Thursday, April 1, 2010

Long Hard Road outta Austin .. SXSW recap

The drive to Austin, TX is not as bad as people say.  It is just a gruesome twenty hour drive if you got it in you to gun straight through each state.  Don't  forget about the check points on the way to Texas.  Dogs sniffing through all the bags and slobbering all over the pillows and blankets.  Sometimes its just well worth all the traveling hell just for the week long music that occurs yearly.

Years ago the recommendation of getting a badge and a hotel room, eat all the fancy BBQ in Texas would guarantee the best time of your life.  Probably also spend over 2000 dollars.  This year was a little different.  Take 300 dollars, volunteer and sleep in a car or find a place to crash.  By the end of the trip I had twenty dollars left.  (It was a budget made specifically for myself in order not to spend more money than I wanted to).  

From the moment the van arrived with all 5 passengers it was game time.  First stop was  The Lustrepearl.  Checking out the San Diego Ho-Down sponsered by Bar Pink, CityBeat, The Loft and Stone Brewery.  This un-official show case had some of San Diego's up and coming musical acts such as The Nervous Wreckords, Tape Deck Mountain, and El Ten Eleven.  Let us not forget your favorite acts such as Steve Poltz, Dirty Sweet and Transfer.  The free show included free Wahoo Fish Tacos and free Stone beer and Trumer Pilsner.  

As the night went on, the walk around the city.  Music was coming from every part of the main drag.  6th street Austin, Texas is the place to be this week.  This unfamiliar city has left everyone in awe.  (For those who have not been to Austin, please do yourself a favor and check this beautiful city out.)  So many shows to catch. So many bands to watch.  Stumbling around the city we walked into the One 2 One Club where The Twalls from Austin Tx was playing.  This band is composed of local musicians.  Dancing the set away, it was getting towards the time that Steve Poltz would be playing at the Hilton Garden Inn on the 18th floor.  

After watching Poltz played we decided to  walk the strip again.  Just to see what was going on.  Food, decided was the best thing at that point.  Beer's in hand, phillycheese sandwiches in the other and Chad (my partner in crime) walked our merry way around.  

Meeting up with the rest of the crew at The Hideout, a local coffee shop that included free WI-FI and nice Italian sodas.  Back to the van and back to the place we were crashing out at.  

The next day was more about checking out the strip and waking from venue to venue.  Seeing who was playing when and what time.  The morning started with breakfast taco.  I do not know what it is about texas but they are big on wrapping food as tacos.  This is however the craze during the whole trip.  Tacos and BBQ.  

At mid day my partner in crime went in to Darwin's Pub to check out what seemed to be an LA rock back.  No my mistake.  It was a pop-rock Los Angeles wanna be generic band from Nashville.  This band was not worth seeing.  November was the name of the band.  They had five members, one who looked like an overgrown 16 year old in leather pants and bleached streaked hair.  Their keyboardist was wearing sunglasses and a hoodie trying to cover up the fact that he might have been way to old to play in the band.  Again a band that thought they were too cool for school.  We walked right out.

Right across the road was Leslie and the Badgers playing at another bar.  5 bucks to get in.  Well, we decided against paying due to the fact that they had open windows and you can still hear them from the outside and see their back side.  It was really because we had open containers of alcohol in our hand.  
The night ended on a positive note.

The next day while the boys went around putting up flyers for a record company that they decided to volu volunteer nter for, I went down to the lawn party to check out Dum Dum Girls and Yellow Fever.  This isnt really my cup of tea when it comes to music.  So I just sat and wrote about the experience that i have been going through in two journals.  Mason and I went back to The Hideout to meet up with the rest of the crew.  We left Mason as my partner in crime, the dreamy Ryan Blue and myself went off putting up more posters.  By ten pm Ryan mentioned the Hilton Garden Inn again.  We all walked over that direction to catch the show.  When we walked up the lady at the door said "7 dollars." I mentioned that I would go in as soon as I found out if the band we are here to see is actually playing. She noted that I took out a journal and stared jotting down the names of the artist for that showcase.  She looked over at me and said "You guys don't have to pay.  If you guys wanna come in its free for you."  

We walked in right in time to see Correatown play.  Their set was very folky.  A genre that I normally don't get tired of.  After that set a sweet Julie Feeney from Dublin Ireland get ready.  With the snaps of her fingers her set begins. She starts the first song a-capella.  She has the voice of an angel.  She can whisper a fairy tale with her voice and sing it almost in a rhythmic lullaby with a harp to accompany her beautiful voice.  

I looked at the clock and it was soon to be midnight.  No we were not turning into pumpkins.  However, DANKO FUCKEN JONES was about to take the stage.  I would not miss this show for the world.  With the quickness of our feet we walked right back to the Texas Rock Fest stage right as Danko Jones went on stage.  This is the kind of music that gets me antsy for rockn roll.  They played "Code of the Road, "Lovers Call," and a few new tunes off their up coming release Below the Belt. Once they were done, Broken Teeth took on the stage next to them.  Another great rockn roll band from Austin.  With in a few tunes in, lead singer Jason McMaster called up Danko Jones to help him out with “Viva la Rock, Fantastico!” an amazing rock song that is to debut in Broken Teeths' new album. 

To much rocking and rolling, I dont think so, but it is bed time the next two days will be to die for!  
Wake up the next morning.  (i believe this is day 3.)  By this time all the days are meshed in together the whiskey is no longer taking effect!  Hello Requiemme Showcase!  

The Aquarium is the place to be for the first unofficial showcase for Requiemme, The Call the Office, and Bar Pink conjoined showcase.  Featuring some amazing bands.  The line up (in order they played) Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Maren Parusel, The Bellrays, Nico Stai, Broken Gold, Darlings of Chelsea, MadJuana and The Zeros.  I, of course am behind the merch table.  With Mario and the Requiemme artist, doing merch for the guys is always fun!  The highlight of this showcase was The BellRays and MadJuana.  Of course my west coast heroes and now friends The Zeros.  Free Beer, loads of friends and a great time ahead.  The BellRays have the energy of a ADD crack baby and its all over the place.  It sounds bad, but infact it is some amazing vibing going on when lead singer Lisa get that microphone in her hand.  Jumping,dancing, swaying, and rockin the day away.  Thats the BellRays way.  

 After this show case, it was time to hit up Alejandro Escovedo at the San Jose motel.  When your intoxicated a mile and a half walk isnt that bad intill you realize holy shit.  We have been averaging a total of 5-6 miles a day of walking.  By this time, I think I hit my "im done" button.  Passed out on the backseat of a car while everyone watched Broken Bells at the Lustrepearl. Granted I was able to hear them since it was only about 100 feet where I passed out for the night.  

Next morning we started off at Sam's BBQ. Yeah it was about time we tried the very popular Texan BBQ everyone raves about.  It was tasty I will admit.  We went to Over Coffee to check out the handsome Ryan Blues' friend.  Singer song writer Devon Sproule.  Entertaining funny, witty songs.  Folky and with a country twang.   After that set we all took the Austin Metro back to 6th street.  Went into a bar and just relaxed.  This was the last day of the 4 day leg of the SXSW  "Freelance Writers Tour."  What happens when alcohol doesnt have effect on you.  The drinking doesnt stop but your not sure if you want to continue?  You grab some street food and keep on trucking!  The Last showcase of the night.  

The Requiemme official show case.  The line up (in order they played) Transfer, Maren Parusel, Darlings of Chelsea, MadJuana, Lady Dottie and The Zeros.  In this show case Michael Monroe, Ginger from the Wildhearts, Sami Yaffa (who is in MadJuana) all were hanging out while Darlings of Chelsea played.   Sami Yaffa who used to play in bands like Hanoi Rocks, New York Dolls, and Michael Monroe new band.  Plays guitar for MadJuana, and killed it on their set.  First time ever seeing them play live, however have all ways been a big fan of them. Their music is best described as gypsy folk with balls.  Not exactly Gogol Bordello, however in that similar genre.  Karmen Guy's vocals makes the band a different from what is normally noted for similar bands.  

Again, behind the merch table, I sold out of Maren Parusel ep's.  All of Darling of Chelsea Albums, and  all their shirts except for 2 which Jay Millette said its cool to keep. (Thanks Jay) A few Zero's items.  Once the Zeros finished their set.  They did two more encore songs.  The audience was not wanting them to end.  However, it was over the the club was not wanting them to continue.  The rest of this night has declared off the record due to the adventure in a van and what was an after party with 8 cases of beer.

Recap on this whole adventure :  Unofficial Shows and street food, Breakfast tacos.  Please beware of the Border patrol going to the festival.  Look out for Free Beer shows, they fuck you up! and Make friends with Canadians they are fucken amazing people. Till next year! 

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