SXSW 2012 pt. II
I’m sorry. I meant to have more of these “articles” written throughout the week regaling all of my loyal readers with fantastical tales of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but I was busy. And I promise I was busy doing band things and not just indulging. To be completely honest I haven’t done too much indulging. I didn’t even get drunk until Thursday night, which was day three of the festival. This SXSW was a completely different experience for me, for the entire band, even. We had almost no time to really enjoy ourselves and carry on, because we had too much to do. I know 10 shows in 5 days isn’t the absolute craziest schedule, but when you literally have to drive from one side of Austin to the other in SXSW traffic, it’s easy to lose time.
Wednesday morning came fast, and considering I didn’t go to sleep until sometime around 5:30 am the day before it’s easy to see why. We had our first show of the day at noon, so we all got up around 10:30 am so we would definitely arrive on time, and we did. We played pretty decently, but only for the bands that were playing after us. Thankfully our next show was just across the street so moving equipment wouldn’t be too big of an ordeal this time, but it wasn’t for another nine hours. Now, under normal circumstances wandering around in downtown Austin during SXSW is a blast, bars everywhere, food trucks everywhere, freaks and weirdos everywhere, it’s magical. However, this was the only time I could take part in none of it. No booze because I was trying to remain freshly sober for the show later that night, no over eating at any of the hundreds of food trucks because I was broke, and fuckin’ around with weirdos was out of the question because, well, who wants to do that sober? So walking around in the heat bumming cigarettes from people it was.
The next show went pretty well. We had to convince the rest of the bands and management to move the p.a. from the back of the lounge/bar to the front patio, which was open to sixth street, and where it was originally supposed to be. After a few minutes of tearing down and setting up the p.a. the show continued and people started gathering in the bar. All-in-all this was a pretty successful show, people were actually stopping in the streets to listen to what was going on inside. Eventually a crowd big enough to completely block up the sidewalk had gathered, and as it turned out, “up and coming” singer/songwriter, LP was one of them. After we finished our set we hung out for a few hours, watched the rest of the bands play their sets, drank some brews, and decided to leave just in time to grab some gas station beer. With fifteen minutes until midnight we quickly packed up the gear and made our way through downtown.
GODDAMMIT MOTHER FUCKER!!! WHY?!
We’re a bunch of dumb asses! Do you know how many people are driving through downtown at 11:45 pm? Apparently all of them! Our manager Mikey quickly springs into action and “yelps” for the nearest gas station and luckily there’s one just a few blocks away. We navigate through all the dumb one way streets, other vans with connected trailers, and fellow idiots trying to get out of this crowded hell-hole and turn the corner. Alas, there is no gas station. We are stuck in traffic, five minutes away from a gas station, with two minutes left. Once again, we’re fucked. Without being able to get blind stinking drunk we decide to go to Buffalo Wild Wings for some wings and just a few brews. Oh well, can’t complain with that.
The next show would turn out to be a little controversial. And let me just start by saying, no one is proud of what we did, but we did do it. Most of the shows we got this SXSW were through some dude named Dave, from the Oklahoma Film and Music Committee, our booking agent (more on that later), and one show through our friend Adam. Adam is pretty close with another Oklahoman band who had decided not to play the one show they had, with good reason, so Adam offered it to us and we thought it could be cool, so we tacked it on at the last minute. We get to the venue, which was a fast food sushi restaurant, and there was a band, ya know, one of those punk bands, setting up on the front patio with two people in the “audience”. Might I add, the two people were very, very old and I’m assuming they were either being polite or watching their grandchild perform. This place was pretty far from any of the “action” of SXSW with little to no foot traffic. They had a very non-stellar sound system, we were all pretty tired from the two days prior, our manager needed a ride to the airport to catch a flight to Vegas, and we had another show that day to get ready for. On top of that we were hungry and the restaurant didn’t feel like they could spare some food for us, so we decided to save our singer’s endangered voice and bail. Like I said, we’re not proud of what we did, and this was the first time we’ve ever bailed on a show in our three and half years, but all things considered, this just did not seem to be worth it. A few days later we would be called out on Facebook by a band that played that same show. And kudos to them. They’re troopers, I believe their show was around noon at the same place and probably to just as many people. We had played with them before in Tulsa, and I have hung with the bassist a few times just fuckin’ around. They’re honestly cool dudes and make pretty rad music, and I’m sorry if they took offense to our actions, but I don’t really think we owe them any real apology. If we owe anyone an apology, I’d have to say it would be Adam Seeley. Adam if you’re reading this, we’re sorry.
Anyway, we dropped off Mikey at the airport, go to one of the best food trucks in Austin, called Lucky J’s, I believe, for chicken & waffles, then all the way across town to a nice little establishment called Crow Bar. This place was pretty cool. They had two stages, one inside, one outside, fully stocked bars by both stages, and people hanging out in both areas. It was a lot of fun, actually. There were a lot of bands playing and people seemed to like pretty much everyone who played. We were done with the day pretty early. I’d say we left Crow Bar around 11 pm. “What’s that, you say? An hour until they stop selling beer? Awe hells yeah, son, we’s getting’ drunk tonight!!!” And we did. Excellent. We drank well into the morning hung out with these cool ass dudes in a band from Ohio, called Lackluster, and traded band stories the whole time. We also shot off a few fireworks. Our next show wasn’t until 8 pm the next day, but it was at the same place, only inside. This show seemed to go well too. Crow Bar has good people working there and good people drinking there. What more could you ask for?
After the second Crow Bar show we had a kind of in store-appearance for this place called Ingredients. It’s supposedly America’s first non-waste grocery store. It’s kind of like the bulk section at Whole Foods only without plastic bags and such. This was supposed to be acoustic, so I was not needed. Instead, I tried to make it to my friends from Stillwater’s (Black Cop) show at some club in one of the shadiest areas in all of Austin. How do I know this? I stayed a block away from it last year at SXSW. At the corner of 12th street and Chicon, you will find a few bars and clubs that are frequented by, what I like to call, crack heads. As bad as it looks, it really isn’t that bad. Some of the dudes who look all thuggish can actually be pretty cool. Not that I really got to know any of them, but I was seriously inebriated around a lot of them last year and not a single one of them fucked with me. They offered me crack and asked me for money, but did not fuck with me. And that’s cool by me, dammit. Anyway, ended up not being able to get into my friends show because it cost five dollars and I had none. So, we rallied up the troops and went to a house party. It was what you’d expect it to be. A lot of drunk kids. There were some cool people, some shitty people, but more importantly there were friends there, so what situation can be too bad if friends are there? Thankfully we planned ahead and had beer waiting for us at the hotel, because we didn’t end up leaving this place until well after 1 am. We get back and drink and hang out with Lackluster again. Some really cool dudes, you should check out their music.
The next day at noon was check out time and several hours before our last show of the week at a pretty tacky martial arts themed coffee shop called “Kick Butt Coffee”, which was yet another “venue“ away from anyplace anyone would want to be. With a huge gap of time to fill we all decided to go walk around and see some sights. Once again, being broke, my time was pretty uneventful. I did however make into a Camel cigarettes party where they had free beer, free food, and live music. Nice. After the free beer and a delightful set by OK Sweetheart, I headed to the Mess With Texas fest to catch the tail end of the Deerhoof set. They are awesome and always have been. After their set I met up with my lady friend, Amy, and good friend Doug Schwarz, who had been around us all week documenting, and we went back to the food truck area that housed Lucky J’s. Yes, I did get another chicken waffle. They really are sooooo good. If you’ve never tried it, I highly suggest you stop holding yourself back and submit to one of the tastiest wraps you could ever possibly consume.
Within a few minutes of me finishing the last bite of the best sandwich ever, somehow the band all met up together without anyone actually trying to get everyone together. It was weird. It was like one of those ICP miracles you hear so much about. With a short walk back to the Yukon we were on our way to our last show. We arrive about an hour and a half early, see Horse Thief play their last few songs and wait while another band goes on. Surprise surprise, no one’s there. Well, there were a few a people there. Derek and Alex had some family show up and there were some bands hanging around before their sets. This place also offered nothing to the bands playing and I’m pretty sure none of the bands bailed on this show because the coffee shop made every band put down a deposit, to make sure they wouldn’t. Unlike Zen, these guys know how to make bands waste their time. But, whatever, we played well enough, packed up our shit and left. This was the one show our BOOKING AGENT “secured” for us. ONE show, during one of the biggest and busiest festivals in America, where we had to pay the venue to play. How does that make sense? We pay him to get us shows… Well, you know what Meat Loaf says, “One out of Ten ain’t bad”.