SXSW Travelogue: Take to the Oars and the Denver crew bring the ruckus to Peckerheads

Friday, March 18

Another one for the books... honestly, the worst part about today was that it had to end... After an ample five hours of sleep, the household hesitantly woke up, made coffee, and loaded the trailer in anticipation for our Illegal Pete's Starving Artist Showcase at Peckerheads on Sixth Street. The goal was to get downtown early and find a close parking spot for easy load in and load out.

Personally, I would rather enter a mandatory ten-round belly flop contest after eating a Taco Bell party pack of "beef" tacos then navigate downtown Austin with a trailer full of gear in tow. Alas, though, it was not my decision to make. After an hour of circling, cursing, praying, crying, we lucked out and got situated just a block from the show. It was, bar none, the logistical highlight of the day, maybe the week.

I again headed to the convention center to check in at the FanTrail.com artist lounge. On the way, I popped into the Thirsty Nickel to catch the last two songs of Barcelona's set. They were fantastic, and although I'm probably late to this party, I'm a fan. Our friends band from Orange County, Halos, played a great set in a club where the sound guy refused to wear a shirt.

I also managed to see a blistering set from Fitz and the Tantrums that had the 2 p.m. crowd full of stuffy industry folks on their feet and shaking what their momma's gave them. As I popped in and out of FanTrail throughout the afternoon, I managed to catch J.Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) as he performed a solo set -- it was excellent, in case you were wondering.

Alex Maas of the Black Angels stopped by the lounge, as well, today, so it was really cool to catch up with him. Meanwhile a book signing with Aerosmith's Joey Kramer was taking place right outside in the hallway. I know it sounds ridiculous, and it even feels ridiculous to write, but this is how things are. (Random note about Joey Kramer: He is scared of meatballs.)

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About 6:30 p.m., I rolled downtown to meet up with the rest the boys. Turns out, they ended spending a lot of the day napping and actually relaxing kind of like pet cats. I met their chipper nature and energy with sarcasm and envy (for which I would like to formally apologize). Mikey and Chris did run into Rooney, who we just opened for last month in Denver, as well as Sam Endicott of the Bravery.

It's funny to think that next week we will go back to our day jobs and dreams while a lot of these people we have had contact with will still be making rock and roll for a living. We milled around, drank cold beer and even caught a half way decent set from a metal band from Atlanta.

Before we knew it, it was time to grab gear and load into the bar for the Illegal Pete's Starving Artist Showcase.

Denver rules so hard!

We do, and tonight just further reinforced the level of talent that is coming out of the city. Each Denver band was allotted a twenty-minute set on the top level of Peckerhead's. The room was split with a stone wall divider, so as one band finished the other one would seamlessly launch into its set as the crowd rotated back and forth. Highlights of the night included, well, actually pretty much everyone.

If you were a stranger that happened to stumble in, you would be hard pressed to find a better way to spend the evening. The free show was packed and at capacity almost the whole night. Face melting sets were delivered by the Photo Atlas, the Heyday, the Knew, Cobraconda, the Epilogues.

We also played our asses off. Take to the Oars has a lot family and friends here in Austin, so it was a particularly special night. The energy was contagious, with each act feeding off each other. In addition to the bands bringing the ruckus, a lot of Denverites who made the journey were in the house, as well. It was an impressive display of music, love and public drunkenness.


  • If I don't sleep more I will die.
  • We play our last showcase of the week tomorrow at 4pm (Texas Rock Fest/ Blue Moon)
  • Our manager got her computer stolen at the Dallas Airport on her way to Europe today. Sometimes people really suck.
  • "Players" has the best late night food in Austin (judges final decision made under the influence of alcohol)
  • There were more people on Sixth Street tonight than are currently registered on MySpace.
  • Burgers, beats, Battlestar Galactica.

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.

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