What do bikers, octogenarians, painters, long-time musicians, neighborhood moms and college students have in common—at least in Lakewood, Dallas? If you’ve ever been to The Goat, “Your Neighborhood Blues Bar”, down at the end of Gaston on Karaoke night, you’d know the answer to that question.
I hadn’t been to the place in years and, being a Monday night at eight o’clock, it was still pretty empty. The regular blues band, made up primarily of Tony DeCicco and Perry Jones, was just getting set up and there were only a few regulars at the bar, but by the time I left an hour later people were starting to trickle in. I’m sure that by ten o’clock it would be rocking.
The last time I had come to The Goat, it was a Wednesday evening, Karaoke night, and what had amazed me was the diversity of people playing pool, singing, dancing and drinking beer peacefully together, no hassles, no loud judgement calls. There was a local motorcycle club in one corner, a group of Mexican lawn workers in another, a gaggle of women “of a certain age” at the bar, young college-aged men trying diligently to pick them up, and a few (loudly and constantly self-proclaimed) “Dykes on a mission” giving some of the best renditions of KD Lang songs outside of Nashville.
There are so few places where the masses mingle in such an egalitarian way. Part of it is good music, a common denominator like no other. Part of it is the way the owners refuse to be exclusionary in their attitudes—“Hey, you’re nice to us, so we’ll be nice to you”— aesthetics and decor (a sort of Baltimore Harbor Renaissance). And part of it is just the je nais se quoi of cool.
Detective Betty chimes in: “I come here sometimes with my work partner, Seth, to unwind. It takes a few beers to get him going, but he knocks out a version of Roky Erickson’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me” that will knock your socks off.”