Day 5 at SXSW(Day 7 on the Road)
I got up early and went out with an old family friend, Dale. He took me to Mojo's Mayhem at the Continental Club on South Congress. It reminded me of a cross between the Turf Club and Lee's Liquor Lounge. We saw a great band from Dublin called The Mighty Stef. Sort of late Replacements and 90's Brit-pop... But really great. It was an awesome way to wake up. 11:00 am rock show. We listened to the Whiskey Sisters from the sidewalk out front. A guy in a Motörhead t-shirt walked by right as they started into their shit-kickin version of "Ace of Spades". We ventured across the street to check out the South by San Jose showcase. We saw band called Luella and the Sun. Bluesy country, great band. Kind of like the opposite of Alabama Shakes but with lots of similarities. Nah mean? Shakey Graves was a one-man finger-pickin dirty country singer/guitar player with a kick drum. Reminded me of Crankshaft. A very cool, Byrds-y San Fransisco '67-y band called Allah Las. Second 12-string guitar I've seen on this trip. Then back to the Continental for John D Graham and the Fighting Cocks. This was awesome. John D has a voice of gravel and a heart of gold.
At this point Dale and I broke company and I headed back into the belly of the SXSW beast. I'm bummed I missed Mojo Nixon's set at the Continental Club, but it was getting pretty crowded. I had a mile and a half walk to meet up with Jonathan at the Swan Dive. He was sitting in the shade (a rare thing here) in the backyard area they seem to share with the bar next door. To my surprise I walked in and The Blind Shake was setting up. They were amazing as usual. Met up with Jade and tried to venture out in search of something to see but everywhere was in between the early and late shows. So we charged phones and drank Lonestars at Valhalla. The bar is divided into a bar side and a show side. We are able to see the band through the bar. The band was fine except that there are so many bands that all sound the same here. They covered "Heart of Glass" and it was over for me.
Jade and I broke off from Jonathan and headed up East 6th to see what we could find. It was most certainly the busiest I've seen the east this trip. We found some house that is now a bar with no sign. The Austin Steamers were playing out in the front yard. Good country music. They did "Flowers on the Wall" by Statler Brothers really well. The yard was so packed and everyone was freaking out. Very wild. We kept moving down the street.
I saw a school bus parked on 6th. It was all painted crazy. I got closer and realized there was a garage rock band in the back and the whole thing was packed full of dancing people. Coo Coo Birds from San Fransisco, I guess. We then popped into the Gypsy to see what was happening and get a beer. I stood there for a few minutes and thought. Hmmm, Marijuana Death Squads, these guys are jacking your style. Only to get up closer and realize that Ryan Olson is on stage and there are a few other familiar faces from Mpls. Not sure what they were going as but they were maybe some dancy racket. It's wild that you'll walk up on random folks from Mpls down here. (Toussaint Morrison, Omaur Bliss, the Set, and countless others). We decided after a few numbers to poke our heads out back. every bar in Austin has a back yard and it's usually bigger and cooler than the inside of the bar, and apparently there are bands playing both in at our of each one this week. We caught a little bit of Austin's own Communion. Sludgy heavy dark metal. I needed a little of that on this trip.
We moved on to the White Horse. Caught a great roadhouse style band and they did a great version of "Dancing in the Moon Light". We didn't hang there long. We had to meet Ginny and Jonathan at the Grackle. I saw an Austin band OMGBBQ. 2 drummers, guitar and bass. Heavy and kind of ridiculous. We didn't hang long. We had an early morning and so did our hosts. One last rescue from Benji. Jade had a pot roast cooking all day. Had a snack and good night Austin. See ya later South By Southwest.
...It's hard to do everything here. I got a text from Lucy Michelle saying they got me on the list to see them play at the Dorito's stage. I was in South Congress at the time. No way I could've made it. I also missed Sean Anon today. And that's just bands I've already seen! Forget seeing new and interesting bands. This is super overwhelming and exhausting. Austin is a beautiful city I can't wait to come back.
Musical Side Note: I am truly glad I came to SXSW. But for me, personally, I need a break from sound. I need a few days off of rhythm, melody, all of it. That sucks. Because I have to work Tuesday night. Ugh.
Flavorful Side Note: Jade said you couldn't get a burrito in Austin. I proved him wrong today. I got one and then I ate it. Bring extra money just to eat at food trucks constantly. Serious. It's so tasty.