Epilogues SXSW tour diary

Sunday, March 22:

I'm not keeping up with these entries, because it's damn near impossible to find any time to write down here. I'm about two days behind right now, so I'm going to attempt to just cover everything between Thursday morning and right now. As a disclaimer, my memory only goes back about 24 hours, so I don't really remember Thursday all that well anymore. Actually Friday is a little fuzzy too. Shit... I've got to stop drinking. Hmm... well anyway, here we go...

We woke up Thursday and stumbled downtown. We tried to get into the Alternative Press party, but the line was deceptively long, and we eventually gave up. We hung our heads in defeat and then perked up when we realized that Meese was about to play at the PureVolume.com house. We made it over there in time to see them and hang out for a little bit. Those kids are class acts.

At some point, Alan from the Photo Atlas grabbed us, and we all sprinted up the steepest hill I've ever seen in real life to go catch the last few songs of Cursive's set -- me gusto Cursive mucho! When their set was over, we had about 45 minutes to get to our next show and load in.

Thursday night's show definitely wasn't our best, but it was probably the most fun of this trip, because we got to play right before Aloft in the Sundry, the Photo Atlas and our good friends out of California, Halos (p.s. - Halos is one of the best bands I've ever heard/seen, go check them out). Dan from Halos jumped onstage and did vocals on one of our songs, and then Chris returned the favor during one of theirs. It was both sexy and magical.

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The Photo Atlas played last and, at that point, we were all about three sheets to the wind. Our roommate, BF, ran up and put a cardboard cutout of a cowboy that vaguely resembled my sister's ex-boyfriend on stage. During one of their songs, Nate ran up and started playing the tambourine and shaking the cowboy around. It was like watching John Travolta in Urban Cowboy, only taller. We closed out the night and then headed back to the hotel. Chris fell asleep in the van. He does that sometimes.

We played at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon, so we had to get straight to the venue when we woke up. It was the Mile-Hi-Fidelity showcase, which had all Colorado-based bands, so we were in some very good company. We played our set (our last of the festival) and then settled in with some drinks to watch the rest of the bands. The showcase only lasted until 7:00 and, as it started to wind down a bit, Chris and I opted to hit up a liquor store and walk around Sixth street for a little while. We wrapped our beers in show flyers and went in search of adventure... what we found was an extremely drunk Nick from the Photo Atlas holding a bag of socks. Since they had a show in about three hours, we decided to get them back to the hotel to sleep off some of the day's poison.

We were pleasantly surprised when we got back to the room to see that some of our friends from Colorado had just gotten into town and were staying at the same place. So, we hung out with them for a little while and then headed back to the festival once the Photo Atlas guys woke up. From here on out, I don't remember much of the night, but I do know that one of our newly arrived friends spent the night in a parking lot.

This all brings me to this morning. This is the first real moment of down time that any of us have had all week, so I thought I'd use it to try and write what I could. We're here for another day so there's still plenty of debauchery left to be had. In fact, with all of our shows and responsibilities out of the way, the danger level probably just increased greatly. Well, I need to wrap this up, but before I go, I just want all of the reader's to know that Jason Hoke is transgendered. That is all.

3:23 a.m. Friday, March 20: The buffet that I mentioned in the last entry... yeah, it did not help. It ruined my stomach, and I don't think I was alone. It really started the day off on an uncomfortable note.

We went to the airport this morning to pick up our roommate BF, who flew in to Austin to partake in the week's festivities with us. Once he was here, we spent about three hours zigzagging across downtown to pick up all of our credentials for the rest of the week's shows. We ended up at the PureVolume.com house, and were pleasantly surprised to find free beer - so we hung out for a while. Eventually, our man-crushes, the Photo Atlas, showed up to make us self-conscious about not drinking enough. I'm not entirely sure what happened next, but I do have a vague memory of driving across a city park and over the curb to avoid getting a parking ticket. Sorry mom.

We headed back to the hotel and had about two hours to get ready and grab our gear before getting back for our next show. We ended up falling asleep for about an hour and a half and had to rush back downtown with just enough time to make our set. The stage was probably the smallest I can ever remember playing, but the show actually went really well. We were greeted by some Denver love as Aloft in the Sundry and Jason Vigil showed up and flashed us bedroom eyes while we were playing. We finished our set and packed up in a hurry so that we could make it back to the PureVolume house in time to see the Photo Atlas play.

There was actually a line around the block to get in, but the Photo Atlas are gentlemen and snuck us their artist badges, so we walked around feeling cool for a minute and then cashed in on some of that free beer again. When we got inside, we ran into Kam from the Chain Gang of 1974 and Nat and Sean from 3OH!3 (today's blog is far more of a name dropper entry that yesterday's... just bare with me), and we all piled in the front for the Photo Atlas's set.

It was an amazing show. There was this insane lighting rig behind them that was probably miserable to play in front of - they were sweating like Mel Gibson at a synagogue - but it made the show so sick. By the time their set was over, the venue was packed to an uncomfortable capacity, and there was an overwhelmingly strong smell of urine and drugs.

I wasn't there for the start of it, so I can't speak to the cause, but at one point we had a bit of a scuffle with a bunch of gutter punk kids. All I know is that we had them outnumbered by about thirteen people, so it wouldn't have lasted long. It never really escalated, and eventually the kids with Crass T-shirts and stupid haircuts were kicked out for peeing in public. It wasn't nearly as anarchistic as they wanted to think it was.

We eventually ran out of steam and decided to head back to our hotel. The Photo Atlas helped themselves to our floor, and we closed out the night by having an epic NHL '09 tournament on Xbox 360. Meanwhile, BF snored louder than any human being ever has before.

Oh, and the Photo Atlas appointed me in charge of writing their tour blog also. (Editors note: Lame, dudes!) So far, Bill popped his air mattress then got a haircut, and Nick is mad at Mark for stealing his turn at Xbox 360. The End.

Thursday, March 19: So here we are in Austin... hung over in a highway side Days Inn. We've been here for a little more than a day and so far it has been both wonderful and frightening, and I can only imagine that things are going to get even more insane as many of our fellow Denver bands are going to be getting into town today.

We got to Austin on Tuesday afternoon, with just enough time to check into our hotel, and then head downtown to load into the venue for our first show of the festival. I've never really been one to get overly excited by St. Patrick's Day, so it had kind of slipped my mind what day it was. Then we show up downtown, where the streets are completely overrun by green T-shirts, gingers and a lot of kids whose parents maybe should have spent just a little more time with them. We loaded in and ended up having to park about ten blocks away. On our walk back to the venue, I kept a tally.

  • asked for change seven times.
  • almost hit by three cars.
  • was handed about thirty show fliers.
  • almost hit by one horse-drawn carriage.
  • had six drunk kids talk to me when I really didn't want them to.
  • found one set of keys.

We played our set and, despite Chris's guitar going out for half of our first song, everything went relatively well. We met up with some old friends and proceeded to drink everything that Austin had to offer. My personal favorite was when we dropped $12 on a seemingly impressive, oversized martini glass filled with god knows what (it tasted like watermelon and sweat). We literally drank it in three seconds and immediately found ourselves regretting the purchase. The bartender was rude and tried to call us gay because a bunch of guys drank it together... I hate Texas sometimes.

As the night wound down, we tried to get a taxi and discovered that the max capacity (even for vans) is four - we had five. After some debate, we decided "fuck it." So we spent our cab money on a few more drinks and opted to walk the 4.5 miles to our hotel. That's right... in an unfamiliar city, in a sketchy area, at 2 a.m., we went for a walk.

The details of our walk home are still extremely blurry but here's what I do remember...

  • We ran into some freshly released convicts who told us that we shouldn't be here. However, the detail that sticks out the most is that they were exceptionally polite criminals. Very good manners... that's always refreshing to me.
  • Jason and Chris kept throwing cacti at the rest of us. It wasn't called for.
  • We saw a hotel that looked like Jurassic park.
  • At one point, we decided to take a shortcut along some train tracks, and while it seemed like a good idea at the time (we felt like the kids in Stand by Me), halfway down, everything was tagged to hell with MS-13 (watch Gangland on The History Channel... it'll make you paranoid too), so we ran as fast and quietly as we could.

Eventually, we all made it back to the hotel safely, where we ate sandwiches and passed out. My head hurts terribly right now, but I guess we're going to a buffet in a minute, so that should help. Oh yeah, and Jason ripped the belt loop off of my brand new pair of jeans...  dick.

Throughout the week, we'll be maintaining a tour diary consisting of entries from various Denver bands that have made the trek to Austin for the city's annual South By Southwest festival. Keep checking back for frequent updates.

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