SXSWhatever Day 3: I’m In A Band

Categorised as FEATURES., MUSIC.

We are all so very fucking hungover.  I drag my very sorry ass off to the “restaurant” at my super deluxe hotel and while I search for the finest Columbian and all I get is rat’s piss, Withnail & I,  haven’t changed the filter paper or grinds in 4 days.  I want to cry, I lost my Golden Virginia and my rolling tin.  At my age, which we should say is pretty substantial, I have an unnatural attachment to this small metal box of delight.  I left it behind when I stormed out of a stupid 5am conversation on the patio with some mad Australian lady who claimed we were all Jews. I’m not sure how convincing my argument made on her about my Basque heritage coming from the Upper Paleolithic era which predates Judaism.  Fucking idiot, which is confirmed when I find out she’d been to see Skrillex earlier that day, I rest my case!

I need a fag, so I approach some server ladies that even Patrick Swayze would have run from at The Roadhouse, and in exchange for them ridiculing my state of being and accent, I get a Marlboro Red. It’s like meeting the man of your life, without a beautiful wife Alanis.  Eventually, we all head to Dennys for breakfast which is akin to Little Chef if Little Chef existed in the banks of the Lethe in Hades,  also known as the river of unmindfulness but this one is just on Interstate 35.  These people are sleepwalking through life without remembering why they are here, how bad this food is for you and how tasteless it is apart from the sourdough toast, which is akin to an undiscovered spotless portaloo at Glastonbury.  The Badged-up go into town and I take my 2 wheeled chariot to check in to tonight’s accommodation, which is across the motorway.  It’s a Bates Motel but with an interior of only primary colours.  It will do; the shower is killer and there’s a deadbolt which I’m advised to use at all times – Nice!

Today the Wristbandless are gathering back at Spiderhouse for yet another free show which didn’t even need an RSVP so I’m still without any wristband at all.  The And So . . .  party is a big trek back up town through the crowds and cocophony of sounds, way too many off kilter synths for my liking and I cruise up to 29th where I’m greeted by a Norweigan band, or so I’m told.  It looks like some paedophile has made a magnificent excuse to get 2 barely pubescent pretty girls out of the country for a week.  Line up is fantastic and yes similar to the other night but this time I get to see the bands without the middle aged executives and so glad I did.  The line up includes the most spunked upon bands in the blogosphere, well for bloggers that like loud garage music – Thee Oh Sees, The Strange Boys, Sleepy Sun, Mikal Cronin, Bare Wires, Football , K-Holes , The Ketamines, Chapter 24, Young Prisms, Carnivores , Throwing Up, Guatanamo Bay Watch, Boscoe DelRey, Sea of Bees and many more.  Plus there’s free Sailor Jerry’s at various times so what’s not to love about this place?

I’ve seen Chapter 24 many times over the past few years; we’ve become friends but I know it’s not that which makes me think they are one of the finest live acts London has to offer and I’ll keep seeing every chance I can get.   All are talented musicians, lots of tour time have created a tight sound of a post-punk propelling nature even if the tempo drops up and down it’s still going somewhere and that somewhere is good.  Do yourselves a favour and catch a show, you will not regret it.  After a Merch stint, we head to next door Rubys for some real BBQ.   Too much Austin Powers means I order Baby Back Ribs, and we congregate on benches outside.  We are joined on our bench by a very imposing man in a hat who turns out to be John C Reilly, obviously thinking the safest place to hide is beside a bunch of Europeans, although I do want to ask him about the epic production that is Boogie Nights, I resist.  But his peace doesn’t last too long and soon there is a long line of sheeple wanting their photo taken.  How do people exist at this level of fame?  Again I’m reminded by Bill Murray, who I feel faces it full on and enjoys fucking with you to make it interesting, how many times can you hear your own lines repeated back to you, others hide in their Ivory towers, poor fame filled bastards!  After that I head for some grassy hangs with the kids from Vancover including my friend Mar, that’s what this festival is for me, seeing people I rarely see day to day in London.  The Papilion girls have also arrived and we indulge in some free Sailor and Ginger, thanks guys!

Back to the music, see a really engaging set from the Carnivores from Atlanta Georgia, can I call it Garage Krautpop?  Then a very surprising set from Strange Boys, they’ve become much more blues based with vastly improved clear vocals. For someone who has been sitting beside us all day in silence, Ryan, the lead singer is bewitching.  Maybe he had just been stoned, maybe he didn’t like us, who knows? Who cares! He’s doing good by us right now.  More Frozen Margaritas and we are treated to the only line to a show I encountered this festival.  Thee Oh Sees are well known for their energetic sets and it seemed after a week of playing for him and her doing reviews with their lanyard of importance, they kick it out of the park.  Full on moshing, crowd surfing, screams and yells of adoration bounce off the walls. Fucking glorious. We then all get mullered, apart from designated driver Mel, it’s lovely spending time with these guys but I’m sort of like a space man visiting Mars as I’m surrounded by in-jokes and catching stories I don’t know the background to.  But I also feel a bit of an island in the sun.  These guys have been in each others’ pockets for a month now and a new face, even if it is mine, must be something of a relief.  Circa 4am with 2 shows to do the next day we get dragged into the van and I get deposited at Motel 6 – and it certainly looks scarier in the dark – Night Y’all!


Grace O’Byrne

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