I am looking out the hotel window at a tree filled with green leaves -- not snow! -- and a "pool" with the color of a bog and a few dead-looking things floating in it. What's that sound? A lawnmower! In March!
We arrived around 11:30 p.m. last night. Our flight from Madison to Chicago was small and quiet, but our flight to Austin was starting to show the signs of a huge music festival. Guitars were a popular carry-on, and Steve and I were literally surrounded by hip-looking Brits. I am a sucker for the accent and spent as much time as I could eavesdropping. It was like TV: causal profanity, "dunno," "cheers," and "mate." We went outside to wait and my heart swelled at the sight of good ole Vanity 6 with Shane and Christian rounding the corner to pick us up.
We checked into the hotel and picked up our stuff from Shane's room. It was packed full of equipment and Firecracker stuff, and both looked and smelled a bit like Shane's old dorm room.
First two orders of business: stay up late and eat tacos. Check, and check. Then we headed downtown to meet up with Grace, Sam, and Andy.
6th Street is the main bar district here, and while it was nowhere near the volume of people that it will be later with week, it was already rocking pretty hard. It's a State Street-esque type stretch, but bigger and with a lot of live music instead of just college bars. There was plenty of shouting and public displays of affection. As we walked along, a man yelled into his cell phone, "That's right. I'm going to a PRIVATE PARTY downtown." Half a block up, a woman turned around and yelled after him, "Don't do it all in one night!"
The street is full of these little stories. The cops were gathered around chatting about a Coen brothers movie, while a guy was yelling at another guy that he has to have his number, since didn't he see him on VH1? We stepped around vomit and past an all-night pizza place -- now there's a definite connection.
We ended up at Red Eyed Fly where two bands were playing, one inside and one outside. I got us Lone Star tallboys, our new sustenance for the week. The band outside was a cool psychobilly kind of group that wore their guitars low and sang about whiskey. The band inside had long dyed-black hair, a farfisa, and a singer probably too drunk to stand, much less sing.
By now it was bar time so we headed back to Vanity 6 and returned to our hotel. We had a few beers and watched a little TV, then went to sleep. In the middle of the night, the phone started making horrible noises (maybe ringing?) and I tried to silence it by pushing all the buttons. Isn't it a sad comment on our cell-phone generation that I never once thought to pick up the receiver? In the end, it appears I just pulled the cord out.
Also, big news for us! Our friends in Lovewhip -- who we met through Madison-native Peter Kohl of moi? and a Bee Gees and AC/DC tribute-type band that we will see this week -- invited Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons to play a party tonight. It's is for a release of a new movie by, and I am not making this up, Ron Jeremy, and is called Spunk'd. Our friend Andrea, who used to live in Madison, also has a hand in the show. The movie is supposedly some sort of porn-spoof, but we went and watched the trailer and it just sort of looks like a porn movie to us. With pop-culture references. I would be lying if I said I'd always wanted to meet Ron Jeremy, but Shane probably wouldn't. It should be an adventure, anyhow.
So, here we are making plans for the day. We're going to try to see Headlights (from Champaign), The Mae Shi, The Death Set, and Panthers. We're going to get groceries and wristbands and sunshine. And then, I guess, we're going to get Spunk'd. Hmm...
Cyn Cyn will be checking in with reports from the Pons' performances, other live music shows, trips to taco shops, and other experiences at South By Southwest starting next week.