Back to the U$$A, SXSW

From March 10th to March 25th, Frank is visiting the good old US of A. First a 6 day trip to Portland, to visit ZXZW artist Khris Soden. After that, Frank is visiting the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. He will try and write a blogpost a day on his whereabouts.

Since the day before had quite a rock ‘n roll vibe, this day started out pretty slowly by having lunch around 3 p.m. After a decent burrito, Johan, Dave and me went to see Earthless and J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) at Habana 6. Supercool that they played a free show that afternoon, in a tent stage, outside. The place was beginning to fill up nicely when we arrived. Bumped into Walter Roadburn, who was extremely siked for the show. The band started out with a noise part, but after 5 minutes the rhythm kicked in, and J. Mascis and the guitarist of Earthless found each other’s vibe. The set consisted of one, 50 minute jam, which was fucking awesome. It seemed like it only lasted for 10 minutes when they were done. Walter was having tears of joy, and everybody was having goosbumps and rocked out. One of the best things I’ve seen…..again…..

After this show, Johan left us. Him and the other 2 guys are driving to Las Vegas. It was cool having them around. Me and Dave went to Room 710, to catch the last bit of Dixie Witch. That drummer / singer is great. I really like that band. I had a nice seat on the smoking patio of Room 710, my feet were already killing me, and exhaustion was beginning to kick in. After Dixie Witch, we went to Jackalopes to kill some time.

Around 8 p.m., 2 shows started which I really wanted to see. First off: The Sonics at Emo’s. After queing for 10 minutes, I came in just when they kicked off with ” Have Love, Will Travel”. Instant shivers! The band was really in shape. Vocals were good and powerfull, the sounds was good, and they played a lot of songs from their first album. Also, when old bands like this reunite, sometimes the shows lack the spirit, but this really kicked in good.

After the Sonics, I wanted to go and see Harlan T. Bobo, but that unfortunatelly got cancelled. I couldn’t really make up my mind on what to do now. There were millions of bands playing, but I just couldn’t make a decision. So, I decided to try and find a proper restroom, because nature called. However, in the United States of Amerika, this is an impossible mission. Goddamn, what is the quality of US restrooms amazingly low. After 30 minutes, I found a good one in a corner on the 2nd floor of the Austin Convention Centre. I really enjoyed it…..;o)

Ok, back to the city again. At 10, Woods were on in Emo’s. 4 art-school dorks with weird instruments on stage, and about 100 of the same dorks wearing thick glasses and odd facial hair as a crowd. Music was pretty cool though, could be someting for ZXZW. After Woods, I walked to the other side of the street, to see the Southern Lord showcase. I walked in when Eagle Twin was playing. Holy shit, that stuff was heavy. A really rough and primitive version of Black Cobra, is how I would describe them. Awesome! And loud as fuck!

I walked into Walter Roadburn again, who just returned from the Smallstone Records showcase. He was a bit bummed out because of the turnout there. There were like 30 people or something. Actually, being here at SXSW, I’ve had a few eye-openers. I noticed that a lot of the shows that go on at night, aren’t really well visited at all. I expected them to be crowded, but they were not. Especially with so many people in town, you would have thought so. Thing is, that everybody is standing in line for the few ” big” shows that go on, and a lot of the smaller shows get left behind. Too bad. Another thing that I’ve noticed, is that there is absolutely no artistic editor or something like that. I mean, why the hell would somebody put up the Smallstone showcase, the Southern Lord showcase and the Tonedeaf Tourbooking showcase on the same day at the same time. That stuff is heavily competing with each other, and it’s not like people can clone themselves to be at 3 venues on the same time. Another lesson learned.

After Eagle Twin, I walked into the drummer of Black Cobra, a supernice guy. Talked a bit, they might be around during, ZXZW, so that would be awesome. I also ran into the guitarist of Wolves in the Throne Room. Good to see him again, he was totally surprised of me being there. Next up: Black Cobra. Holy shit that band rocks. I never seen a 2-piece band turning a venue into a frenzy as fast as Black Cobra does. Ripping guitar riffs, and thunderous drums. Love it. However, at 11 p.m., I really wanted to go and see The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, a band which I noticed a while ago by their really cool bandname. There is a buzz around them at the moment, so I had to que for 5 minutes to get in.

Again, the room was filled with art-school dorks, but also with a lot of press and photographers. TPOBPAT kicked off, and flashes were everywhere. Annoying as hell. The band was pretty good though. Nice Britpop / Indiepop sort of stuff, with a good Morrisey-vibe on the vocals. Love to book them for ZXZW this year, but they will probably be too big in a few months. After TPOBPAT I returned to the Southern Lord showcase to see Wolves in the Throne Room. Met up with the guys and had a chat for a while. They kicked off at about midnight, a good time for a black metal band. They played a 45 minute set, I love their dark and atmospheric black metal. In front of me, I saw WIno (St. Vitus) and Greg Andersson (Sun O))), Southern Lord boss) rocking out. Cool.

After the Wolves finished, I went to meet up with Bartman and his girlfriend. They were at the Texas rockfest, an outdoor festival that takes place for the 10th year, during SXSW, but has nothing to do with SXSW. It is a free festival, put up as a counterpart of the industry-driven SXSW festival. They only put up bands the like, so no label-showcases or interests of bookers etc. here. A lot of fuck-you’s were shouted against the SXSW festival. It really strikes me that a lot of people I talked to aren’t all that happy with SXSW and its corporate image. I think we, as a festivalorganisation ourselfves, should really try to maintain the balance between sponsorship and sellout, and between interests and artistic vision. Otherwise, within a few years, we’ll be doomed.

Anyways, I saw Broken Teeth, a really good 80’s hardrock ‘n roll band. They kicked ass! After them, our friends from the Crank County Daredevils were on. It was approaching 2 pm, curfew, when I got a text from Pit, the drummer of my band, that he was coming into town. I heard rumors there was a show being put up around 2 on a pedestrian bridge over the river, so after meeting up with Pit, Dave, Meagan and me drove over there. It was busy as hell on the bridge, I’d say about 700 – 800 people there. We walked to the centre of it, where some amps and a small PA set were put up. Annihilation Time just finished playing, but Vivian Girls were next. There’s a lot of buzz hangning around that band at the moment, but I can’t really say any other thing than that they sucked big time. Bad songs, worse singing and even worse playing. I just don’t get it. And fuck, all those hipster kids trashing about on there music. I hate them. They should die. All of them.

But, fortunately, next up was Trash Talk, and they saved the day. A 15 minute hardcore outrage, cleansweeping the bridge with moshing punks and other lowlives. That’s how it was supposed to be. After Trash Talk, Witch (J. Mascis’ other band) was scheduled, and Graham, the guitarist of Annihilation Time, was playing guitar with them. Too bad the place got shut down around that time. I was a bit bummed out, but the Trash Talk show really saved the day here. Awesome! And again, something that has absolutely nothing to do with SXSW, but just happens because everybody is in town. We decided to ride back home, my feet were killing me, and I was really tired. 2 days ahead of us though…


2 thoughts on “Back to the U$$A, SXSW

  1. Earthless with J. Mascis (I hate his voice, but he’s a great guitar player) and The motherfucking Sonics. Now I’m jealous…

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