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Friday, March 18th, 2005

Gone To Texas – Part 2

Okay, found an internet cafe, so let’s do this.

I am amazed at my resiliancy when it’s absolutely necessary. Yesterday was something else – up at 3AM EST, got into Austin around noon local time. In the interim, I took a taxi, a bus, a shuttle bus, a plane, another plane, a taxi, a bus and yet another bus and was at Emo’s in time to catch the end of the Wrens’ set. Right on schedule! Quite a trip, in every sense of the word. But to fast-forward a bit, I was basically up for twenty-four hours straight, with very little napping on the plane. It was like if Jack Bauer had an incredibly non-violent, music-filled day.

Rewind. So yeah, caught the Wrens, met Juan from Achtung Baby!, met up with Joyce and Fred who were so kind as to get me a wristband for the fest, then saw Stars perform. They had some techincal problems to start – I have yet to see them perform “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” without some sort of tech issue – but they were still quite good and the crowd ate them up. Canadians rule – I actually caught a lot of CanCon yesterday, as you’ll see. I dashed out of there early to make it to the Filter party on the other side of downtown where I was hoping to flaunt my guest list-ness, but they didn’t check. Alas. Double disappointing was the fact that Rob Dickinson wasn’t playing as scheduled. In fact, he wasn’t even at the festival. Instead, they had Sweden’s Shout Out Louds play and I stuck around for a few songs. They were alright, but I was getting restless and dashed out.

Back to Emo’s. I caught the end of Pedro The Lion’s set, and listened to some of Clem Snide across the street outdoors. Next full set was LA’s Midnight Movies, again at Emo’s (though the inside stage). Hot girl drummer/singers = thumbs up. Then back to the Emo’s outdoor stage to see Austin’s own American Analog Set perform a nice set including some new songs from a newly-recorded album, hopefully out this year sometime. That was it for day shows and I figured to dash back to the hotel to unload some baggage and regroup for the night.

However, while Austin transit had done me pretty well thus far, it let me down now. My hotel was considerably further out of downtown than I’d really expected so getting back and forth was a bit of a problem. Mainly, I wanted to drop off my camera as the sternly worded signs at all the SxSW venues seemed pretty firm about the no cameras policy. Of course, as I saw that night, it wasn’t enforced at all so there’ll be no more going back to the hotel to be a good boy. I’m a-smuggling tonight and tomorrow. But back to the hotel, I finally got back and into downtown just in time for the evening shows to start, but there wasn’t any time for resting. Or eating, as you may have noticed. I hadn’t eaten hardly anything yet.

So night shows I started off by seeing Toronto’s own Aaron Booth play at Sake On Sixth at the all-Canuck Endearing/Boompa showcase. He played a nice solo acoustic set to a small but appreciative audience. I got to talk to him for a little bit before heading back out into the night. Downtown was chaos by this point, streets closed off, etc. I elected to hit the Blender Bar to see Ulrich Schnauss, though I will be seeing him in a month with M83, I was curious as to what it’d be like. In a nutshell, dude sitting at a laptop, pointing and clicking. Not very engaging at all, to be honest. I stuck around for a couple songs and ditched to grab a slice of pizza. Next was the Co-Op Bar to see Brooklyn’s Dirty On Purpose. I arrived early and saw a bit of Bloom, who were fairly unremarkable rawk, but DOP impressed enough to get me to buy a CD although the sound was kinda dodgy. I guess it’s unavoidable when you’ve got 15 minutes to set up and tear down, never mind a soundcheck.

Next was across the street to The Drink to see Denmark’s EPO-555, who reminded me a bit of The Radio Dept’s older jockier brother. Still unmistakably Scandanavian pop, but with more cajones (as the locals say). Pretty good stuff. I then tried to get in to see Kathleen Edwards at Carribean Lights, but the lineup was pretty long and daunting, and after a few minutes I decided it wasn’t going to happen and ditched to go see Austin’s Experimental Aircraft over at the Hideout. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the times right and they were playing at 1AM, not midnight. So I got there and another local act, Halley. Thankfully, the venue was a theatre set up with padded seats so I grabbed one and rested up for a bit. The band was alright, if unremarkable. Most notable were a couple of identical twins in the band who were really creeping me out once I realized that they did indeed look identical. Mind you, I was probably mildly hallucinatory by this point, so don’t hold that against the band.

Finally, I head back across downtown to where it all began, Sake On Sixth, to see the end of Run Chico Run’s set and then enjoy Vancouver’s Salteens power pop the night away. They’re always fun, and I think they made quite a good impression, drawing in passers-by off the street. They wrapped up just before 2 and though it took me a little while to catch a cab, I was back at the hotel and asleep by 2:30. GAWD what a day.

But I’m feeling much better now (to go back to the resliency thing). Seven hours of sleep and some coffee can do wonders for a body. Having taken a day to get a feel for the town, the transit, the festival, etc, I think I’m in much better shape to take on today. I know how long it takes to get around, where I’m going, and I’ll even make time to eat! Yessir, good times.

As for now, day shows don’t start up for another hour or so so I’m going to just wander a bit. I had a Denny’s breakfast to start things off and I really need to walk that off. Holy shit, the portion sizes in this country. Madness.

I *think* that’s it for now. Will try and check in tomorrow. Finding internet cafes in this town isn’t easy! At least not from where I’ve been looking.

np – There is a guy playing a jazzy acoustic version of Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” in the cafe as I type this. What a town.

By : Frank Yang at 12:47 pm
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. david says:

    I must have missed you all around yesterday, Frank, but i didn’t get into town until about 5. Twelve hours later I was at the airport, so I can understand the hectic activity.

    I wanted to see Ulrich Schnauss, but my brother was with me and he had never seen Southern Bitch, so we went that route.

  2. Kevin says:

    WTF –

    ROB DCKINSON DISAPPEARS FOR ALMOST 5 YEARS ………AND THEN CAN’T MAKE A MAJOR SHOWCASE.

    THAT’S NOT A PROMISING SOLO START!!!

  3. nick cohen says:

    who’s rob dickenson?

  4. mike says:

    Frank…three words: ‘Trashcan Sinatras tomorrow!’. Check ’em out while you’re there.

    Can’t wait to see the photos!

  5. pico iyer says:

    If you like hot chick drummers, don’t miss the Hot IQs, from Denver, at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Co-Op Bar on Sixth. Good stuff, my friend.

  6. joyce says:

    i think today was the best sxsw day i have ever had–10 bands and not a clunker in the lot. hope you had a great night tonight too. only one more day so i hope we see you again tomorrow.

  7. heather says:

    i love epo-555! were there a lot of people at the show? i saw stars in new york recently, and you’re right about the technical problems during "your ex-lover is dead".

  8. Kevin says:

    nick cohen wrote:

    who’s rob dickenson?

    Posted at Mar 18, 2005 / 04:18 PM

    Rob Dickinson is the SINGER FROM CATHERINE WHEEL!!

  9. Frank says:

    Heather – it was hard to gauge attendance at these venues, some were really small but packed. EPO-555 was moderately packed, but the crowd was quite enthusiastic. I’d say the band was pleased with the response.

    Mike – didn’t get to see the TCSs, I wanted to, but mobility was an issue. None of their day shows was accessible by foot from downtown.