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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Exclusive Thoughts on Escapes day 3

...and so we continue. Again writing from the starbucks in Athens at College and Broad. Played my first quiet hooves show last night! I didnt really know the notes, or like, the keys or the song names, just kinda how the songs go, so it was a little rough musically, but I did my best to make up for it with pure rocking out. I was on congas for a few songs, so that is easy to rock out on. I think I've got a good look right now, mid-fro and mid-beard, makes the crowd think they are looking at something besides a lackey boy. I am looking forward to knowing the material well enough to sync in with what the band is actually playing...3 more days of practice left. I went to 5 Star and ate the Meatloaf because I want my brain to function at a high level, and think it needs nutrients right now. After Escapes I felt like my mind was a total blank slate, like I had just smashed it into oblivion. Being here for 4 days I kinda feel the same way I never totally recovered and also I have been doing like 3-a-days which is a spring football workout term for completely busting ass trying to learn a retarded amount of music in a very short time. I got a solid does of amateur's glory in and then this morning Mercer brought me back to earth...I need to stay in the woodshed until the last possible moment. Noone said it was gonna be easy. The Hooves are really helping me learn the songs, and because of some stuff they have showed me in practice I am able to listen to the recordings (which have no guitar on them, basically) and pick out what the parts are supposed to be. Javier the usual guitar player is not in town right now, so I can't just pick up the parts off of him, but it is working out, I just need to get back in there. But first some procrastination / mind focusing.

Alright, the greek plates had been smashed, everything that could go wrong had gone wrong, and we had had 2 nice nights already. Would the momentum hold? I was pretty sure it would on the 3rd night, Sunday. R Stevie Moore was the headliner, and Austin is an "R. Stevie Moore town," that's what I told them at least, it was true.

SUNDAY March 11th
The show got off to a rolling start. I forget what I did during the day, but I feel like i was glad that the show didn't start until 7 PM, cause I was still a little stunned from the break in. I think we started at 7:20 and Albert (Ferdinand Rising) played first in the big room. Artificial Earth Machine is an Austin guy who I had never met or seen perform but had gotten in touch via email, so when we were booking it we just kept adding bands at the beginning of the show and he was one of those. He was great! Good music and a cool light show. He gave out free CDs people eagerly grabbed them. The music was in a consistant vibe, it felt like a long build, everyone knew what was coming later in the night and for the most part the artists that we stuck on this day were folks who had some connection or were inspired by R Stevie's music, so I think that led to the sound being a little more focused. I dont remember Dude Magnets maybe i was setting up. Hooded Fang and Odonis Odonis were 2 Toronto bands that Jordan Michael had booked and seemed to know each other. The music was excellent, the guitarist for Hooded Fang was a little bit like jittery, like the guitarist in Christmas. And they had a really charismatic female lead singer. Odonis Odonis's vibe was a little nortern hard rock, a little artier than a band like Northern Liberties, but that same kind of north urban hard rock vibe. They were loud and heavy and well melded, you could tell they were tour tight. They probably were wearing some black clothes, I donno, the singer was good and had some skater vibes, I think he was prob a real young guy, 23 or so if I had to guess. I dont think you could call that band bright eyed and bushy tailed tho, it seemed like they were railing against a society that did not speak for them (<---dry humor). Oh yeah, Sunday was the day that Gangi and Mercer got in. They were supposed to get in before the show started, but were late starting in from Marfa, and also didn't catch the turnoff from I-10, so they went all the way to San Antonio before hopping on I-35 and that set them back another hour +. So I was running the show. It was running a little behind, but there were slots later for Man's Trash (mercer solo). They were running a little extra late on his account, so we wanted to make sure everything was gonna be cool with Gangi's set. Actually, something really cool happened with that. But yeah, back to 9 PMish. Roo played the small room and were sweet. Those guys have good consistency and always play that room well. Its hard for me to remember which I Love You set was which, but I think this is the one that Justin played in the big room and there were girls dancing. Maybe they were on drugs, there were a couple chicks all dressed up and one of their butts came out at one point, dang! I think his set benefits from a little aggressive flair like that...he is out of a Chicago warehouse scene and its nice to have some cultural signifiers harken back to the origin headspace (dancing chicks on drugs with their butts coming out.) La Panza played, that was cool for me. Those guys are good man. They are originally from Lubbock, had moved to New York, and now I think they are gonna try and find the right sized pond in Austin, so I'm gonna try and grab em for a bill or 2 with my band before they get too big :). They said that the dominant cultural institutions of Lubbock went after the college radio station there and it just decimated the scene. We played last summer on tour with Naked Pictures, one of those dudes's bands and they were great. They used to play shows with Tuxedo Killers way back in the day, that's how I first came across those guys, and I think its cool how both those groups of musicians were maybe naively focused on creating output, like a label etc. Naivety is really important in rock, if you went around and told every 16 year old kid that they weren't going to turn into Jimi Hendrix until they believed you it would probably have a very negative effect. And yet, the culture exists, rock culture. I admire them for the fruits of their labor and its cool how it has aftershocks, like how I picked up a used Dan Doyle record from 2006 recently on vinyl. Glad noone ever told him he was never going to sell enough of those to financially make getting them printed up worth it (I donno, maybe he did.)

Whereas the first 2 nights had a crowd of 50+ by 9 or 9:30, the crowd for this one picked up a little later, I think because people were planning on sticking around for the headliner, as opposed to the previous 2 days where folks were mostly filtered out by 1:30 AM (the first 2 nights went until 2:15 or 2:30). The crowd was probably around 35 at 9:30 for this show...will they come? But they did, I would say 10:30 / 11 PM was the real turning point as far as crowd size. Slugbug and Attic Ted were next. Slugbug was great all festival, dang how many times did those guys play? 2 weeks later it's mushing together for me, especially all the bands that played a number of times, how their sets went from day to day. Attic Ted was Grady solo in the small room. I was still running the show at this time.

Ok so probably around 11:30 Rayon Beach plays, on the ground in the big room. It was my first time seeing them, despite knowing Mike from college and having picked up a record and hearing their band that way. It was loud, a tinge of noisiness with underlying pop in a Times New Viking kind of way. Really high energy, really a dude smacking the drums. It was a solid show, that is a touring rock band right there. I love all the bands, but really I like the rock bands. Weirdo pop too, but if a band rocks they don't have to do much else for me, it can be stupid or fucked up or anything, I'll be satisfied. I think Rayon Beach is probably on the brainier side, somehow, but they still rocked, so their intellectualism is forgiven. I got to talk to the main dude about R Stevie Moore for a while. He is a big fan and we discussed creative styles as it pertains to recording. For example, we assumed that RSM used all his tape and was a completest, which has merits, but on the other hand, I do tape recording too and use alot of the space for demoing that makes the final product sound different. Actually if I can get 9 good minutes off a 25 minute reel of tape I would say that is really good for me. If I get 6 I will feel like I am flogging along at a satisfactory rate, and the rest of the space where there is demoing, alot of the time it will be full demos, bass and drums and everything. But its just a different process, I could experiment with the other way if I thought it would enlighten me to some new ideas, but I think I am going to wait until my solo album is done before losing focus and getting away from whats working for me, albeit slowly. So those were the lines of our intellectual conversation. The Lead Pipe set I basically missed because I was setting up, but I avoided making the mistake of running them too early to "get the show back on time" or something...Justin was gonna dub them out and was working until 11 PM or something, so I think they went on more like 11:20 PM. Probably this is about the time Reverse X Rays played. It was my favorite set we have ever done, with a great confluence of playing well and having a receptive audience. Everyone in the band felt the fire on the ass of wanting to play a good show, and that is when we really listen to each other, which pays some good dividends musically. We had gotten out our first show jitters, and it was my turn to veto certain songs in certain places in the set order that hadn't gone well at our first set. I am glad everyone went along for that show, we played great. Thanks to Slugbug and Andy from Quiet Hooves especially and everyone else who let us borrow gear for this set, Joey's bass head had broken and we were completely unprepared as far as having quarter inch cables / power adapters / power cables / all the things professional bands never fuck up. That's the way that band goes, but man we did it! And with all new material, that was the most exciting part. We hadn't proven to ourselves that the music we had been working on for the past ~7 months was any good in a live setting yet. I love that band because we really have an original sound, we never sound like the other bands on the bill. Its kind of a dorky sound a little bit, maybe, cerebral space rock with surf overtones. Maybe its "destined for the late night shift on KVRX" if we ever get it over there, but who gives a fuck, the shows are really fun to play when they go right. The only other RXR show I can remember being that good, and it was for about 1/5 the amount of people was the Sunset 7" release show at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre. Man, that was a great show, remember that one? Memory lane, memory lane....

Tropical Ooze would set up on the big stage right after us, and RSM would play on it too, same gear. There was a really interesting Overevo set that night. They did almost an identical set as I had seen them at 1808 maybe a few months back. Its very theatrical....masks and dancing and fake blood, and then a roll in the dirt and an S&M routine. What was so interesting is how different it was based on the crowd. The first time it seemed very intimate to me, like there were like 10 people in the room and somehow 1808 was a safe space to do art of this kind, at the intersection where no one would go. I think their set comments artistically on intimacy, so to me it had a totally different connotation to see the same routine in the same room, but this time at much more of a show that they were a small part of, with people they didn't really know, and also oh yeah the S&M part was a little different for me having an ex-gf in the room / maybe some other girls I liked, etc. Different energy in the air per se, but I think it was cool to see how differently the set was, even tho it was exactly the same. Their set was short, maybe 10 minutes, and when Reverse X Rays was playing Gangi got set up. There was a good crowd, but they were a little zonked from the travelling and the show was running late and I think they didn't want to play their set as their set. What happened was super cool, Me, Mercer and those 2 guys just jammed it out improv style. Eric played drums, Matt keys and background vox, Mercer some high energy bass, and I was just making noises in a microphone. High pitched bird noises, wah wah noises, falsetto half steps back and forth. I think there was delay on it, there must have been. We jammed out a long set some sweet territory, and I felt free, and slightly rock star-ish. When it was done it was time for R Stevie Moore, I guess we must have done that after Tropical Ooze or during.

Alright, well about 1:30 R Stevie started his set. Once Mercer had shown up and I wasn't running the show anymore I started to get drunk. It was a big load off, I was excited to get drunk. I did it via a double whiskey and coke, the quick train to lets-get-drunk. The R Stevie Moore show was good. Not as good acoustically as when I saw them at Emos outside last year, but the energy was raw. I'm not sure if he was instantly in the mood, but you could tell by at least a few songs into it the band was taking the show seriously. I think I already wrote this but I really like the song where it is like "play myself some music" back and forth. I was watching the show from on top of a chair in the back row with some friends from Athens. I think it must have been around 2 AM, but the set ended and R Stevie went and sat on a bench outside. Mercer took the reigns controlling the crowd "hey yall ill bet if you make some noise he'll come back" or whatever and I got the sweet honor of going outside and convincing him to come back in. He did and they played until 2:30 AM. The crowd stuck around. Part of me felt that the gates of time had opened up in a way, like, I had seen the name R Stevie Moore on our spreadsheet for months, but it wasn't going to feel real until it was actually happening. Like I wasn't gonna get my hopes up. Always best to assume all your headliners are going to cancel at the last second right? No actually, when they first showed up I had to go on patrol. I'm not sure they knew they were playing a show on the corner, and the band was a little wtf about the situation ("is there a green room? its a serious question!") Its a point of pride that if you come play our show for sxsw out of all the ones you play it will be the one with 1. the most high soundman, by a significant margin 2. the most chaotic and 3. if something actually needs to be accommodated, 110% we will make it happen. There was a moment where they were deciding whether to load in or not and I had to suggest that it was a good idea. It would have been really shitty if they came and left! That might have been where i told them that Austin was an R Stevie town, and really the show was filled with die-hards as an artist you can't ask for more than to play for that. It might have been 150-200 people that saw their set instead of 800 at Emos, but 1808 has a way of trimming the fat as far as audience members are concerned, so I think its cool to set up a really appreciative audience like that. And it was a special environment. That was the end of day 3.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Extensive thoughts on Escapes day 1 and 2

yo yeah, so i think rather than write the perfect masterpiece Im gonna go more stream of flow of consciousness style. Completely Incomplete, including (most definitely including) the lists, best bands etc.

Writing from Athens GA!!! Next stop in life is Quiet Hooves / Sean Nicholas Savage tour, maybe Im sticking around for a west coast tour with Each Other and Iji, it kinda sounds too good to pass on and I dont think my job for the state will be open yet. I am playing guitar in QH and bass in SNS and learning 2 sets worth of material as close to note for note as I can in a week. Its more work than it sounds, but the music is great!!!! Sean Savage is a real brilliant guy, he keeps playing the ii-V which is pretty funny to me, but I think i get his understanding of music theory. Its really cool because he is always throwing in some saucy changes for the middle part that are really fun to play, and idea the bass rhythms is real like "hey this has gotta keep it moving, keep it funky!" His style is really intricate actually, but in a way where you can play the song over and over again and pick up on an extra rhythm detail like every time, but the music sounds effortless because its all these little things adding up. I guess you would call that understated, or a smooth style, or having a good touch, but it effects the sructure and momentum of the song thats whats really interesting. I love it when little rhythms effect the momentum of the song, keeping the structure going where it wouldnt have enough just off the harmonies and melodies to pull it off. It takes the load off.

Everyone here has so much to do to get ready for this tour, Quiet Hooves played in Atlanta yesterday, I heard it was real fun, but actually I stayed home and practiced for an extra 4 hours then just passed out.

Anyways, lets do the timewarp again and talk some ESCAPES recap. I just wanted to make sure and do it by day

Escapes was 6 days long, Friday preceding SXSW music until the Wednesday of.

Friday and Saturday Zac from Zorch did a lot of booking for, those were sort of his days. More on Zac later, ha :). He had done 1 day of booking last year, and this year we bumped him up to 2 cause he's such a sweetheart. Its cool to have him help out because his taste is basically a good enough combination of fun party bands and bands that draw so that makes the club owner happy. If I had my way none of the bands would draw :). Orthodoxy as far as booking is a pretty central tenement of Escapes, pretty much we try and only book the best bands based on how they sound, but I've been a little out of it on the local scene lately, which I think naturally happens to some degree if you hit a point where you are concentrating on your own shit maybe. But all that community shit is real important to me, I wish there were more hours in the day, cause I would still be on that like white on rice. All the stalwarts, people who put a lot of energy into the scene, like say I donno, maybe you book free shows of weird bands once a month, we try and hook those bands up and these days are pretty primly positioned to create some hook up slots, just cause the crowd is good. Zac did a great job, both of these shows, I think they had good energy, like Friday we were the first ones doing big SXSW shows this year, and it had a great opening night feel. Then Saturday, afternoon i dont really know, cause I had gotten broken into and was dealing with insurance shit, but the crowd was basically as good the second night too. Bangaar played last, speaking of stalwarts, that band is ex-Those Peabodys, who of course have been in about 11dy billion bands. This iteration is great!!! I loved it. They did to. Actually by the time their set ended there were probably only 15 people left, most folks went home around 1 AM to save their energy of get laid I guess. They didnt care, actually I asked Adam if they wanted to pick up a show later in the week "i dont know if yall have work or whatever...." trailing off, but he said "I dont give a fuck!!!" meaning, "rock on, party, balls to the wall!!!" They ended up not being able to do it, but it was so awesome!!!! They should be under the awesome bands-in-situations-involving-material-consequences list, just for that. And they slayed. I told them they reminded me of Wounded Lion, a California band also of kinda-older-dudes, also a 5 or 6 piece, I cant remember. The music wasn't exactly the same, but just the timbre of the energy reminded me of that band. I told them that about the kinda-older-dudes thing which they took as a compliment, which it was, somehow.

I dont know if I mentioned it already but Best Fwiends set that day was great too. They were in the small room, but the crowd when they started was over by the bar, so they were really playing to the bar, which is unusual for that room. One of those guys swooped under the drum mat and started wearing it like a cape, which I wasn't even sure what he was doing until it was over. Those guys are goofballs par excellance, and to me that speaks to something fundamental about the purpose of rock and roll. Also I loved loved loved playing in Bill Bairds impromptu group, which was Bill reading poetry over the impromptu group of me and Jon Horne on guitar skronks, and I think Bradford Kinney and maybe one of the guys from Gangi, or Mercer? No, I think the 4th guy was another local, but my apologies, 2 weeks later I cant remember exactly who it was. Anyways it was special, Bill was rapping at one point about the idea of a music career, with all that trademark droll wit.

Later that evening I got to play drums in The Foolies. The best gotcha of the festival occurred here, here, I'll explain. The existence of The Foolies was Chris Reed's idea. He came down from NYC a week early to chill with friends and put this band together with Esteban being the front man and doing soul covers. At Esteban's birthday party me and Chris Wig had gotten into a tiff (we wont go into details, sorry) which led to Chris W. recusing himself from Spiked Punch. Anyways, I had been trying to buy him a steak dinner for a while to get him to be back in SP in general and also for the Escapes shows. Well, The Foolies practiced at my house for 2 days, but it was a random smattering of members, and Chris was never there but I was told he was playing. Both Chris's had had a practice at Wig's house besides the 2 at my house. Well we had practiced alot, but I had no idea what the band would even sound like when we got on stage. Esteban had stage presence and Reed had learned the bass and it didnt really matter to me, all I had to do was play drums and not give a fuck anyways, I could do that. So Wig's shows up on stage and he is about to play guitar in this soul band and he plays one note, and what is the sound but his trademark steel drum guitar sound which would have no place in a traditional soul band and was basically Spiked Punch's trademark sound of the era he was in the band. I donno maybe he is still in the band, I have to ask him when I get back from tour. The nerve!!! The gall!!! The set ended up sounding like William Shatner doing soul covers with DNA being his backing band, it was glorious, I think we impressed a lot of people before we cleared the room. I really liked when Elizabeth sang These Boots Were Made for Walking, that was an awesome one. And La Bamba was fuckin sweet! The Foolies version of La Bamba would go on to spawn another band, actually, Ill post the video in a sec.

The X Rays set this night was our first in about 9 months. Some folks felt good about it ("a Solid B" -Owen) but I felt like we were capable of much more and was a little frustrated. That's how it goes with RXR, but we would avenge ourselves in all of our minds a few days later opening for R. Stevie Moore in what was objectively in my mind our finest moment ever.


There was no witch shit for witchapalooza, it turned out to be only a clever marketing gimmick. I unfortunately have to skip in my recap to 7 PM, because i was dealing with aftermath of getting broken into.

The mood when I arrived was pretty good. Forever Overhead was the first band I remember seeing, on the big stage. They were good, I'm not sure the sound in that room did them justice, it was a bit heavy on the treble, and we fucked up running their sound because I had just gotten there and we were trading off who was running the show during their set, so there was a little feedback until I could get to the sound booth. I kinda want to compile a babes of rock category at the end, I don't know how tacky that is, but the singer for that band would be in it. IBNUBO played on the floor in the same room and their set was sick. The same acoustics that didnt really work for F.O. worked for them, just because of the style of the band. I think people forget sometimes not to judge a band on one show, because most folks dont see a band and say "oh that sounded mediocre, I need to see that band again in case they are really much better than that." That to me is one of the fun parts of seeing bands, because remember, these are living breathing organisms. Maybe if the set wasn't perfect it was "nobodys fault" kinda like when your parents got divorced. Overall I think 1808 plays much better as a venue when the Outside is available. We are gonna work on that more next year, the issue is you only could get a 4 day sound permit for outside this year, and while the owner gave it to us for Wednesday, he also got it for Thursday-Saturday in the hopes of renting the outside out. The open air acoustics back there are great, so between that and both inside rooms it becomes easier to place bands where you think they might sound the best.

Enter Jack Topht from Buffalo. This guy ended up being a real cool guy. He played in the small room to not much of a crowd for this show. I dont know how the bar took it, just on the grounds of him being a white rapper rapping about whatever to not much of a crowd. They would like Cadence Weapon tho. This guy kinda got booked last minute, and he wins the snowball award for turning one show into like 7, we rolled with Jack all week, he was a cool guy. We got coffee at Karibu, that story is coming later.

I was running around during his set, so i didnt really catch it but i dont remember being particularly impressed at the time, going back to that seeing a band in different contexts thing. The next sets I really remember on the schedule were Popular Culture, which is Henry of Max and Henry aka You and Me's solo project and The Cockerspaniels performing a non-solo show for the first time. Both sets were really cool. Popular Culture, he just had a good look and good stage presence and energetic vocals n' stuff. There was something kinda humorous about it to me. I forget what was on his jacket, but it was a big patch on the back of a blue jean jacket for something, it seemed like an insider reference.

The Cockerspaniels it was glorious!!! Really folks were rooting for Sean. That dude has played solo for so long, but like dude, why aren't you playing with a band! Lets hear the music!!! He records with a full band worth of instrumentation and it really did make the difference live. He performed in a trio, the other dudes I think they were both in Zest of Yore. One of those guys might have played 3 sets that day. Joey did, Reverse X Rays, Spiked Punch, and Slugbug. I played 3 sets the first night, The Foolies, Bill Baird, and RXR. I think to have individuals play 3 sets adds something cool to the show, for one it means there are certain folks who are sticking around and catching a good chunk of it. Bear witness and testify, oh yea. It was great just to hear the harmonies and the low end and both the backing guys were good musicians and could do it justice, I hope they continue to write music as a band, Sean writes great songs.

Holy Waves set I thought it sounded good and was underattended. That band would really benefit from playing outside. They had some great projections with them. They are all switching instrument these days, but I wish they would leave the guy who plays drums like a bat back there. Whatever, those guys are going to keep growing as a band and doing their thing and I feel confident they will get great results just from sticking with it and doing what they are doing. I think noone was watching them because Pataphysics was playing in the other room, maybe we timed it a little off. Pataphysics played a great set. Do those guys always close with Policeman? I love that song, but not as much as I like "Weirdo" which I think they did not play. They are basically off the material of their old album, playing newer shit these days. I didn't catch their whole set, but I have heard "Weirdo" live before really slide into the pocket in an intense way. That's Chef baby, oh yeah. Slugbug was consistently great at Escapes, I think we almost always ran them in the small room, I know that night we did. That was mainly because they have so much gear to set up, we slot bands once an hour in the small room, so it makes more sense from a bookers perspective as far as running the show is concerned. Weird Weeds set was great as always, I was zoning out, prob pretty baked at this point. The Spiked Punch set was pretty hilarious this night. Chris played with us and was partying his ass off real drunk. He had leeway to do whatever he wanted, just cause we wanted him to play with us, and he took it to the max. He was talking to these 2 girls the whole time, before during and after the set. Playing guitar was pretty much an afterthought as far as making sure the band sounded good, but he made sure and played nice and loud. At the beginning of the set he told me "tell me if im too loud or anything." I tried to communicate that message and at one point turned his amp down. After that he turned it back up, wayyy up past where he was earlier, but maybe he turned it down on his guitar at the same time because he wasnt any louder than the initial too loud volume even tho it looked like he should have been even twice as loud. Ill never figure that one out. The conversation with the chicks never ended, actually it was awesome, although I was mildly annoyed at the time, it was hard to take any details of how the Spiked Punch set too seriously, just given I was concentrated on the enormity of the festival as a whole.

Zorch this night I thought played the best of the 3 times I saw them over sxsw. The intensity level was way up. I think Sam is actually playing a little less notey, and Zach is picking up the slack with rolling organ sounds a la The Soft Machine or Quintron. I thought they played exceptionally well this night. No wait, Im confused, the set Im describing was from the first night. The crowd was a bit thinner for them the 2nd night, I'm guessing because a lot of folks came both nights and had just seen them.

And that's the tale of the tape for the first 2 days, more to come.....

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

SXSW 2012 Impressions

Here's an essay I'm working on, I am going to keep working on it......this blog is dead right now, so I'm assuming no one is reading this , and then maybe when its done ill shoot a link to it or something

Man, where to begin. Let's just throw the word insane out there. This year was insane. Justin from I Love You said he felt every emotion a person could feel during this week. I guess I wasn't that in tune with what other people were feeling, I was pretty caught up in making sure whatever the task in front of me was getting addressed in a way that might be suitable. It was like being in the brig, or the hole or something to do that for that long.

I think one thing that is defining what happens at sxsw in a larger sense is that people try and take it to the max. Personally I tried to do that, and as a result I threw an anti-festival / show series, which i dont mind hanging my hat on for a quick minute, and I'll do the math later but I think I saw over 150 sets in a week, so that's pretty fucking retarded when you think about it.

I think it creates all these weird things, like a rip in space-time kinda weird thing, and it raises existential questions. For example, say you have 100 promoters. For the sake of argument, let's say these people are all people trying to max, to make their event the best event or whatever (and the same applies for venues, only add in a pure profit motive.) Well those 100 people are all promoters because somehow it fits into their idea of themselves, and why they are throwing a show fits into ...would you call that an extension of the ego?

So one problem, that I think it has to be addressed politically, is that these 100 people are not all going to be qualified to run the show they plan. We tacitly accept as a free society that people have the right to take it to the max, and also, p.s. rock and roll is the place where you do it, so it seems like at least once a year a dudes gotta stick that measuring stick out there and see where his head is at, if he's still got it, etc. If you are trying to break on thru to the other side it makes sense to test personal boundaries, and to touch them with your hands, and leave some chalk on the wall for next time so you remember. But its not a moral position to gloss over the consequences of chaos on such a large scale. Additionally, it bothers me to feel that the influence of money pushes things past where their natural stretching point should be, and if that gets involved in the rule making politically it will create a dangerous situation. I don't see how over time this will fail to be the case, given the financial impact of the festival on the city as a whole.

That being said sxsw this year ranked among the most memorable experience in my life, and its existence allowed me to live and participate in some things where I really felt I was accomplishing what I wanted to do/be as a person, so that was really fulfilling. I loved seeing the bands and everything that came with it, the parade of styles, gear, cables taped in different ways, rare types of people you know exist, legendary rockers, rock and roll bullshit attitude. Really it was a celebration of culture, and rock and roll to me is the pinnacle of American thought, as dumb as that sounds. Its dumb because rock and roll is supposed to be dumb, as dumb as that sounds. But it is serious, and I think it was neat to watch it become increasingly serious as the festival wore on in the sense that ultimately, this is what people are dedicating their entire existence to the pursuit of, and in most ways its outside the lines of whats good or bad, or acceptance, or whatever, it just boils down to shaking your fist up at the sky sometimes.



During the final stages of the planning of Escapes for me, I became something of a kamakazi pilot. It was going to be spectacular, either as a success or a failure, that was for certain. I am pleased to say that the worst thing that happened was that my car got broken into and 3 guitars got stolen, which hopefully they are all insured, I believe they will be. Oh yeah, how did my car get broken into? After the first night of Escapes I could not park up in my driveway as planned because someone had blocked it. I am not sure who blocked it, it seemed like it might be kinda dick to get them towed, and although I suspect it may have been someone for the UIL basketball tournament, I was unsure if it might be one of the people renting a room in our house, so I just parked the car in the one open spot on the street (by the alley) and decided just to risk it for a few hours. Lo and behold, someone actually did break a window and jack probably what they could carry. The fortunate thing was that Shane's sax, which is worth maybe 3x+ what the total value of the guitars were was left on the same bench untouched, and the amps in the back which were worth thousands of dollars were untouched. I guess they didn't have the means to clear us out.

But basically nothing bad happened as far as us and our shows were concerned. The theft took me out of my game for a little bit, out of rhythm and instead of going to the show that second afternoon i was dealing with insurance agents, the police, and my personal emotions, trying to get back on track, finally getting to the show about 7 PM. I took 2 long showers that afternoon, ha, once in between talking to all those people, and then just one more to get my head straight before going to the show.

One thing about Escapes that I think I am more cognizant of than other people is that it's an iterative process. A lot of things reoccurred in ways that didn't surprise me they were reoccurring. Off the top of my head, Gangi played a sunset set where the energy of the vibe changed in an important way in a way that reminded me of some sunset sets that Spiked Punch had played.

Each Other
Heavy Times
Spray Paint

hon mention...twice other people told me they had just seen their favorite band, Eddy liked TOPS @ 1808, and Tania liked Jack Toft's set at HoC. Also I really liked Henry's set as Popular Culture

BEST SHOWS: It would be easy to say we threw the best show. Actually, I felt like sxsw was a mature entity this year, because i spent my entire time at a place where i felt like the quality of the bands was superb and at a variety of different venues, in a variety of iterations. I did 6 days at Escapes, a morning at the Psychfest show Levitation, thrown by the Black Angels, 2 mornings at Trailer Space, a coop show at House of Commons, a coop show at the 21st Street Coop, a house show at Charlie Alvarado's house, and also, I saw Prince Rama play at an art gallery at 43rd and Guadaloupe. I caught one band play at The Grand one morning for Burger Records, and that seemed like it was going to be a kick ass time, my idea of fun, wish I could have stayed longer. Also, I played a show at Cheer Up Charlie's, which was as close to downtown as I got.

The first was R. Stevie Moore's set, on Sunday 3/11. At about 2 AM he had been playing for 30 min and went outside and sat on a bench at 12th and Chicon. Mercer was holding the crowd and the band on stage, and I got to go out there and sit on a bench and chat it up, convince him to come back in. He played until 2:30. I wouldn't say the sound was the absolute greatest in that room, but you could tell he was taking the show seriously, and that song with the hook "play myself some music" always resonates with me. In case anyone was wondering, all the bands played for free, because that's a part of the ethos of the show. Mercer made a side deal out of his pocket to get those guys $100 for playing his favorite song, which I was unaware of until the show. For those guys to play for $100, I just think that's really cool for such a big band to agree to do that, so good for them and thanks to Mercer for bringing the headliners/making it happen, etc.

Although I'm sure others were feeling special moments happen in accordance with their own bio-rhythms, I didn't feel that that super special vibe or moment again until Wednesday evening when Gangi played. Their set was outside, and they had time to set up all their gear. They did some really cool things with oscillators and noise generators at 2 points in the set, and they sounded great in the open air. You can hate on music from L.A. as sounding slick, but if you want to dig a little deeper and get past that those guys probably played that particular set with more heart than any other band I saw all week, and I think that is one of the fundamental ideals a band can strive to communicate. It was the first sunset set of the night, I feel like there were a few bands that got to play as the show was

There were 2 other sets Wednesday night I would say for me were completely special and also some honorable mentions. It was the last day of the festival, and it was really where we saw if we were going to achieve what we were trying to achieve or not. Dan Friel, Cold Showers, and Cadence Weapon all had nice sets, but for me the night belonged to Each Other and Flow Child.

Bands I saw twice, or more:
Cold Showers (1808 big, 29th st ballroom)
Heavy Times (1808 big, Trailor Space)
Each Other (1808 small room, 1808 out)
Dan Deacon (Cheer Up Charlies, 21st St Coop)
Gangi (1808 about 5 times, all stages)
I Love You (1808 about 5 times and Charlie's house)
Ear Pwr (1808 twice)
Cool Serbia (1808, House of Commons)
Tonstartsbandht (1808 small room, big room)

Coolest bands as people based on interactions with material consequences:
Gangi -- These guys are probably the most underrated band of the festival.

Tonstartsbandht -- 2 brothers, exceptionally cool, Mercer hung out with them like the whole time. Great music in many different forms, and they let us borrow their bass amp in a pinch (Joey's had died) for one afternoon.

Ear Pwr -- I feel like we tried about a hundred times to get this band in front of a crowd where something magical happened. We did it in '09 at the Treasure City Thrift show, which in hindsight, the lineup was fucking unbelievable. On one show we had play Tune-yards, Psychedelic Horseshit, Quiet Hooves, Prince Rama, DD/MM/YYYY, What's Up?, Ear Pwr, Popo, Long Legged Woman, and there was a really good Reverse X Rays set to boot. The listing I had says Real Estate also played, but I think they played at 1808 in the backyard the next day, because I remember talking to them there. Damn, what a show. I hope they felt we held up our end of the bargain this year, they played like 3 sets maybe but I never felt like the crowd did them justice....maybe I just wasn't paying attention. Then they came to play a coop show that got a little log jammed up from starting a little late around the 6 PM marker, and they were totally cool with coming back and playing later.

Each Other -- These guys ended up being my musical highlight, the set they played Wednesday. They were the first band to play Tuesday, and I don't know who booked them. Anyways, we asked them if they wanted to come back Wednesday and actually play for some people, although I think fortuitously maybe there was a label guy in the audience at the time of their Tuesday set, who knows. I say fortuitous because they were billed to play at 8 PM, but played more like 4:30 PM, somehow it just worked out that way. There was a fair amount of human error that seeped past our best efforts in doing this show, I think the people who get it will cut us some slack on that. Anyways, these guys said yeah sure, we'll come back. Then, they came back Wednesday and were like "so whats the deal?" There were like 6 bands in line to play so I told them "next is Tops, then Hyena and Great Valley on the same equipment inside, then outside its gonna be Cadence Weapon, then its gonna be Treasure Mammal inside, then you guys." So basically "sweet, thanks for coming, you guys will play in like 3 hours" which plenty of lesser bands would have bitched about, but actually this dude just says "perfect" and sits down and starts watching the bands and having a good time. And we really did a good job doing this band justice, we set it right up, and it was perfect weather, and they played a great set which Joey got all on video, so we will get that footage out there. A side note, that band also blows my mind because one of the guitar player is a dead ringer for Ryan from The Strange Boys.

Least cool band based on interactions with material consequences:
Total Slacker -- These guys played Escapes on Wednesday and then House of Commons coop on Thursday. At Escapes they were saying they had been given a timeslot for midnight even tho on our schedules we were listing them to close the night out. There was a lot of bullshit involved like "oh man, no were still totally into your show" etc., like, what? When they showed up to the club they started loading their gear on a stage without talking to anyone running the show, which I took to mean they were trying to power play their way into playing when the most people were there. As it was my first time working with this band, and the other promoters working on the show were vouching for them, we ended up accommodating them, to the tune of letting them set their gear up in front of my bands gear and take our slot. They ended up moving it back to the stage once it freed up, meaning we had to run another band inside and Reverse X Rays ended up playing about 4 bands later than we were supposed to, to about 10 people. This instituted bad vibes on an interpersonal level into my situation, due to Total Slacker's actions, but the real coup de grace wasn't until the next night. After being insistent that they start exactly at the time they were listed for at Escapes (which by the way, they weren't listed for, wtf) they show up to a party at a coop where, no shit, its running late and do the same fuckin thing. They tried to bullshit the band Ava Luna into playing a shorter set "out of respect to the bands playing later", and they tried to bullshit The Back Pockets into getting off the stage they were already set up on because "all their fans were here to see them" which is total bullshit, it was a coop party, maybe 5 of the 100 people there had heard of Total Slacker, everyone was just there to party, and The Back Pockets share a lot more culturally with that scenario. I had to do a little back alley regulation, but Ava Luna played something close to their full set, and The Back Pockets played their full set, which was great. The cops came after The Back Pockets which would have really been rewarding to my set of ironic justice, but I was glad for the sake of the show that the band got to play. Oh yeah, also going thru the Escapes archives, I hadn't realized it, but they no-showed the Sneak Attack show, prob figured it wouldn't be worth their time (dd/mm/yyyy showed up to play at noon on Saturday of SXSW, i guess that show was last year, and the weather was cold and extremely windy and there was noone out. I talked to them via phone and said there was noone there, but those guys said they didn't care and set up all their gear etc and played a bitchin set for the 5 of us who were there, it was awesome.)

For posterity, the listing as it appeared on facebook at the time of the last edit:

Yo. EeSsCcAaPpEeSs is upon us, this year it is called NiИXSxSWƧxƧXNiИ.
The dates are 3/9 - 3/14, 2012, showtimes vary by date.

Schedule below:
"A good read." -NYTimes Sunday Book Review

Friday 3/9 @ Club 1808, ESCAPES XI
Starts at 7 PM, bands at 8 PM

7 PM ---- ** Zorch Happy Hour!!** --- **drink specials!!**
8 PM----Bradford Kinney // Breakdancing Ronald Reagan // Johnathan Horne
9 PM----Biill Baird // Field Dress // Multitracker
10 PM---The Foolies (Chris Reed soul band) // Geoff Millions // Boyfrndz
11 PM---Reverse X Rays // Skycrawler // Best Fwends
12 AM---Total Unicorn // Netherfriends // I Love You
1 AM---- Zorch // Bangaar

Saturday 3/10 @ Club 1808, ESCAPES XII "Witchapalooza"
bands at 2 PM

1 PM --- **1808 Happy Hour Showcase** --- **drink specials!!**
2 PM---- Collective Soulasylum // Jess Williamson
3 PM---- Lead Pipe // I Love You
4 PM---- Real Book Fake Book // Black Ocean Parking Lot // Bell Riots
5 PM---- Zoltars // Manatee Tights // Thousand Foot Whale Claw
6 PM---- Sour Notes // Zest of Yore // Silent Land Time Machine
7 PM---- Forever Overhead // Botany // Bali Yaah
8 PM---- Weekends // i-b-n-u-b-o // Knifight
9 PM---- Coma in Algiers // Jack Topht // Butcher Bear
10 PM--- Ladders (1st show) // Popular Culture // Cockerspaniels (full band)
11 PM--- Holy Wave // Weird Weeds // Slugbug
12 PM--- Spiked Punch // Pataphysics
1 AM---- Zorch (set II, "prog set of doom")

Sunday 3/11 @ Club 1808, ESCAPES XIII ft. R. Stevie Moore
bands at 7 PM

7 PM---- Artificial Earth Machine // Ferdinand Rising // Dude Magnets
8 PM---- Bubbleface // Odonis Odonis // Hooded Fang
9 PM---- Roo // I Love You // La Panza
10 PM--- Gangi // Slugbug // Attic Ted
11 PM--- Rayon Beach // Reverse X Rays // Lead Pipe
12 AM--- Tropical Ooze // Overevo // Man's Trash
1 AM---- R. Stevie Moore

Monday 3/12 @ Club 1808, ESCAPES XIV
jam at 2 PM, bands at 5 PM

2 PM - 4 PM **jam** <---this is a special event, including special sub-events
4 PM----Eula // Dolphin Mouth
5 PM----Life Size Maps // Dada Trash Collage
6 PM----Andy Boay // Spectrals
7 PM----Jason Harvey // Part Time
8 PM----Night Beats // I Love You
9 PM----Telethon // Spiked Punch
10 PM---Hume // Reverse X Rays // The Great Valley
11 PM---Tonstartsbandht // Cloudland Canyon
12 PM---Quilt // Partypartypartners jam band
1 AM--- Gangi

Tuesday 3/13 @ Club 1808, ESCAPES XV
bands at 4 pm

4 PM----Cool Serbia // Cats in the Basement // Caged Animals
5 PM----Night Beats // Slugbug // Ancient Ocean
6 PM----Unstoppable Death Machines // Dada Trash Collage // Guerilla Toss
7 PM----tonstartsbandht/eola // Telethon // Habits
8 PM----Mozart's Sister // Each Other // Gangi
9 PM----Pets With Pets // Spiked Punch // Hyena
10 PM---The Great Valley // Deep Time (frmly. Yellow Fever // DMA + Orea Jones
11 PM---Dope Body // Dustin Wong // M Geddes Gengras
12 PM---Ear Pwr // Muchos Gracias // Woodsman
1 AM----Psychedelic Horseshit

Wednesday 3/14 @ Club 1808, ESCAPES XVI
bands at 1 PM

1 PM--- Chris Forsyth // Shock Diamond
2 PM----Deadly Cradle Death
3 PM----Chapter 24 // Spiked Punch
4 PM----Slugbug // The Coathangers // I Love You
5 PM----Hyena // Eets Feets // Wet Hair
6 PM----Heavy Times // Gangi // Dharana
7 PM----Flow Child // The Great Valley // Treasure Mammal
8 PM----Cadence Weapon // Moon King // Hubble
9 PM----Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! // Ear Pwr // TOPS
10 PM---Matthew David // Reverse X Rays // Dan Friel
11 PM-- Doldrums // Cold Showers // Ava Luna
12 PM---Man's Trash // Cloudland Canyon
1 AM---- D'eon // Total Slacker
2 AM-----?

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