Our trip to South By Southwest last week ended in a whirlwind.
After the brunch on Saturday morning I took a nap; it was like going to a movie theater when it's light and emerging two hours later in darkness. I went to sleep while everyone was relaxing in the hotel, and woke up all alone feeling fresh as a daisy. I ate and showered and did all those things that make it possible to go out again, then hopped on my bike and joined the team downtown. It was clearly meant to be, because while biking up a random side street, I turned left right into a little bike gang that consisted of Matt, Christian, and Steve.
First up in terms of music was Tubring. Their slower, more melodic songs were excellent. The band's keyboard player kept jumping onto his stand and then played the keyboard by doing the worm on it. With his whole body. Then we went to see Russian Circles, one of Steve's favorites. They were heavy, and really talented and tight.
Then we made a trip to Scoot's to see Captain Ahab, who we played with at the King Club last year. This group plays thumpy dance songs through a laptop, while one member just dances around in a Speedo getting sweaty and trying to get non-dancers to dance. When they performed in Madison, the singer cut his head badly and his bare chest was covered in blood. They're a pretty intense band, so no one was sure if he was hurt or what, but Shane was positive that it was a blood capsule. One trip to urgent care later, it became clear that it was an accident. A pretty bad-ass accident, though. The singer still has the scar, so it's clear Madison has left its mark. In Austin, the band played a great set to a big crowd of enthusiastic people all pogoing at once on a floor that seemed like it was going to collapse.
White Mice was next. This band wears super creepy outfits; lab coats with fake blood dripping down them, along with huge paper mache mouse heads with glowing red eyes. That ended the music for the night, and we made our way to Beerland to find Christy, Charles, and Jake. The bars were closing by that point, though, so we went to their hotel, which was filled with assorted band people hanging out on the balcony. After making a few new friends, we took a grueling bike ride back to our hotel and went to sleep.
Sunday was our last full day in Austin.
We got to GayBiGayGay right in time to see Little Teeth play. They were really interesting, and played about a million instruments. There was a banjo, guitar, accordion, various auxiliary percussion, that instrument that you blow in a tube and press a little keyboard, a xylophone, and probably some other stuff.
One of the reasons I really like GayBiGayGay is that there are hardly any band that just play mid-tempo, tepid indie rock and stare at their shoes. I don't appreciate feeling like a peeping tom at someone's practice space while watching a show. If nothing makes the live show interesting or distinctive, I might as well stay home and listen to the album. Or go to a different bar where I can chat with my friends.
Two more bands we love played there: Dynasty Handbag, a really funny and interesting one-woman act from Brooklyn whose manner reminds me of Amy Sedaris, and the Hot as Shits. This group includes some friends of ours, and play very funny songs with a sexy-lady singer. She always wears big heels and short dresses and writes the set list with marker on her upper thigh so she can lift up her skirt to check it.
We played a fun set. Shane got up early to make a cool outfit that included a fake set of arms and two cabbage patch doll heads affixed to his shoulders. Some of our Austin friends came, as well as my longtime friend Paula. I ran around the crowd and leapt across blankets for "Set the Table," and accidentally knocked an entire cup of beer on a guy. I slightly regretted throwing myself on the ground for the end of the song, particularly since it was covered with cigarette butts and sawdust. I think a little got in my mouth.
We stuck around for Scream Club, who are awesome and are coming to Madison to play the Mad Rollin' Doll's season finals aftershow at the High Noon. They have matching outfits and choreography and perform catchy dance-hip-hop songs.
I was feeling absolutely done by now, and couldn't quite stay for the rest of the festival, so we left Shane there and drove back to the hotel for a power nap. Grace's power nap turned into a power night of sleep, but I woke up and drove Christian, Sam, and Andy downtown to see Peter Kohl's new band Tragedy.
Peter Kohl is a former Madisonian who now lives in New York, and is a band called Moi? He writes beautiful glam rock songs and wears cool outfits and eyeliner, is one of the best singers I've ever heard, and is a great guitar player to boot. He is in my own personal top five as far as stage presence goes. It's a little hard to explain, but charisma on stage is essential and indescribable.
Tragedy is a Bee Gees cover band with a heavy metal style. They put on a great show, complete with back-up singers and dancers. Next was Karaoke Apocalypse, a Gomeroke- type thing during which Kohl sang "Rock You Like a Hurricane." He is such a nice guy and we had a great time hanging out with him and his girlfriend.
Our weekend now complete, we went home to the hotel, ate popcorn, and watched Metropolis.
Monday meant travel, and was pretty dull. We packed up, ate, and parted ways. Ouija Radio and Jake had already left, and were unfortunately stuck at the Texas and Oklahoma border with a blown alternator. Christian and Shane drove back too, while Steve, Grace, Andy, Sam, and I made our way to the airport four our return trip.
Well, friends, thanks for reading.