Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The weirdest night, ever

Friday, March 16th
Night shows

After a long dinner at Mellow Mushroom with Jerry and Chad, I am full and ready to conquer the night. Taylor and Carrie are at the Backyard watching Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, so I am on my own. This is an interesting night because there is not one group I am burning to see. I think a lot of venue jumping will happen tonight. I have gotten a rather late start, so I don't see my first act until almost 10pm. The first venue I got to is the Central Presbyterian Church on 8th street. OK, a church, hmmm. This should be interesting. I am assuming maybe there is some sort of tent outside the church for the bands. I walk up to the church and I see someone scanning wristbands by the front doors. Well, I guess this concert is inside the church. I walk into the church foyer and then into the actual church. Yes, the church has been converted into a music venue for SXSW. All the bands on at the front of the pulpit with full set up. There is no altar or anything so the acts have full use of the stage. This is very interesting! I quickly learn the advantage of having the church as a venue, SEATING! You sit in the pews for the show! SWEET!! I can sit down as long as I want. Man, it is so nice to sit down. So, the Watson Twins are playing when I get to the church. The Watson Twins as in Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins. I know I am far away, but they are both very tall. They are both dressed in white outfits, sort of remind me of young Loretta Lynns. THey have their own album coming out this spring, so most of their songs were from that album. I notice that their music is appropriate for a church. There is no death metal band on the lineup here. The coolest thing I have heard happens during this set. The Watson Twins sing a cover of "Just Like Heaven," and it was good in a folky type of way. I discover a new found love for the Watson Twins. After their set, I move to a closer pew to get a better view for Duncan Sheik. Yep, Duncan Sheik,oh how I listened to him in college. I am surprised I didn't wear out his first album. I absolutely loved it. I have never seen him live before, so this is a first. I know the chances of him singing any songs from his first album are slim, but I still want to see him. I haven't seen pictures of him in so long I wonder if he still looks the same. He had a mop of dark hair and sexy eyes. Yeah, he was quite cute. The crew takes longer than I expect to set up (big surprise), and finally Duncan Sheik makes his appearance. His hair is shorter, he has a full beard and a little bit of a pot belly, not exactly what I had pictured in my head. Then he started to sing and I forgot all about the looks. Hearing his voice again brought me back about 10 years, listening to "Barely Breathing" in my room while doing homework. The more he sang the more I remember how much I liked him and how much I liked his album. I really need to go home and dust that album off and take a listen. Hopefully, it still works. He didn't sing a single song from his first album, but he did sing a few songs from White Limousine. He also mentioned he was singing songs from the new Broadway play "Spring Awakening." Apparently, he contributed most of the music for this play. The only thing I know about this play is from Zach Braff's blog (yes, I read Zach's blog). Zach just mentioned it was wonderful and everyone should go see it. That is all I know. He had someone else sing with him for a few songs, Chris Garneau. He was someone new. They were very good together, but I just wanted to hear Duncan. At the end of his set, I am so tempted just to stay here for the entire night. I can sit down and just relax. But I know there are two other acts I would rather see. Sorry feet, but it is time to walk again!
I am really undecided about what to do tonight. There is a group I want to see at 1am called Young Love. They are playing at Exodus. I don't have any group really pressing at midnight. I see Peaches is playing at Exodus before Young Love. I guess I will go there and see her and then catch Young Love. That way I won't miss the last band. When I get to Exodus, I stand in line for a few minutes, and make it inside. There is a band playing. I assume it is the band before Peaches. I don't remember their name, but they are the 11 o'clock band on the schedule. They finish up and I ask a couple next to me who that band was. He said he wasn't sure, but he thinks they were a group called Times New Viking. It seems this venue is almost an hour off schedule. The 10 o'clock band didn't start til almost 10:45. Great! What do I do now? Luckily, I have my handy little day schedule with me. I check around to see who else is playing and where. The only act that grabs my eye is Kenna. He is playing the Karma Lounge. Where the hell is that? I need to call Chad for that one. Chad is very good with google maps, thank god. He hasn't gotten me unlost many many times. So, the Karma Lounge is also on W 8th street. It seems I need to leave 6th street again to walk to 8th street. Damn, I just left that area. HOpefully, I can see Kenna though and get back in time to see Young Love. As I am leaving Exodus, I ask the bouncer how far behind schedule they are. He just looks at me and says, "yeah, we are running behind." Sorry for disrupting your night! By Friday, the bouncers and bartenders at SX are definitely starting to get pissed with all the out town industry people. I am really surprised more fights don't break out in the streets. I start the walk to Karma lounge. I find it and there is a short line outside. It appears these people have been standing here for a while. A group is waiting to hear RJD2 spin. He is set to go on at 11 and it is already after 11. I tell them I want to see Kenna and a couple in front of me say that is who they are here to also. We start chit chatting to pass the time. They tell me they saw Morrissey last year at SXSW. So did I! They have no wristbands or badges. They find who they want to see, show up early, pay the cover charge and get in. They tell me they really have never had trouble seeing who they wanted to see. I guess if you are willing to take that chance, more power to you. I just saw all those defeated faces outside the Bloc Party show last night and I am glad to have a wristband. AFter about 20 minutes in line, one of the guys in front of me decides he isn't seeing RJD2, so he drops out of line. As usual, when someone leaves the line, he says "good luck" and we move forward. I pass the time talking to the couple in front of me. About another 10 minutes and we at the front of the line. The guys checking wristband and badges tells the couple they aren't selling tickets. I also notice there is a sign that say Wristbands only. Apparently this show was bigger than I expected. He tells the couple they can wait a few minutes to see how the line fares. He does let me in though. Yeah! I tell the couple good luck and hope to see them in there. The Karma Lounge, I have never been here and I don't know anyone who has. The venue is upstairs and isn't very big at all. There really isn't a stage, just the side area next the bar for the band's set up. I get up there and walk around not sure which act is coming on next since everything seems to be falling behind tonight. At exactly midnight, right after I walk up the stairs, the lights go off and Kenna comes on. Wow, that was perfect. I could not have timed it better. Ok, Kenna. I first heard about Kenna in a book called Freakonomics. This is a guy who doesn't get much radio play, but has a strong following basically because radio stations do not know where to place him. Radio stations try to label certain bands and artists as a certain type of music and it just doesn't work. I also think radio is where songs go to die (especially here in New Orleans). Kenna had an album come out a few years ago called New Sacred Cow. I have it and have listened to it a little. He has a rather techno dance beat type of music and has more depth to his lyrics than normal pop music. He sings about things that matter which isn't the case with most of the current pop scene. He starts to play and the whole place starts to dance. He has a new album coming out this summer and plays a bunch of songs from it. Half way through the set he realizes the crowd his full of his fans who have NSC, as he calls it. He thought he was playing a showcase for industry people and not fans. So, for the fans he plays more songs from New Sacred Cow. The song to check out from that album is "Freetime." He was very good live and a definite change from the church venue I came from. The music was louder and easily danceable. He finishes his set after about 45 minutes and I decide to leave to check back at Exodus to see if they are on schedule. I leave the Karma lounge and walk back to 6th street. It is now almost 1 am on St. Patrick's day officially and people have started the party early. There are people stumbling down the street. I make it back to Exodus amid all the drunks and don't have to wait in line. I walk right in and everything is completely back on schedule. This place is also not as crowded as I expected it to be. It seems Peaches drew the biggest crowd for the night. I wondered how they got back on schedule? No idea! Oddly enought at 1am, Young Love comes to stage right on schedule. So, these last two acts have gone exactly according to schedule. That is a first! This is a band out of Austin I just heard about during SXSW. He has a new album called Too Yound to Fight It. Most of the music is danceable pop music. It makes me wish I still had a dance class to teach. This album is absolutely perfect for that. My favorite song on his album is called "Find a New Way", but I also like "Discotech." I notice almost the entire crowd is girls, which I am sure he loves. He does have a full band with him and a synth player. From the minute he starts playing to the end, the entire place was shaking from people jumping up and down. My legs hurt after his set from jumping so much. His music is the type to get a party started. At one point, he gets into the crowd and starts jumping around with all the girls. I think that is every guy lead singer's dream! Towards the end of his set some of the girls from the crowd get on stage with him. The band was definitely having a good time. He finishes his set around 1:45 am and I stagger out of the venue with sore legs and catching my breath. That was a lot more fun then I thought is was going to be. I like a band who likes to have fun. So, this was a strange, yet successful night. I got to see everyone I wanted to see and some I didn't expect to see. It all work out too perfectly. I am very impressed with myself! Off to bed to rest up for the last night!