this must be the place....goin strong , yeah baby!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

my SXSW 09 in review: Tuesday

hey buddies! I gotta do this chronologically and then do my lists and shit later. Its the only way. I saw so many fucking great bands. Pushed my body and soul to the limit, and then on Saturday everything just went bonkers. Someone pressed the "Fuck It" button, and by someone I mean, life. Life, man....Life. But, what a blast!!

Tuesday: SXSW felt like it started in earnest once we had house guests. I was doing prep work the past 5 days straight on, just wracking my brain like "dont forget you need a soundman/drum rug/coffee cup/color flier/clean room/charged cell phone/duct tape/cleared band room/groceries/semblance of knowing what you are doing/ etc etc etc." jajajaja as my SXSW girlfriend would write (shes Mexican) but hey, we are getting way ahead of ourselves. And yes, she is a babe. Bragging about babes on a blog...nice one! OK Tuesday. Tuesday I got off work and rolled down to Ms. Bea's for a whiff of what was going on. I passed the "Fader Fort" on the way (whatever the fuck that wait, i don't want to know.) I looked at it with a strange curiosity. I didn't remember Fader Fort like complexes from southby's past.

I easily found a parking spot (this being around 5 PM) and walked up to Ms. Bea's in my work clothes. It smelled like SXSW. The smell of PAs getting set up on dried straw. Ms. Bea's as you may know is where Todd P (DIY Promoter Emeritus) throws his shit. Red's buddy Adam delivered the quote of the festival for me which was (paraphrased) "Todd P is a fucking pro, and definitely not a pussy." Something is lost without his delivery, but it was a statement where a man was making a revelation as he was pronouncing it. It was fucking hilarious. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself...more on that story later (that would belong to Thursday). So that was my little stop off. The show there was starting in an hour, and I had to go home to do some shit, or something...maybe have a band practice. Actually definitely to have a band practice. Your RXRs were hard at work bringing a new tune up to a speed where we could over the course of our 7 performances get it to the point where it sounded like a song. Think about the logic behind that for a moment if you will (actually it turned out fine...mostly).

Anyways, at Ms. Bea's some (British?) lady (a promoter that works with Todd, I believe) showed me on her IPhone what was going on that night, which happened to be a Todd P house party at New Guild Coop. On his mailing list he called it the "Branch Davidian House" which is a funny little pro promoter marketing trick, because he obviously just made it up, as none of the guys in that band actually live there. Not to mention it also has a real name that people actually use. I called up my buddy, former EMHU and Imaginary Friends Sax wailer, and believed New Guild resident Steve Young. "Hey Steve, do you still live at New Guild?" He did. He had no idea there was going to be a huge fucking rager at his house that night. He was gonna go somewhere else. I told him to stick around.

I had wanted to go see Thee Oh Sees at Mohawk that was my original plan, but my limited desire to find myself downtown is pretty much pushed to nil for the week of SXSW, and the prospect of a house show with The Vivian Girls made me straight up change my mind on my evenings plans. Plus I was gonna see them on Saturday night at Charlie Alvarado's house. I smelled trouble brewing because I had no closed toed shoes available to me and would be making the venture in sandals. The weather was perfect, although my route was altered by a zillion cops on campus who wouldn't let me use 24th street because an unknown substance was coming out of the science building. Just another day at the office.

The scene was cool...a mix between ATX band boys and girls who apparently got the memo on the show, NYC band boys and girls, college radio DJs, and hipsters of all the limited stripes that might be associated with those groups already mentioned. I knew some of these people and it was cool to see everyone in the same place. Lots of shaking of hands and whats ups.

I had figured this would be the ideal location to flier, and the only place to really flier for the Wednesday show, so I brought my backpack, some duct tape and the schedules for the show and began plastering them everywhere. I'm not sure that it boosted attendance, but I'm sure at least some people saw them and was like "damn, those guys put together hella good shows." General awareness baby, never underestimate it for the long term. Bathrooms are an ideal place to flier, because people wait around when they are up there, so I went up there. When I was up there one of the Beets (Juan) came up and we started chatting. We had played a show in NYC together last May. His friend who sings in Vivian Girls came up and sorta joined the conversation. It was all real pleasant, totally house party tastic.

I missed The Branch Davidians, but got there in time to see Total Abuse, who I have been wanting to see for a long time. It includes Dustin from Best Fwends/and some ex-Video Screams. They looked cool, and although it was definitely genre, I liked a lot of the the chugga-chug chug parts.

Next were The Beets. I played a show with The Beets last May in NYC and at that time they struck me as any standard Black Lips ripoff band that at that time you found in every single city in the entire country. Before those bands all turned into Jay Retard ripoff bands, according to some. The Beets this go around were definitely not that. They were fucking awesome. I couldn't catch what they were saying really, but I saw them again at the Todd P Acoustic BBQ, and the lyrics are legit. Since last May (10 months ago) they have abandoned the full drum kit and just they are awesome. The time was right at some point and I lifted myself for a crowd surf. It was good. I pride myself on knowing the exact right time to crowd surf. You have to be first, and it has to be during the right song at the right point of the song. I just have good instincts for it at this point. If you've never been and you want, next time we are at a show, I will pop your crowd surfing cherry, just let me know. Yeah, but the Beets were great...the first good band (chronologically) of SXSW. There would be many

The next band was some band from San Francisco that I felt like was influenced by what's coming out of L.A. right now. They had some San Fran sound to them, but they made me want to watch Thee Oh Sees. I went outside for a while. There were a couple of tools having the following conversation, by the trampoline i was bouncing on.

"Man, there is no creativity in this country man!"
"yeah exactly! I totally agree!"
"Yeah, like, no one is doing anything!"

Usually I wouldn't do this, but I interjected to tell them they were wrong.
Response: "look man, I've traveled all across the country"

So really just can't argue with people like that.

At some point it was time for The Vivian Girls. I was excited to see if they were good or not. I had seen video of them on pitchfork and was unimpressed. I had heard their single and was intrigued, but skeptical. I thought they were a garage band, which they are not. Interesting fact...The Vivian Girls played SXSW 17 times! Awesome! Hilarious! Something tells me this show was the best out of all of them. It was Cassie's 23rd birthday. She is the lead singer/guitarist. Those girls are artists man, and talented too, I have a lot of respect for what they are doing. That show they were really the real deal. The place was packed, but I had been camping out and was on the front row. I was on the right, in front of the bassist. My spot was pretty perfect, but about midway through the set I decided I wanted to stand closer to Cassie so I went over to the right side. The crowd was too strong and I got sucked back into it. My sandals were gonna get broken, so I just took them off and threw them by my backpack which I had strategically placed by the gear. I was now in the middle of a crowd going nuts with no shoes on. I would step on peoples feet to avoid getting stepped on and to avoid any potential broken glass on the floor. Tuesday of SXSW would not have been a good day to get broken glass all up in my shit, not with what we had coming. It was to my dismay that for the end they all switched instruments and if I had just stayed where I was I would have been about 2 feet from the singer for the finale, which was great. As it was at some point I had to go crowd surfing just out of safety for my feet to get the fuck out of where I was. The set was great. I'm willing to bet out of the 17 they played over SXSW, Tuesday night was the best one. I managed to hand Cassie a CD-R of the new EMHU shit at some point afterward.

The last band to play that night was The Strange Boys. They were supposed to play at 2, but Phillip was working a shift at Beerland, so he was gonna get there when he got there. The first "everyone I know has hysterically over scheduled themselves" happened when he finally showed up. At some point, TSB had to start playing just cause it was getting so late and the cops had already come once. They were playing Sans bass, and from my perch on the side I see Phillip 2 blocks down running his goofy ass off all the way to the house, grabbing his bass and with a smile kicking it right into gear like "hey whats up guys!" I don't think I've ever seen that dude run, it was funny as hell. They managed to play like 1 or 2 more songs before the house cut them off cause the cops were gonna come back. This was a ridiculous party, probably 100 people at a given time in the front yard and street alone.

After that I think I biked home and made myself go to sleep. I didn't have anything to drink that night, unsure if I could handle starting the week off on that foot. Todd and his crew were getting wasted, pipes were getting passed around, and all these pros were running the show and partying their ass off simultaneously, the ultimate multi-tasking accomplishment.

And that was Tuesday....the party had just begun....


  1. Keep this stuff up man, really funny and interesting. I am living your life vicariously through your words and from the northern part of this country.

  2. PS I know what you mean about watching the P'fork vids on the Vivian Girls man. I was like, out of tune much? But I guess when push comes to shove I'd say their music has a cool oldtimey pop appeal to it.