I like to think I’m pretty clued up when it comes to genres of music. Turns out I’d missed one.

When several very cool people recommend a place to you completely independently and unbeknownst to each other, that’s a sign that you really should go check that place out. That place was The Mussel Inn, just outside a town called Tekaka, and it’s a little bit special.

Tekaka itself is worth a mention, a sweet little town with lots of art galleries, organic food shops, quirky café’s and crafts places that feels a little bit like a wandering group of artists and hippies have somehow taken over a turn-of-the century mid-west frontier town – ‘The Good Life’ meets ‘Little House on The Prairie.’

Head north out of Tekaka for about ten minutes and you’ll find the turn off for The Mussel Inn. The bar itself is an old, well settled wooden shack, big enough for people to have a good time, but small enough to feel intimate and busy without too much hard work. We turned up intending to just have one drink (from a selection of their own home-made ales, lagers and ciders), but as is the way with places that are this good, we didn’t make it out of there until well into the following day.

It seems that the ingredients for a really good night are pretty much the same the world over, regardless of town, country or even hemisphere. If you find a place with a great outdoor space, preferably with a fire pit, live music, home-brewed drinks and a couple of really good food options, then you’re more likely than not in for a good time. The place itself is only half the battle though, even a great venue will fall down if it is full of arseholes. Luckily, good places and great people seem to attract each other, and this place was no exception. The crowd was a ramshackle group of various ages and nationalities, but all with a taste for good ales, a chilled atmosphere and all with an almost palpable sense of anticipation with regards to the live treat for the evening, a Mexican Metal Mariachi band. It helped that the band had obviously bought a few supporters along, some of which were busy painting the faces of anyone willing, including Pauline:

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The band did not disappoint, from their kiss-esque black and white face paint, to their black leather trousers and frilly black shirts, they well and truly looked the part, and musically, they were well rehearsed and tight, which is lucky, because with classical style fingerpicking that fast, there is little room for error! They played a long set, with a gap in the middle, and by the end of the night the whole place was jumping. A bouncing, writhing mass of people with huge grins plastered across their black and white painted faces. The echo of bare feet stomping in unison upon the well-worn wide wooden planks of the bar floor is still ringing in my ears now.

What a night.