Friday Still with me in Austin? Hunky Dory! Thursday night almost did me in, and Friday promises to go no easier on me and the thousands of other SXSW participants. The weather was amazing, and the first band of the day was, Voivod...see a pattern here? Science fiction and metal together, they're one of my absolute favorite bands, ever! Their performance was at the Scoot Inn, outdoors and sunny, check out more festive photos! With the music keeping my mood elevated, I grabbed a freshly opened young coconut from the place around the corner and zigzagged over to Encore for the WFMU/Aquarius Records showcase! Partners in crime, we all put our heads down and made it happen, whew! Speedwolf was up first on the outside stage, Iron Man (pic at left) followed them with their punishing set of Baltimore doom, and by the time they were finished I had to get some food. I was starving to the point of questioning my sanity. I had been on a steady diet of all types of meat while in Texas, and my system was in revolt, and came quite close to doing just that! I hit a place that I've frequented for a couple of years that always seemed to be a clean deli with plenty of sandwich types to offer.
After salivating in line for 30 minutes, and delighted in the fact that I hadn't gnawed off my own arm, I was ready to order. It came out like this, " I HAVE to have a salad! Please help me!" Even I was surprised at the outburst, and the woman behind the counter immediately took pity on me. "We make taco salads here, I can make you a regular salad," she exclaimed. Taking the salad tin and putting some lettuce in it, she got a curious look on her face and said, "I have just what you need in the back!" Away from the counter for a full five minutes, I thought of all the astonishing, stupendous, fantastic, amazing, wonderful, mouthwatering salad combos she was preparing for me. And I don't want to underappreciate this woman, she was manning the counter alone, the line was in no sign of stopping, and she was in a great mood, so props to her. However, when she came out of the kitchen holding two stubs of broccoli, one piece of cauliflower and ONE miniature carrot, I felt like a bad joke had been played on me. I was, of course, going to eat this salad, regardless of how somewhat shameful it had ended up in my mind, so I thanked her, suggested salsa and avocado, got her to comply, and was FINALLY on my way. I had missed at least one full set on each of the WFMU stages, but I had my prized salad, and devoured it quickly, snorting and burping, and chewing my cud in between bites. Back to back, Shit & Shine, then Pierced Arrows (above right) were some of the best received bands of the night, and with good reason, they gave the crowd all they had (although in the case of Shit and Shine (photo at left), I'm not entirely sure the crowd wanted everything they had to offer!) I don't have pix of all the showcase bands that night, as myself and Liz Berg were primarily handling the outdoor stage, but check out the full lineup here!
Is it Saturday already? Austin was handed a bunch of cold, crappy, rainy weather on Saturday, which seriously curbed my activity during the day. At the Galaxy Room outdoor stage I arrived in time to see fellow 'FMU brethren Nardwuar introduce Voivod (we're up to Voivod sighting #4 if anyone else is counting), Andrew WK, and finally Roky Erickson with Okkervil River (left). Performing tunes from the upcoming release "True Love Cast Out All Evil", as well as older material, I was delighted to see Roky in great form. After drying off and taking a BBQ break for several hours (when in Rome...), I rushed back into town to see old favorites the Hickoids followed by Sons of Hercules at Jaime's to round out the evening. In this wee venue, it was difficult to distinguish the crowd from the bands, which made the night pretty darn boisterous! Dictators drummer JP "Thunderbolt" Paterson performed a version of the song "Alex Chilton" in between bands in honor of Chilton, who died 3 days before; the Big Star performance scheduled for Saturday night ended up being a tribute to the man instead. Read a full account of that event from Pitchfork.
Heading into Sunday, I think I've got the energy -fueled by a meal at the Texas Chili Parlor, a great food joint/bar, also known as the venue where parts of the Tarantino Grindhouse feature, "Death Proof" was filmed, it was time to conquer! First, I was met by Austin's Blower, featuring Doug "Didjit" Evans on guitar (at left), with their hot rod, chrome peeling rock at Lovejoy's. After watching Blower, I fulfilled on my promise earlier in the week to revisit Dark Castle another time. This was it, and they were as deliberately heavy, energetic and layered as a 2-piece can be, the band delivered, again! The last band that I saw for the evening, and as it were, for all of SXSW, was Weedeater - the hideously wonderful bastard child of Buzzov-en and Bongzilla-- stabbed, spewed and stomped on the crowd like a Manson family massacre. They are on tour now, you'll thank me if you haven't seen them. Southern grime, down and dirty. Period! After an intense schedule of shows, food, shows, food and shows, shows shows, this seemed to have been a logical ending to my SXSW visit this year. I walked out of Lovejoy's elated, and I swear it was smoking like a wreck.