cup of water *suspiciously looks around* and headed back into the back room for another music fix.

This time around, I was experiencing the note crafting and sound manipulation of Antique Sunlight. They were a very straightforward southern rock with a hint of The Smiths and a dash of the Doors.

Last but not least, we have The Gentlemen Swank. Tonight was their Album release party and as they took the stage, I sensed this would be an unforgettable performance. Luckily, not one soul packed into the back room was let down. They put on one hell of a show and here’s a highlight from it:

All in all, tonight was a great night. Why more people weren’t there, I’ll never know. I do know that there’s always excuses, but you know what they say about those…

Signing off.

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