Deep Ellum has been chomping at the bit at the chance to reopen but will patrons return this weekend to bars in the area?

Dallas County is in Phase Two of reopening businesses and this weekend marks the date many people in the service industry have looked forward to; the reopening of watering holes, dive bars, and all those places in between that serviced us with the sinful spirits before the Bat Flu Outbreak. The Governor’s Plan to Reopen Texas and Phase Two marks May 22 as the day people can return to the places that have been closed. Of course there are restrictions like places must observe the 25% of occupancy, social distancing must be enforced with the removal of tables or signs that remind patrons to keep a distance between them and others. You can read all the other requirements and restrictions here because I’m not going to repeat what every other article talks about. How boring, right? Yawn…

In these days of Americans donning face coverings, participating in social distancing, and an increased awareness in handwashing and hygiene, having had to shelter in place for the better part of two months, will this have an impact on those who made going out a priority before the #lockdown? Or will Americans, specifically those that live in Dallas, decide to continue to stay in? Have they had a change of heart or has the #lockdown created a reorg in their priorities?

Last week, the Manfriend and I had an itch to go out, like go somewhere and have dinner. We have been grabbing take out here and there since the opening of restaurants here in Deep Ellum, but we decided to go out. I’ll be honest, it felt a little strange in a strange way; I can’t describe how at first sitting in the booth at one of the restaurants open in Deep Ellum felt. It just did. But as time went by and we got our drinks, then our food, the feeling of normalcy returned to a degree. It didn’t feel like we were doing something “bad” or that we were going against the herd. I felt a layer of this invisible shroud fall off and I could breathe a little easier.

Then earlier this week, close to dusk, I heard drums pounding from what seemed to be coming from somewhere down the street. This wasn’t a beat or booms in a recorded track; these were slaps on skins that echoed and bounced down the buildings. Like I heard the crack on the snare and knew that someone close was playing the drums. Triggered by the lack of live music over the past 2 months, of course I immediately followed the “noise” like a rat would the stench of cheese.

Low and behold, there was a drum set, drummer, guitar and amp, guitarist, and a rudimentary PA with a mic and a singer, all wired up and connected to the battery of a Jeep parked on the side of the street. And while the players weren’t attached to the Jeep’s power source, they might as well have been because they were firing off sparks as they played some crude semblance of metal that grabbed on to any one in earshot.

Y’all, it was loud AF. Of course, I think anything would be loud AF after not hearing live music for over 2 months, but I didn’t care, nor did the people that were standing there listening. They were called to the source just like I was and stood there in amazement as they played – social distances kept and all.

I went back like three times during the band’s long jam and watched. The crowd didn’t fill the street or cause any kind of disturbance; even the police circled a few times just to make sure all was well (or were like the rest of us, intrigued by the sound of live music again filling Elm Street). And as they played, I realized how much I missed my ears being filled with live music and how much my soul was being energized just from the drums, guitar, and garbled vocals. I didn’t know the songs, couldn’t understand the lyrics, and didn’t know the players from Adam but I felt the measures kickstart my coronavirused heart.

Even though live music won’t be a part of this weekend’s reopening of venues in Deep Ellum, I believe it is something that Dallasites need, even if they don’t know it or even if they’ve become used to sheltering in place. They need to feel the beat from drums and the wailing of a guitar. They need to hear a voice scream and sing into a mic; they need to feel the passion that musicians have for their art come at them with a quickness. They need this. We need this to snap us back into reality; to get back to the evidentiary truth that being alive is better than being afraid.

Life is waiting for us, Lovelies. Just beyond the threshold; it’s waiting to be embraced like never before. Come out and give the world a hug, it needs you! Just make sure you have the required by mandate or county order’s PPE on hand, just for compliance sake…

Be safe out there, y’all!

Til Next Time – MRML – CHERRI