Thursday, March 30, 2006

And That Was The Third Day

Friday, March 17

Happy Paddy’s Day! Man, I feel terrible. I feel like I have been awake for 40 hours. I am sore in weird places I am not used to being sore. I need to snap out of it because I have another full day of music. Luckily, I am off of work! I can spend the day as I please. I am trying to find some good free music because the daytime is best for that. Unfortunately, the weather sucks. It is raining and windy. It hasn’t rained in Central Texas in 5 months, but it is raining this weekend. Lovely! There are free shows at Waterloo all day everyday during SX. I can try that if nothing else works. There is a free show at LZR with Morningwood, Hellogoodbye, Thrice, Halifax, and a bunch of other groups. The Spin show is also today, but I can’t find out who is on the bill for that. I also don’t think I have a chance in hell to get into the Spin party. I will drive downtown and see what looks good. Traffic is terrible. Everyone is heading downtown. Parking is even worse. I drive around downtown for about 30 minutes and do not see a thing close to LZR or AMH. Even the garages are full. YIKES! I decide then to just head to Waterloo Records and check out what is going on there. Actually, People in Plans have a show there at 5pm. Cool, I really did like them. But, should I really see a group twice, or try and check out a new group. Check out a new group! The group at Waterloo at 4pm is called Goblincock. Just picture that in your head and you can probably guess what they sound like. They are dressed in black shrouds with their faces covered. There voices are distorted so it sounds like God talking to Kent in “Real Genius.” Most people there were laughing at them. This was the most interesting group I saw at SX. After they were done, I stick around to browse the music selection. This is my favorite in the city. In the meantime, People in Planes show up and are just walking through the store. How cool! I practically ran into the guitarist. What is weird now, is that Waterloo starts to play their album. So, the band is in the store, talking to their manager, and their album is playing over the PA system in Waterloo. I wonder, is that weird for them? Are they used to it? It seems weird to me. It is getting late now and with the traffic I caught getting here, I need to head back home to get ready for the nighttime shows. Another big night is ahead.

Since the schedule was put together, I had planned on seeing a British group called the Subways. They are one of the buzz bands this year. I have heard material from their album and it sounds very good. They are playing at Stubb’s at 10 pm. In fact, the entire showcase at Stubb’s tonight is good. It includes, Metric, the Magic Numbers and Snow Patrol. There is also a little show at LZR hosting the Arctic Monkeys. Now, this band has caused such a buzz because they have the highest selling debut album in Great Britain. There music has just started playing stateside. They are one of the bands that has gained their popularity by myspace. Myspace has a very large presence at SX this year. Some people are happy with it, others are not. I really want to go to this show, but I don’t think I have a chance to get in after 11 pm. I should probably just try another venue. OK Go is playing at the Dirty Dog bar. They could be entertaining. But, Stubb’s first. I get there early, around 7:30 and the place is pretty empty. I find a place close to the stage and sit. A bunch of drunk Irishmen show up with their Irish flag and they are wishing people a Happy Paddy’s Day. They look like they are having a good time. The first band to come out is Vega 4. They are an Irish band with a hot lead singer. I can look at him all night. I really enjoyed their set. It was their first time in Texas and they were enjoying themselves. The next band is a British group call White Rose Movement. They have a harder sound and are dressed more for a Goth crowd. Not something I would expect to hear at Stubb’s. They were enjoyable nonetheless. Finally, at 10pm the Subways take the stage. Stubb’s is now full for the most part. The band consists of a guy guitarist/singer, a blond female bassist, and a guy drummer. The girl is this tiny little pixie who looks like she weighs about 90 pounds. She just kills the bass. They bounce all over the stage, from end to the next. I really dig their music, loud and bouncy. At one point, the lead singer throws his guitar to a stage hand, climbs up the speakers and jumps over to the balcony overlooking the stage. He walks around the balcony, comes down the stairs, walks through the crowd, and then goes back to the stage. I have never seen anyone do that at Stubb’s. They rocked. So far, they are my favorite group I have seen. I will pick up their CD next week. After they finish, I high tail it out of Stubb’s to Dirty Dog bar. I decide it wasn’t worth fighting the crowd at LZR. Of course, like every other show I have been to so far, there is a line. I don’t care, I wait. The good thing is, the front of the bar is open, so you can see in and hear everything that is going on in the bar. There is a camera on the stage that is projecting onto a screen in front of the bar like a TV. So, I can stand outside and see what is happening. Well, this line is not moving a bit. The band goes on at 11 pm, and I am still standing outside. I can still see them from outside. The sing “Get Over It” and by this time it is about 11:30 and I have really missed the entire show and I am not getting in anytime soon. I head back to Stubb’s to catch the Magic Numbers and Snow Patrol. I find out on Saturday morning, the last song OK Go performed was “A Million Ways.” They put down their instruments and re-enacted the entire video. They do it at every show since MTV won’t air it. It is another DAMNIT on my part. I get back to Stubb’s and once again, a very long line. Man, I might not get in here either. It is still early, so I join the line in the hope of getting in soon. There are two girls in front of me who realize I am by myself. They decide to talk to me. They were cool. They had gone to the Spin party earlier that day. The Go!Team, the Cribs, We Are Scientists and a few others bands played. They said it was really good. I am sure it was. I find out one of the girl’s stepdad is from Louisiana so she had just gone to Mardi Gras. Me too! Small world. They asked me if I had ever seen Snow Patrol before and I said no. She said they were “kinda worth” waiting in line for. They had tried to get into the Beastie Boys show the night before and told me they were only taking badges so there wasn’t a chance of getting in. Both of them like me had wristbands. She told me the line was ridiculous. I believe it. We wait in line about 30 minutes and finally get in, after the long line of badge people entered. Finally, I can see more music. Everything seemed to get off schedule because I only missed one bad there, Metric. The Magic Numbers were supposed to go on at 12, but it was 12 and they weren’t on yet. They went on around 12:15 and played their full set, so Snow Patrol was late also. The Magic Numbers were an interesting group. They were all dressed in black with long hair and dark make up. But when they started to play, it was happy pop music that was danceable. Looking at the member, I would have never thought they played that type of music. I did recognize a few of their songs. It seems most of the crowd were fans. I have to keep an ear out for them. Snow Patrol comes on around 1:30. They are good. I have heard a few songs by them. I am really tired by this point and not sure if I can stay their entire set. The band has a new album coming out next month and they are heavily promoting it. All the plastic drink cups at Stubb’s say Snow Patrol and their new album name on it. It seems like a smart way to advertise. I stay for about half of their set. It is 2 am and my back, feet, legs and everything below the waist hurts. Knowing I have a long day tomorrow, I decide to head home. I am parked by the interstate so no long trek to the car.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Day Two

Thursday, March 16

Well, the night has arrived. Morrissey is taking the stage at the Austin Music Hall tonight. I couldn’t be more pumped. I actually never thought I would get a chance to see him. My plan is to leave straight from campus to head to the Music hall. I am going by bus tonight to avoid the high parking price. In the morning as I am driving to work, the DJ on the radio mentions that Perry Farrell is in Austin and just announced the line-up and date for the Lollapalooza festival August 4-6. Kanye West is a headline, how awesome. Perry Farrell is in town?? HMMMMM…. Anyway, there is a slight recap of the night before mentioned on the radio. It seemed the Flaming Lips did a surprise show at Fox and Hound on Guadalupe street. What!!!! DAMNIT!! They kicked everything off with a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Oh, to be at that show! Oh well, the line was around the block for people trying to get in. Most just stood outside and listened. I really can’t be too upset, I did get to see the New Pornographers. So, at 6 pm I head out of work and to the bus stop. Bus is on time and I am at AMH for about 6:20. Naturally, the line is very long, but the venue holds 3,000 people. I shouldn’t have a problem getting in. The doors open late, closer to 7 pm. The security guard just said, “hey, that’s rock and roll.” Perfect answer. As I walk in the first band is just starting, the Zutons. Not a bad group. They were young and British and absolutely thrilled to be on the same bill with Morrissey. Hey, I would be too. They play about 30 minutes which is enough time to get a taste. At 8 pm, the place is barely half full. Wow, that is surprising. I thought this place would fill up in under an hour. Apparently, I was wrong. People are able to pay a $50 cover if they don’t have a wristband or badge. That is the price I expected. Two more groups come out, Corinne Bailey Rae and Richard Hawley. These are two other British singers who are apparently huge overseas. Since the BBC is sponsoring this showcase, all the bands are British. It is now after 9pm and the music hall is really starting to fill up. Morrissey is supposed to hit the stage at 9:30. I must say that the SX organizers are doing a great job of making sure bands start at their exact time. That is very good especially when there are 6 groups in one night. At 9:15, the announcer comes out and says Morrissey is about to hit the stage. The lights dim and the crowd goes insane! I can’t believe it, Morrissey is about to sing!!! Ok, so it takes ten minutes for him to make his way onto the stage, but who the hell cares. MORRISSEY!!! He comes out in his black suit and pink button down shirt. Damn, he looks good. Right now, I am cursing myself because I did not bring my camera. Well, the flash bulbs are going off at an incredible speed. For the beginning part of the show, it is mostly his solo stuff and new materials from his album being released next month. It was good and he sounded fantastic. His jacket comes off, oh yeah! Then he changes his shirt because he has sweated through the one he is wearing. Actually, he changes shirts 3 times! I guess he likes to stay clean and dry. Finally, a Smiths song, “Girlfriend in a Coma.” Now, that is what I’m talking about! Keep those coming. After that song, more material from his new album. He also mentions something about the US bombing Iraq that very day. Yep, those two days would coincide wouldn’t they. Most people in the room hate Bush, so he is in good company. Then, it starts, “How Soon Is Now?” I have died and gone to heaven. This song is all I really wanted to hear. I can go home and have had a great night. The place goes crazy and he notices too. He then continues more new and solo stuff. He finishes the set a little over an hour. He returns for an encore and sings, “Last night I had a dream that somebody loved me.” Sweet, one more song! Unfortunately, that is it. Just one song for the encore, no more! BOO!! So, he didn’t sing a whole lot of Smiths songs. I would have loved to hear “Panic,” or “Ask” or “Please, Please, Please . . .” but I didn’t. Now his solo stuff is very good and I really liked it. So, I am not at all complaining or upset I saw his show. I am still thrilled.

It is now a little after 10:30, the night is young. What to do? Well, I would really like to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Eternal. We will see if that works. I start the walk down 6th to the club. As I get closer, I hear what I think in second line music coming from the street. Interesting, who is that. Sure enough it is some brass band playing on the corner of 6th and Neches. They have gathered quite a large crowd of people dancing along. Now, a bunch of white hipsters dancing to second line music is so funny!! They are playing, but I have no clue who they are. Some guy next to me is trying to tell me they are from Chicago. Ummm, no dude, I don’t think so. A lady comes around the crowd with a box to take donations. I ask her who the group is. She tells me they are the Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans who lost everything is the hurricane. I think they must be from the Ninth Ward then. I reach in to my pocket and stick money in the box. After a few songs, the cops shut them down. BOO!!! Give those kids a chance. Nope, they disband the group and tell them to stop playing. Oh well, now that gives me time to go to Eternal for the midnight show. I see quite a line outside. I still decide to give it a try. I ask the guy standing at the end of the line if this is where the line for Eternal is. He assumes so, and asks the guy in front of him. The guy in front of his says they are in line to see The Flaming Lips. WHAT???? Didn’t they play last night??? He says yeah, but they are up there right now. You are kidding me, right?? Nope! Well, I am staying in this line. I wonder if they really are up there. People get in line behind me and tell me yep, that was their second secret show. DAMN!!!! Always two steps behind. Well, at least it looks like I will get in to see the band I want. The line moves, and a security guard scans my wristband. I am now the next one to get in, so I wait. The bouncer inside says they can take one person. That’s me!!! I get ready to walk in, and the guard asks if I have a badge. NO, just a wristband. Oh sorry, he says, wristbands only. Excuse me, you just scanned my wristband and I have been waiting in line. He says sorry and asks me to leave the line. Well, I give him a dirty look and storm off. SOB!!! Maybe this wristband thing isn’t that worth it anymore. Where am I going now? The Dirty Dog bar has the Billboard magazine showcase with The Exit and People in Planes. Those bands sounded pretty good on the radio earlier, I’ll try that. I get in that long line. It is not really moving, but I do manage to talk to a guy who knows the band and tells me they are pretty good. Well, I will stay in line. I slowly work my way to the front. I get to the front of the line and the bouncer says they are at capacity and cannot allow anyone else in. Well, badge people do not like to hear that. They assume, no matter what, they can get in. The bouncers fight with a few people who want to get in, but can’t. When people do start to leave, he only lets badge people enter. The badges practically step on me to get in. Excuse you, I am waiting in line also. Nope, I am not complaining because I am almost there. Finally, after a little while, I get in. Cool, I work my way to the front while the crew is still setting up. People in Planes begin around 12:30. They are quite good. The lead singer has an amazing voice. Everytime they finish a song, they say “cheers,” They have a song called “When you talk too much, my head will explode.” Ever since I heard it, it has been stuck in my head. The band finishes around 1:15 and I decide it is time to head home. I plan on taking the bus back to my garage close to campus. I wait for the bus for 45 minutes. I am tired and cold and just want to go home. Nothing. So, I walk/run to my car on MLK and Trinity. I started on 6th and Brazos. It was a nice late night work out. I am never doing that again. I crawl into bed around 3 am.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Yesterday marked Melissa and I's ten year dating anniversary. Wow. Ten years. Senior year of high school. Brings back memories. In honor of that important date, there will be a guest blogger. Without further ado here is Melissa recapping South by Southwest.

Last Wednesday, I began the 4 day adventure of the SXSW music festival. The entire SXSW festival began the following Friday with the film and interactive portions. The music festival begins in the middle of the entire conference. For the entire week, Austin becomes the center of the music world. Everyone there is wants to be seen and heard. Luckily, this is also the same week the University of Texas has spring break. So downtown Austin is not like any usual weekend. There are no frat parties and people in a sea of orange. Just rocker guys with skinny jeans, dark hair, and shoulder bags. I spent $150 on a wristband that allows me to jump from venue to venue to hear any band I want, provided the venue isn’t at capacity. Music shows usually are scheduled at night from 8pm – 2am. There are about 5 bands per venue, and over 60 venues. Over 1400 bands are booked to play, including the Arctic Monkeys, the Pretenders, Roseanne Cash, New Pornographers, and the greatest, Morrissey. Well, let’s see what happened!

Wednesday, March 15

It’s a Wednesday night and I have work in the morning. Originally, when carefully planning by SXSW experience, I wasn’t sure if I was to attend anything on Wednesday. Was there anything worth seeing? Well, actually there is. The Matador Records showcase is at Stubb’s. Rock on! I attended that showcase last year. I waited in line for over an hour to get into the venue, but I still go in. Well, this year, I will show up early and get in. I have a wristband, but over the last few years, wristbands are becoming more and more worthless. You see, industry people and whoever wants to put up the money can purchase a badge. A badge can grant you access into any music venue. Badge owners have first dibs over wristband holders. So, I have a wristband, but if there is a line of people with badges, they will get in before me. Period. A venue can also choose to just accept badge holders, which leaves us wristbanders out in the cold. So, when I got to Stubb’s there was a line of wristband holders down the street and up the next block. Hmmmm, I sure hope I get in. Well, the doors opened and in I went. YES!! So, the groups performing for Matador are Jennifer O’Connor, Brightblack Morning Light, The New Pornographers, Belle& Sebastian and Mogwai. This is a major showcase and that is why the line is so long. I am sure the later it gets, the more people will show up. I was right. For the first act, Jennifer O’Connor, Stubb’s was moderately crowded. But as the night went on, the crowd thickened. Jennifer O’Connor was good. A nice way to start the night and a nice way to start the festival. Then there was the second group, Brightblack Morning Light. Um, very hard to describe. I think it was just hippie music. No one sang, just music. One guy provided “Oh’s” and “Ah’s” intermittently, but that was it. Not much talking came from the band. Unless you had a pipe, you were pretty much just standing around. Then, the New Pornographers. What a great band. They rocked and had a good time doing it. Neko Case and AC Newman know their stuff. You could tell thought they wanted to play longer than they 40 minute set allotted them. Neko said she just got her groove on when they had to leave. I highly enjoyed them and would recommend them to people looking for a listen. It’s 11 o’clock now, and I still have work in the morning. I decide to forgo Bell and Sebastian in order to get to bed to be rested for the next night. It is going to be a long few days.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I need a body bag

On Friday, I'm sitting outside Brick Oven and I notice a radio van parked next door. It's got Jammin 105.9 plastered all over it. I've been meaning to replace the station that went Spanish on my presets with something so I make a mental note to add it when I have a chance. On my way to the LAN party on Saturday, I tuned the station. Do Me by Bell Biv DeVoe was on. Wow. What are they going to play next, C&C Music Factory? Nothing takes me back to 7th grade quite like music. Man it seems like forever ago. The station is now on my presets.

Ten minutes later, Here We Go by C&C Music Factory came on.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

I've been listening to Plans by Death Cab for a few weeks now. It's my bathroom CD currently. Let me explain. For along time now I have always had a CD player in the bathroom. In the morning when I get ready or when I shower I play a CD. Usually a certain CD stays in there for a while and then gets swapped out for something else. I also usually play it on shuffle since I don't always have time to listen to the whole album and I don't want to just hear the first five tracks over and over. Anyway, when I first heard the album, I only really liked the catchier radio tunes, like track one and two. But now, after listening to it so many times, I pretty much love every track. Weird. Same thing happened with the Postal Service album Give Up. Thought I would share.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm not crazy. Tell me where you live!

The minute I heard there was going to be a Mardi Gras this year, I knew I had to go. Melissa and Jerry agreed with me and so we took the days off work and made our way to NOLA for the festivities. For the few people who read this site that might not understand Mardi Gras, in town most adults view it as something to do with your kids and those pictures you see of Bourbon Street rarely contain any locals. This means we didn't go to the Quarter, Melissa didn't flash anyone, and we were almost always surrounded by children. With that out of the way, on to the recap.

Friday was a long day. We left Austin around 9:45 and were making decent time until just outside of Baton Rouge. Then we went ten miles in one hour. Didn't really time Baton Rouge well this time. We got off the interstate and found a back way on the West Bank that included 3172, a crazy road in the middle of nowhere. We dropped Jerry off for dinner with his parents, met up with LeeAnee, and caught the Metairie parades at Jigger's. By the way, Jigger's makes a tasty burger. The crowd seemed normal for a Metairie Friday night. The only weird thing was I felt old looking at all the high school students hanging out. Ten years since high school. Wow.

Saturday we missed Iris but made it down to St Charles in time for Tucks. By that point we knew Endymion had been postponed and the crowd was pretty thin as a result. Tucks was good though, and funny, as is their way. Parking in a flood damaged neighborhood was a bit weird, but at least there was activity there. Saturday night we visited with the families and talked at length about our plans for the summer including moving back, Europe, and jobs. Good folks and good conversation. After dinner, we met up with Tony and Amee and a few of the Beans and made our way to the Balcony on Magazine. I'd really like to spend more time at bars on Magazine. Need to add that to the list.

Sunday, oh dear Lord Sunday. With Endymion moved to Sunday, there were five parades scheduled, two of them being superkrewes. We met up with Chris and his cronies on St Charles near Napolean by the Temple. We got there around eleven. We left around ten. It was a long day. The crowds were impressive, larger than I remembered, possibly due to our location or the number of parades. I stayed in the back most of the time, watching the parade but not really trying to catch too much. I was really just trying to take it all in, and people watch of course. And man was it a good day for that. So much so we even bumped into a number of people we knew including Diego, the Mouras family, and Chase. After everything was over, we tried to find food, which in a post Katrina greater New Orleans isn't all that easy at seven much less ten. We finally settled on Cane's and got there just before the closed. I love Cane's.

Monday we took LeeAnne around town to see the destruction. Actually drove around the Lower Ninth Ward which I had yet to do. Crazy. Reminded me of the Gulf Coast damage but with all the debris still in place. Having the streets cleared but the lots covered in debris is just an odd site to see. Another odd site, a jogger in Lakeview. Freaked me out. We had lunch at Martin's Wine Cellar, which is way more uppity than I remember, but still good. To end things we drove through the Garden District to see something nice to end the day. It is an amazingly pretty area. That night we met up with the whole Barattini family for Zeus in Metairie. Parades are more fun with kids, they just are. After the parade we met up with Richard at the Bulldog. See, already making progress on that Magazine bars list.

Tuesday we had a lazy day watching parades on TV and preparing ourselves for the drive back. The drive was uneventful but there is one more thing to say. The Accord is awesome. And here are the pictures.