Sunday, March 17, 2013

Piñata at SXSW: Part 4

Fatigue begins to set in on Trevor, and we get Jonathan's perspective, Rashomon-style.


Hey there, folks!
Day 4 of SXSW (Day 6 on the road).

This is a 2-parter. Woke up with the same mission as yesterday: get downtown and see Lucy Michelle and Velvet Lapelles. I got the jump out the door on everyone else. Made it to Holy Mountain on the bus in record time. The Lapelles were in their usual top-form. They rocked the early crowd hard. After their set I went out for a brisket sandwich at the same place I had one the first day here. BBQ heaven. So good. I hopped in to see Jesse Boykins' last song, upon Jonathan's recommendation. Wow. Great singer. I tried waiting in the line for the Spin Party but it was too frustrating. I went back to Holy Mountain to represent MN at the First Ave Current Midwest Showcase. I saw Masked Intruder and Off With Their Heads. Phaux from WI. 4onthefloor again, arguably better set than the day before. I also watched Solid Gold. They kick ass. Sound guy was being an asshole when Jake Hanson asked for reverb on the vocals. I know I said I wouldn't rag on sound guys, but fuck that guy. Give the band reverb. Shit.

Lucy Michelle and The Velvet Lapelles

Jonathan and I had separated a bit earlier, his story is the second part. My buddy Jade and I headed out of the mess that is downtown. We went looking on East 6th for snacks and rest. I was a little burnt-out from yesterday and a little buzzed at this point. Took a break to charge my phone at the American Spirit Zen Garden or what ever it's called. We've utilized this place all week. They give you free water and sell you $1 smokes. Not bad except there's no pisser in there. Jonathan stops by again to charge his phone up.

After a bit of a break we ventured down to Frontier Bar to check out some Country and Bluegrass Music. I saw the Boomswagglers tear it up. Jonathan met up with us again here for a little while. It was a special treat to see a band that I love from Alabama called Pine Hill Haints rock on the floor. Highlight!!! I also saw a really kick-ass bluegrass band that I didn't get the name of but they reminded me of Split Lip Rayfield.

At this point I was soooo tired from all the walking and standing I had to turn in early. I walked up to the grocery near the bus stop to get some healthy snacks and catch the bus. I missed the last bus and had to walk home to Jade's apartment. It took me an hour and fuck, I was tired. Ate a salad, drank a beer, and watched 2 episodes of Twin Peaks with Jade's roommates.

Musical Side Note: I saw on the street the most peculiar truck filled with musical equipment all set up for one guy to play all at once. He was called the Wandering Madman. Creating live covers of Pink Floyd and shit. It was awesome til he played Imagine. He lost me.

Also, sound guys. Don't be assholes. If you don't like doing your job go work at Home Depot or something.

Flavorful Side Note:
My friend Sarah Stubbs recommended a food truck on 6th and Waller called Lucky J's. I was told by her, legend of a fried chicken waffle taco. It was amazing. I had to eat 2. Waffle, Fried Chicken, Bacon, Swiss Cheese, Honey, and Sriracha. Bang.

Jonathan's Journey (much more eventful)...


First show of the day was the orchestral folk pop of Lucy Michelle and The Velvet Lapelles, which absolutely blew me away. I've been meaning to see them for so long, and this made me a believer. Album: purchased. Next, I separated from Trevor to head over to the Stubbs/Spin party to get a good spot for Solange and CHVRCHES. On my way out of the Lucy show I heard a beautiful, beautiful voice floating out over red river street. I recognized it as Jesse Boykins, purveyor of ambient, narco, deep r&b grooves. It was the treat of my morning. With boundless energy, he slayed us. Record: purchased. Next I headed over to the SPIN party just in time to catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra, whom I felt okay about. Next was CHVRCHES, whom I'd been trying to see all week. They make glitchy, fem-fronted, indie electro-pop, and they are really good at it. Next up was Solange, who took the stage to much fanfare, joined by one of most attractive backing bands I've ever seen. Despite some early mic issues, she performed handily. I think her set could benefit from fewer harmonic dalliances. That said, she handled the vocal histrionics like a goddamn pro. Which she is. I loved it, but I would've loved it even if she walked onstage, shit her pants, and called a cab home. I skipped out on Kendrick Lamar's set to go charge my phone, but I hear it was great. The next act I caught was rapper Trinidad James, who honestly won me and a lot of other cross armed jerks over by having a winning, boyish charm. It came off precocious and super fun. I'd rock the single. There was a huge gap in music seeing here as I made a trek out to The Frontier Bar to meet up with Trevor for some Pine Hill Haints. They had a charming lead singer, and it was nice to see Trevor. I wanted to date their accordion player. I made the trek back downtown to try to catch Kids These Days, but ended up just charging my phone again. Next time, cause those are some chitown folks I need to see. I headed over to the Dawes show at The Mohawk, only to find that there was a rather long badge/wristband line in front of me. What's worse is I could hear the band playing on the roof over the venue. Once they finished "When My Time Comes", I had to leave. I was starting to get little kid frustration tears.

JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound

I decided to head down East 6th to find some hipsters to love, and lo and behold I did. I ran into my friend from Chicago, Eric Michaels, one half of scorching hot indie act Paper Thick Walls. He was in full on party mode, and took me over to Papi Tino's with some of his friends. That shit renewed my spirit. There was a band playing on the front lawn that I have mistakenly been calling Carolina Story (that's their sister band). Look them up (as I will), because they smashed it. It was pop, with the slightest touches of soul and country, with bright harmonies all around. So tasty. What really did it, though, was the sheer fun I had watching them. They backflipped out of trees, they shook my hand mid song, they had us sing along. Seriously. A huge crowd gathered. Don't sleep. After meeting some pretty awesome Chicago music important people (same show), I headed back downtown to see a one-two punch of fantastic: My (new) hometown heroes The 4onTheFloor with my (original) hometown heroes JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound. What a sick twist of fate. The 4onTheFloor, were aggressive, raw, punchy. They got everyone involved. So stellar. *Finger kissing sound*. Now I've been wanting to see JC Brooks for 4 years now. FOUR YEARS! And oh my god the glee. I had no idea that what they did was so modern, so current. There was a strong Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis undercurrent, a pop sheen that I didn't know was there. And real talk, when JC Brooks howls, I mean really howls, time stops. It just does. I fan-boyed the shit out of them post set. I will share a stage with those gentlemen if it kills me. In any case, the end of my night was punctuated by an hour and a half walk through a dark, foreign city with a dead phone, directions given but not written, and a fair amount of intuition. Can't believe I'm here. One more day.