Thursday: Arrive in Austin. Dump gear off at hotel. Hail taxi. Head to downtown. Arrive at the South By Stereogum day party at The Parish on Sixth and immediately see Dodge from My Old Kentucky Blog as I make it to the top of the stairs. [As expected the guy is a class act, as is my man Chris from Gorilla vs. Bear, Jax (RockInsider), Rachel (Scenestars), Mark (Music For Robots), Garrison (Indie Interviews) and all the other fine folks I got to meet and put a face with a name this weekend.] As I crested the stairs, Rogue Wave had just finished and Ted Leo was about to take the stage. Naturally, being a drunkard, at this point I was more interested in the free Fat Tire ale, (no disrespect to Ted of course.) Beers drained, I took in the Pharmacists as they tore through their material at a rapid clip. I later heard someone say they wanted a Kelly Clarkson cover, but his shit sounded pretty good to me. Big thanks and Kudos to the Stereogum guys for hosting a great party. By the way, the dude MC’ing the party, Aziz Ansari, is a comedian worth checking out if you have the opportunity.
Post-Gum, I headed over to the Fader tent with Chris/Dodge and their lovely lady-friends, MJ and Melissa. I was kind of like their adopted kid for the weekend. Picture Webster, yet White and 30 years old. Dig. Quickly the posse agreed getting some food was a priority of the highest order. While making our way down Red River we settled on tex-mex and sat down on the patio of Jaime’s across from Stubb’s. Sometime during this activity it was brought to my attention that there was a secret Beastie Boys show at Stubb’s at 8pm. It was also made known to me that Dodge might actually be able to get us in through one of his wizard-skilled hook-ups. Stoked, but skeptical, I concentrated on my margarita and the enchilada that was presumably being whipped up in the kitchen. Cut to 30 minutes later: a triumphant Dodge returns with 5 VIP badges for the Beastie’s secret Stubb’s show. Now…now my friends, it was truly on. Eats/drinks were devoured in record time as our rag-tag group of funn-hoggs dashed across the street to head out back toward the outdoor stage.
The B-Boys brought their shit, and brought it hard. I hadn’t seen them in 11 years and was soaking up every minute of it. Ecstatic text messages were a-flyin among the crowd if I remember correctly. “Pass The Mic”, “Shake Your Rump”, “Paul Revere”, etc etc. The old jams just kept on coming. Chris pointed out to me at one point that they played “the best song off their last LP” To The 5 Burroughs, which I never bothered to pick up. Oh, check this out — Mike D and AdRock looked about the same as the first time I saw them at The Georgia State gymnasium in ’92 as a 16 year old kid. MCA on the other hand looked like none other than Ernest Hemingway complete with grey hair and beard flowing. At one point I looked to my right and Thurston Moore was standing next to us. Mobbed by adoring fans every other minute, I remember thinking “I wonder if he still supports their ‘80s ‘killing yr idols’ mantra?’” Somehow I doubt it.
After Stubb’s we rolled over to the Ny2lon party to check out Voxtrot, The Boy Least Likely To and The Editors. Let me go on record here: The Boy Least Likely To were absolutely fantastic and one of my favorite acts the whole weekend. [An aside: I had never bothered downloading even one of their tracks from YANP last summer as I didn’t like the name. Lame reason? Yeah, but you gotta filter somehow with so much music out there in this here digital age.] Dallas, TX’s Voxtrot were good, but The Boy Least Likely To was everything I wanted to hear at that moment. High energy, enthusiastic, upbeat, pop music from across the pond. The audience was eating them up by the spoonful. I was quickly reminded there is a reason for hype. Sometimes it’s worthy and valid, as was the case this late Thursday night.
The club ran out of Red Stripe sometime after this, didn’t stick around for The Editors, and I caught a ride to back down to Sixth street to meet up with some people for the 1 a.m. Jay Bennett show. Bid goodnight to said funn-hoggs, and went to have a beer at The Sidebar before navigating my way to the next club. Having not been to Austin in five years, it took a little time to get my bearings again. Got to the club and met up with the guy’s from L.A.’s The Brokedown for a drink. Swell group of fella’s – but more on that in the Saturday recap. Jay Bennett took the stage with only a drummer and proceeded to bore the hell out of me (and everyone else I talked to) for the next 45 minutes. Forty-five was all I could stand, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. While trying to escape Bennett, I literally stumbled onto a super-good band called NoMo from Ann Arbor, Michigan who were playing in the inside section of the same club. From what I gathered by talking to some guys in the audience, NoMo is a collective of musicians who came together 12 or so years ago while studying African music rhythms at the University of Michigan. It was very good, and very out there – a breath of fresh air to these ears. Around 2:30 or so I grabbed a pepperoni slice on sixth street and cabbed it back to the hotel. Sleep.
Friday: No rest for the wicked. Rise and shine. Got on my horse, and in a taxi mid-morning, as I was to do some audio interviews for livedaily.com’s podcast series. Three interviews scheduled: Greg Dulli, Richard Hawley, Alejandro Escovedo. Dulli cancelled last minute, and Alejandro I couldn’t make in time due to the Hawley interview being 15 miles outside of town. A real shame as I was very much looking forward to meeting Escovedo. Not all was lost, as I did have a great time interviewing Richard Hawley who was both a gentleman and a pleasure to talk to. Look for my Podcast interview to be linked from the LD website later this week. Hawley’s publicist graciously gave me a lift back to town.
At about 5:00 I headed over to the Hell Yeah! Showcase at The Drink. As I arrived and walked upstairs, Ashley Jex was manning the decks while Birdmonster prepared to take the stage. Met back up with the usual suspects and watched Birdmonster do their San Fran rave up. It was during the next hour I got two bits of good news: 1) Mark from Music For Robots was going to get us into a WB private dinner at Stubb’s BBQ, and Rachel from Scenestars was going to try and get me into the Lucero show later that evening. BBQ and rock & rural from Memphis – I was hopeful, mayhap even a tiny amount of drool gathered on this chin thinking about the brisket. Mayhap. The band finished and I received word that, yes, the Stubb’s dinner was a go. Our group made our way through the streets and to the smokehouse. I was ravenous as my hangover had dissipated and the Jamba Juice I had for lunch was not cutting it. A true carnivore, it was time for beer and smoked animal flesh. Delish. We sat down and the Fat Tire flowed like wine as did great conversation with new friends. A big hell-ya to Mark for the invite (I’ll be contacting you soon to do our L.A. dinner swap, man).
At about 8:00 I got the call that Lucero was a go, so I made my way down to Red 7 to meet up with Rachel who is Memphis buddies with the band. Went in the club and caught the California country-rock band, Limbeck’s, performance out back in the Red 7 tent. Limbeck wrapped it up and it was time to the main event. Now, if you will remember, Lucero is a band I literally just heard not even two weeks ago so I was excited to see the real-life version, as their DVD brought the rock. The band did not disappoint. Certainly gave Ted Leo a run for his money who took the stage immediately afterwards. After Ted Leo I saw about 20 minutes of a NYC freak-folk-noise band. I didn’t catch the name, or if I did I don’t remember, but they were sick. Check these pics. Left the club and wound up at an American Spirit sponsored after-party until the wee hours of the night. I felt just awesome the next morning, kids.
Saturday: I awaken to the pitter patter of both the rain pelting the pavement and my thumping head. Back to sleep. Noon(ish), I’m back in a taxi heading to town. Meet up with a friend, chat a bit, part ways and I head to the Fader party. Decide I need food. Go next door to The Boiling Pot & order a bowl of gumbo and French bread. Barely touch the food, but the Newcastle goes down well. Meet back up with funn-hoggs at the Fader party and take in some great bands (Kyp from TV On The Radio), Love Is All (who were great), Lady Sov, Ghostface Killah, and many more. I miss making the Richard Hawley show, but catch dinner with Scenestars at a tex-mex joint. Walk to 719 Sixth Street to see The Brokedown showcase…only I have the address wrong. It’s 719 W. Sixth Street which was only about 500 blocks away. Make it to the showcase and all was forgiven. The rock gods smiled that night as The Brokedown took the stage with their brand of early-Wilco styled California rock & roll. The spot on cover of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” and their original “Sparks” (off their ep) were both highlights of the show.
Sunday: Heavy rain, Waterloo Records (spent too much money), and BBQ (twice) filled out my day before catching my flight back to L.A. Great music, great trip, great time. Looking forward to next year’s SXSW already. I know I am forgetting many a band, etc in this recap, but you get the idea of how the weekend went. Cheers.
– Satisfied ‘75