Dirty Sixth Street is still bustling with cars as I stare up at a giant plastic statue of a saddled rabbit inside the Jackalope. The jukebox struggles to drown out a plastic bucket drummer pounding away on the sidewalk.
An acoustic guitar and a blues ensemble battle for the few remaining pieces of dead air as barkers desperately beg tourists to step inside, their stained white bar towels dangle from their back pockets and swish from side to side.
It’s only a short walk to the box office at 3Ten, the sister club to the Moody Theater that hosts Austin City Limits. Ticket holders slowly file in and wait for the sold-out duo Heart Bones, a side project for Har Mar Superstar and local rocker Sabrina Ellis, ignoring the man constantly asking to buy one of their tickets to surely re-sell.
It would be impossible to know, judging by the crowd, that the concert was billed as a performance of the iconic 1980s soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. There’s not a single headband or pushed-up sport coat in sight.
Ellis kicks off the night with a solo performance before inviting Har Mar Superstar to the stage. They play the role of a shopping mall or dive bar lounge act, performing doo-wop covers and Bill Medley’s cruise ship infomercial standard “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”
Har Mar Superstar swings his arms while holding the mic as he shakes from side to side, like Jon Lovitz’ failed audition to Drew Barrymore in The Wedding Singer. The crowd erupts in applause while he dedicates the show to Patrick Swayze, pushing the crowd to drive up their enthusiasm.
By no fault of the entertaining duo, the crowd is essentially motionless, like a painful evening on the couch after Christmas dinner. I can’t help but wonder why I’ve seen greater enthusiasm for smoky DJ sets across town at Barbarella.
Maybe a social media check-in is the reason hundreds flocked to Second Street, a memory for their followers. The band is spot on, the entertainers note local and international recognition, the tickets are sold out — maybe they’ve had too much pecan pie?