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Friday, February 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 15.0° F  Fair
Music
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Screamin' Cyn Cyn from SXSW 2008: Catching shows at Emo's and Ms Bea's, and playing one at the Music Gym
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Maybe it was the sunshine or the band or the Lone Star, but I felt a euphoric sense of camaraderie with everyone.
Credit:Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons

Steve and I started off Wednesday by going grocery shopping. Having breakfast and lunch food in the hotel room will save us money, but will cut down on the total number of tacos eaten. Everything has pros and cons.

After stocking up, we biked downtown, and stopped at the convention center to pick up our wristbands, followed by a visit to Flamingo Cantina to attend a party thrown by Becky from Yarrr! PR. While there, we met some folks who had seen us in Bloomington, Indiana, and chatted with them for awhile.

Then came the music. We went to Emo's and caught the last bit of The Raveonettes. It was so sunny and gorgeous. Later we saw The Mae Shi, who were great, and then The Death Set.

Here's why I'm so lucky to travel with others to this festival: I have the world's slowest music absorption rate. I really get into about five or six albums a year, and they tend to be by bands I already like, or by bands we are friends with. So when it comes to scanning a huge booklet of bands that will be playing, I recognize very few of them.

Steve, on the other hand, has excellent and expansive taste in music and actually keeps up with new bands. So seeing The Death Set was his idea. They were amazing. And here's where music journalism falls short: I can't really describe what they were like (and I refuse to do one of those sounds like so-and-so gave birth to so-and-so and they both went to pick up so-and-so at the airport). The band has two guitarists and two drummers, and they were fun and energetic with charismatic stage presences.

Watching them put me in a sort of Ira Glass-style reflective mood. Everyone in the crowd had big smiles on their faces and the band looked like they were doing what made them happiest. When I'm chatting with people in my normal life, I always have a moment where I open my mouth to say something dull about band life and close it again.

At SXSW, people like to talk about touring and bands and great shows. And we all like watching fun bands more than just about anything else. Maybe it was the sunshine or the band or the Lone Star, but I felt a euphoric sense of camaraderie with everyone.

Okay, enough of that. We went and ate tacos, then walked up to Ms. Bea's. There we got to see Best Friends Forever, a great band from Minneapolis, and another set by the Mae Shi. Full of food and music, we headed back to the hotel to get ready to play at the party for Spunk'd.

The first show of SXSW for Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons was at a strange building by the highway called the Music Gym. Someone told us that it had just opened, and that it was formerly a law firm that was a front for a massage parlor in back. This story was corroborated by a strange shower room with three shower heads, where we took some pictures.

Ron Jeremy had cancelled due to scheduling problems with his current movie shoot, but Penny Lane was there, and posters referred to her as an adult star. It's a funny term, since you would expect it just to be the opposite of a child star. But that's not what they mean at all. The former massage room was screening the new movie, and it was really pretty creepy and weird to see people sitting around watching it. And there was no sound.

Several bands started the show. Then Lovewhip played. At the very last moment, right before we played, a bunch of people showed up: friends from Ouija Radio, The Gusto, and Prizzy Prizzy Please; more from the now-defunct The TunaHelpers; Justin from Awesome Car Funmaker; along with Grace, Andy, Sam, and Jake Shut who runs Crustacean Records. This made us very, very happy. The stage was outdoors and had a neat industrial view of the highway. While we played, I couldn't stop staring at a huge neon Wendy's sign in which the Wen had burned out.

It was a fun show, and it really boosted my spirits to see so many friendly faces. We went back to the hotel early this morning happy and tired.

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