Friday, March 18
Here we are again in Austin for the least "Texas" thing that the state has to offer... thousands of liberal, godless musicians showcasing themselves to the world. We did a small tour on our way to SXSW this year with our dear friends and enablers, The Photo Atlas. So needless to say, by the time we arrived in Austin, our blood was made up of primarily whiskey, and I have the distinct feeling that that ratio isn't going to shift anytime soon.
We got into town at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, after driving through the night from our show in Tulsa the night before. That afternoon, we met up with one of our managers, who had just arrived from New York, and went over our agenda for the week (unlike our previous years at the festival, where we took more of a "what-would-Ted-Kennedy-do" approach to how we carried ourselves, we have to be professionals this time around).
We ran into some trouble while setting up for our first show, when we were 100 percent unable to find parking after unloading. We actually brought Denver's own Nate Meese (who, from here on out, will be referred to as captain Xabi) with us to play auxiliary guitars, and I have to take a minute to tell you all that he is the MVP of this trip. He had to park the van in a random neighborhood near the downtown area, and then ran a seven-minute mile to get back to the venue just in time for our set. Afterward, we met up with some other Denver musicians and proceeded to bounce around the different showcases for a bit.
We actually rented a house for the week with our good friend (and fellow Denver musician), Input and his crew. But apparently none of our other friends seemed to be too concerned about where they were going to stay when they got here, so our house has now become a YMCA for Denver bands. We are housing a real dude stew here, with about twenty different guys crashing at our place (all of whom are currently yelling about who's the mayor of what on "Foursquare" - FYI: Input is currently mayor of Bill Threlkeld's lap).
Yesterday was super hectic for us. We had meetings with a few people bright and early (by bright and early, I mean 11 a.m.). We mostly just bounced around for the first half of the day, but then once the sun set, things went nuts. We were supposed to play at this big outdoor tent at 8 p.m. last night, but the venue was being run by the absolute worst promoter I've ever seen, and we didn't get onstage until 10:30.
This mean-spirited, tie-dyed disaster of a woman allowed everyone to go about twenty minutes over their set time, and then she just added her son's friend's band to the schedule without telling anybody, and yelled at us when we didn't understand why these ponytailed brokebacks were loading onstage in front of us.
All that aside, I will say that the show went really well. We ended up packing the tent at probably close to 600, and because it was St. Patrick's Day, and everyone was drunk, no one was too cool to dance. I would like to thank JP Manza from Take to the Oars, because the guy they had running sound at that show was clearly new to it, and JP stepped in, and really saved the night.
We were pleasantly surprised when our managers, Pete Galli and Chris Hower, informed us that we were all VIP for another little band that Pete manages called The Bravery. We headed over to catch their set at 2 a.m. (conventional laws don't apply this week, neither do standard business hours). We ran into The Photo Atlas as we were walking in, and I guess the girl running the VIP check-in is a huge Photo Atlas fan because she recognized them, and then hooked them all up with passes, too, so we all headed in and set up shop.
Once we were inside, we ran into Chris from Innerpartysystem and found out they went on right after The Bravery. While I have always been a fan of the Bravery, I had never seen them live... fucking phenomenal! I don't really know what else to say other than that. Pete introduced us to them after the show, and then we all got a spot and watched Innerpartysystem close out the night.
Funny story of the night though, our friend Laura was being grinded on by some guy in the crowd, and kept mouthing "help" to us. I tried to be tactful, and interrupt the guy by pretending to be upset over a contract issue involving Laura, but that clearly wasn't enough to shake him. So Chris... our singer, not our manager. (Shit, this is confusing... ok, from now on, in this blog, Chris Heckman will be referred to as Colonel Gentleman.)
So anyhow, Colonel Gentleman saw that my attempt was failing and did the only rational thing he could: He walked up and said, "Who's this clown?" and then grabbed Laura's arm and started yelling at her as they walked off. The guy then turned and started rubbing himself on some other girl. Classic.
On our way home, we met up with Spencer and Graham from Cobraconda, and we invited them to come back and crash at the house (side note: In the time, it's taken me to write this, we've gotten ten new house guests, haha). We all finally passed out around the time the sun came up, and I am happy to inform you that everyone is still alive this morning!
We have one show tonight for the Illegal Pete's Starving Artist Showcase. It is, hands down, the show I've been the most excited for. Several Denver bands combined their efforts to help set up this showcase, and Pete Turner (Illegal Pete) helped us fund and promote it. Pete is amazing and we cannot thank him enough for all that he has done. And on a personal note, we were able to get Gatsby's American Dream to headline our showcase, and it has been a dream of mine to share the stage with those guys for nearly a decade. It is going to be a very very good night.
So, I'm trying to think of what I may have left out here... I need to thank Upslope Brewery for supplying our house with ten cases of beer for the week. It has been two days, and we've gone through about eight cases already... There is picture hanging on the wall of this house that I swear to God has been moving. It's like those drawings in Black Swan. I think it's a sign that I'm supposed to be a dancer...
This really has nothing to do with anything, but we got some great footage of some lady on meth, yelling at people and doing karate in the street... I'm pretty sure that this house has bed bugs because about seven guys have woken up with bites or rashes. Either that or someone's been going around giving hepatitis to everyone while they're sleeping...
Thirty guys in a house with only one bathroom is the definition of a disaster. It's starting to look like an LA Guns concert outside of the bathroom door, just a bunch of broken spirits, covered in grease and smelling like a distillery and unbrushed teeth, waiting in line with no other options (and for the record, that is the ninth LA Guns reference of this trip. Boom!)...
Oh, I almost forgot, a couple guys from the show Community were backstage at The Bravery too, and we ended up taking shots with them... We're currently taking bets on when Caleb Slade is going to wake up. He has somehow managed to sleep for fourteen hours in a room where everyone is yelling (this "foursquare" debate is going to end in bloodshed)...
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I'm sure there's more, but the shower appears to be open and going to go mambo my way in before the bathroom gets tied up for another two days. We miss you Denver. We will be seeing you shortly.
All week, various Denverites will be checking in from Austin with travelogues about their trip to SXSW this year. Read the various exploits of Brian Frederick, The Epilogues, A. Tom Collins, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, the Photo Atlas, Air Dubai, Take to the Oars and Wheelchair Sports Camp.