Friday, March 28, 2014

Piñata at SXSW: Heading Home and The Moral of the Story

Damien says: Whoops! Trevor sent me this the day he got back from Texas, and I read it, loved it, told him how much I loved it, and forgot to post it. Here it is:

Hey Folks,

So I am back home in relative safety and chill of Minneapolis. Once again I miss out on all the St Patrick's Day shenanigans. Thank goodness. As a Doyle on my mother's side, and as an Irishman with a taste for libations I can say I don't care for the typical revelry. I'd rather spend some or most of it in a car on the way back from Texas. We had smooth sailing the whole way. A solid 20 hour cruise up I-35. Last year was a snowy icy struggle the whole time. A little traffic heading out of Austin and around every reasonable size city in Texas but once we were out of the state we were fine. Luckily we didn't hit any bad weather until Crosstown 62 in morning rush hour. A little freezing rain. No biggie.

I guess what I learned this year was that SXSW is (no secret) no longer the songwriters' gathering it started as. It's grown way beyond the breeding grounds of the next indie band breaking big this year. It's a mecca for folks who want to see groups they already know and will submit their email to RSVP for a chance to stand in line for an over-capacity showcase at a corporate-sponsored stage that doesn't exist most of the year.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Piñata at SXSW 2014: The End of it All, and This Fest Don't Need Any Fixin'.

Trevor has reached the end of his South by Southwest Experience. We hope he and Marvel had a lot of fun, and Gloria and I have been eagerly awaiting the return of our super-friends! See you at practice, guys!

Hey Folks,
So much like last year's South-by-Saturday, the plan is to hook up with my dad's old friend Dale Peterson and head over to South Congress for Mojo's Mayhem at the Continental Club. This is Mojo Nixon's showcase. We get there just in time to see the JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers from Paduka, KY. For a 1 PM set, they fucking rip. I am informed by Jade that they end the set with a handful of songs by JD's old band The Legendary Shack Shakers.  We all hop out for a minute to see who is playing at the South By San Jose event across the street. The onstage isn't doing much for me, but I find out that Cody Chestnutt is playing at 5.

Back to the Continental. We see some of Dale's favorite Austin singer/songwriters; John Dee Graham, and James McMurtry. John Dee has Marv and me in tears, but James has us white trash boogying through his tales of dirty living.

Back across the street to Cody Chesnutt. We sit through the band before him, which I didn't get their name. They had 2 songs in a row with choruses that had a line like "I am the Passenger" in it. Cody came out about 20 minutes late. They suffered through a few technical issues. Cody sounded like all of the SXSW shows had tore his voice up pretty good. Even still, they did not disappoint me. I think some of those that didn't absolutely adore his music like me were turned off.

Back across to the Continental. We missed the Whiskey Sisters. But caught Mojo's set. He opened with "Can't Hardly Wait" a Replacements cover. Then proceeded to tear the place down. Appearently everything about the government and corporate America can suck his dick.

I kinda wanted to stick around for Tinariwen at the SXSJ, but we were pretty far from our destination and needed to start moving.

We set out headed through downtown to 6th and out of the shit. Determined to not wait in lines or pay covers we skipped Shangra-La, White Horse, and Hotel Vegas. We got micheladas and margaritas at Tukoba. We ate Gator from a guy on the street in a weird trailer with a sign that said free beer. Gator was good, got no free beer.

We hit the Grackle for a beer and to see who was playing there. I ended SXSW at the Grackle last year and heard some metal. This year it was Bipolar Gentlemen. It was some very out-there music. Crazy metal percussion with contact mics. Bass player played with little metal sticks and had his bass laying down. There was a Culligan water jug with a mic in it. Their singer had no eyebrows and crazy make-up and effects on her mic. It was pretty intense. We bought a CD.

On to the Hi-Hat for a beer and back to St Roch's. We turned in early(ish). I told Jake Quam that I would take first shift driving on the way home, so I wanted to be rested.

Today was an awesome day. I saw real Austin music, Cody Chesnutt, and  some avante garde. It was a good way to end this adventure. Now for the real adventure. The journey home.

Flavorful Side Note:
We ate BBQ breakfast around the corner from Jade's place. It looked like a dump but the BBQ was perfect. We went back this morning but the ribs and brisket weren't ready. Kinda sad. In other sad food news. It brings me great pains to say that Lucky J's Chicken and Waffle Taco truck is no longer in the food court on 6th and Waller. There was a different Chicken and Waffle Tacos, but they were more expensive and could not hold a torch to Lucky J's.

Musical Side Note:
I wonder how many people that come to this festival actually see 1 band or songwriter from Austin Texas. I'm really glad that I was able to see some. Mission: Spend an equal amount of time in Austin soon and see what music scene here is really all about. I've heard good things.

Piñata at SXSW 2014: Black Diet Does That Thing They Do, and Real Friends are Real.

Trevor's still been kind enough to report on his adventures. I like to think he's writing notes on his arms like in Memento. Here's Day 4:

Addendum From Yesterday:
Macaulay Culkin was at the TGNP show. Everyone was freaking out about it. It didn't phase me much. I respect his early work, but haven't seen much of him since that movie were he was dating Mila Kunis. Regardless, it wasn't very good.

Hey Folks,
I'm starting to feel it. Feet and legs ache from walking and standing. Body aches from having beers all day. Forehead aches from sunburn.

Yesterday was a big day. Black Diet made their SXSW debut at Holy Mountain. They killed it, despite a few sound humps at the beginning. The outdoor tent area was filling up and moving to their sweet soul sound by the end of the set. I gave out a stack of Piñata Hit Parade Sampler discs to a bunch of BD-hungry folks. They asked me where their next showcase was. I think these guys will be back next year in force.

After Black Diet, Jade, Marvel and I tried to catch Blind Shake next door at Red 7. We missed them but caught the end of a set by the Entrance Band on the inside stage. Really revved up dancy rock. I hear tougher louder Talking Heads. Back to the outside stage. I saw Together Pangea. Awesome. The Upset, made up of members of the Vivian Girls and Patti Schemel of Hole. They were great. Short fast songs. Shouts choruses. Next was Off! Featuring Keith Morris. They were also loud fast and extra punk. It was awesome. During their set a woman complimented me on my busted-ass jean jacket. I guess she works for Levi's. She took my picture and gave me her contact. She's going to send me a new jacket.

At this point Jade and Marvel have broken off. I'm all alone so I head back to Holy Mountain for Sonny Knight and the Lakers. I'm a little early. I catch the end of Cloak Ox. My third time seeing them in 9 days. I love Cloak Ox now. They are really good. I stepped out into the tent area and saw a little bit of Tugg. Wisconsin college reggae band. Talented dudes for sure, but not what I wanted to see. Sonny and the crew did not disappoint. They looked amazing and sounded even better. After their set I hung around chatting with music friends and got a few songs by John Mark Nelson.

I headed back up 6th to Hotel Vegas to meet up with Mystery Date guitarist/frontman Johnny Eggerman. Johnny is a well-seasoned SXSW traveler, but this year he traveled to Austin with his Dad. The 3 of us see Glits, Coachwhips (backyard on the ground), and Warm Soda. They were all on Johnny's handwritten agenda on graphing paper. We try to catch Tyvek out back of a cafe on Cesar Chavez, but we just miss them. Back up to 6th. By now i am pretty tired, I've had a lot of beers, and am growing increasingly sore. Jeff, Johnny's dad, has been telling me about these ladies from KC (where the Eggermans are from). So we had to get to Shangri-La. Midcoast Take Over. I see the last chorus of the last song by John Velghe and the Prodigal Sons. Head inside to the acoustic stage with Jeff. A seat is a rare thing at SXSW. So we take the 3 front seats.

We see Kasey Rauch with Betse Ellis. Good folk country. The next set is Betse doing her own thing with her violin. Johnny says, "This is gonna be some Kansas-ass shit". I didn't care it was amazing. Betse turned the little stage into a hoedown. A mix of traditional and more modern influences. She covered "Don't Worry About the Government" by Talking Heads and closed with "Straight to Hell" by The Clash. I sang out loud. It was awesome. Jeff had to go back to the hotel and turn in. Johnny wanted to go to Beer Land. I need to charge my stupid phone. We all parted ways. Jeff Eggerman is the coolest. Sometimes you go to a music fest hoping to meet some record exec and get famous, but you end up meeting someone way more important.

Feeling a certain buzz from hanging with good folks and hearing good music, I headed to St Roch's for a charge and a few beers. Jade was bartending. After a few I decided to end on a high note. Headed home to fall asleep 15 minutes into Alien Vs. Predator.

Musical Side Note:
I kept seeing a long blonde haired drummer ripping drum solos on different kits and in different parts of town. Either there are tons of skinny long blonde haired shirtless street drummers in town or he is the best hardest working drummer ever.

Flavorful Side Note:
We ordered pizza. It came an hour and a half later. The middle of the box was crushed. Squishing the lid into the cheese. Do they not have those little plastic pizza protectors down here? I thought that

hasn't been an issue since the 80's. Thanks for the room temp Cheddar Jalapeño Poppers.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Piñata at SXSW 2014: Slonk Donkerson and Diarrhea Planet, with ribs.

Trevor says these words, regarding his Thursday...

Hey Folks,
Big Day yesterday. Gotta make it quick. Heading down to Holy Mountain for Black Diet.

We started out on foot about noon. Breakfast stop. We made it down to Billy Reid's Austin Shindig. I think the band that was playing while we waited in line and brown bagged Bud Lights was called the Apache Relay, but I can't say for sure. The schedule was different then the one I saw online. We missed Shaky Graves, but we caught Kurt Vile. We headed to Rainy St. to get wristbands for the Haggar Jeans party at the Clive Bar . After waiting in line we all get black wristbands and JT gets a blue one, which means he gets free ribs and gets to see Cody Chesnutt and Kelis at the night  show. He gave us some free ribs which stopped me from pouting. I love JT. Barrence Whitfield and the Savages was a good blues band. Worth it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Piñata at SXSW 2014! Horses! Icky bathrooms!

Trevor's travels continue:

Hey Guys,

Well last night I had a blast. It's a bummer to wake up and hear about people getting hurt and/or dying while I am having fun. If you don't drink and drive shit like this won't happen. Done.

After getting situated at Jade's house. We awaited the arrival of Black Diet. 4 beers later they show up. 2 beers later we strike out. A beautiful walk through Rosewood Park we arrive at our usual rendezvous point, St Roch's. I wrote about it last year. It's like if Palmers and the Triple Rock bought a tiny bar together and peed all over the bathroom.

Piñata at SXSW 2014! The Journey South.

Damien says: Trevor's headed back to Austin, and this year he's traveling with fellow Piñata representative, Southside Desire bandmate, and wife, Marvel Devitt. The stakes are little higher than in 2013, as Piñata artists Black Diet are performing at an official SXSW showcase after winning's Are You Local contest. Let's follow along as Trevor and Marvel schmooze and booze with the world's tiredest, day-drinkingest tastemakers and hitmongers. Here's Trevor's first check-in.

Hello There!
We are headed back to Austin, TX for the year's biggest and most exhausting music festival. Who knows where in town we will end up and who or what we will see and hear. Here's how we got out of town.

Tuesday March 11:
Marvel and I had a pretty stressful day from the get go. So many things to list and too much backstory for it all to make sense. Regardless, we made everything happen as best we could and got dropped off at one of the coolest apartments in the Twin Cities. This domicile was the home of Mr. Jacob Quam, local drummer extraordinaire and owner of a very nice 2001 Chevy Tahoe. We picked Dan Larson and Bree Ward in Uptown and Ryan Anhorn in Owatonna. With the crew assembled, we set off on an overnight ride that would take us 1170 miles south on 35 and through 6 very enjoyable states. Like the deadly Iowa and Nebraska.