Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SXSW 2009, Day 8

Friday. A bit worn out; I had to sleep in.

First thing I saw was the Proclaimers at 2pm, at the other fake made-for-TV stage in the convention center called the "Lone Star Lounge". (The Bat Bar and the Lone Star Lounge are adjacent TV studio facilities for Direct TV, alternating each hour between which is being televised live and which is being set up for the next band). So, the Proclaimers are two brothers from Scotland -- you'd know a couple of their songs. It was just the two of them, acoustic and they really sounded great! Nice harmonies, catchy tunes, etc. I'm sure M would have liked them too, but she was at a series of dayshows several blocks away at Mother Egan's (acts with a more folky lineup).

I walked up to 6th street for a 3:30 lunch (also having not had breakfast). I was really hungry so I just got some street food (a bratwust).

After this, I had no particular agenda for a while. I played with my camera, taking some time-lapse video walking up 6th street. I also had a cupcake from the "Hey Cupcake!" trailer.

I returned to the convention center, and I went back up to the trade show area to see what was going on. They were doing a Perez Hilton interview, which I ignored. I noticed a girl browsing some of the booths nearby, thinking she looked like the Von Bondies bass player. Then I noticed farther up the aisle that the Von Bondies singer was looking at some equipment. They started walking over to where I was, and I noticed the drummer right there seemingly waiting for the others to catch up. So I asked him if they had any more day shows coming up; he told me they were playing at 6:45pm at Home Slice Pizza and asked if I'd caught any of their other sets (which I had, yesterday). We started talking about their shows and SXSW in general, as the rest of the band gathered. The singer started asking me about how their set had sounded the previous day, and if I knew anything about who this Perez Hilton guy was that people were watching nearby (he hadn't heard of him), what other bands I'd seen, etc. They were super-friendly and we chatted for several minutes. So I asked if they minded me getting a photo, and the drummer took my camera and took a pic of me with the singer. Then they had to get going to get ready for their show.

I walked back on 6th street and called M, as her shows were finishing. We met at 6th and Congress and I told her about my Von Bondies conversation. With no agenda, we decided to walk down to south Congress to eat at Home Slice Pizza and catch part of their set. The pizza was frankly ordinary. The Von Bondies were not to M's taste, so we left shortly after eating (after 3-4 songs) for the walk back up Congress. Since we wanted to see different things, we then went different directions for the evening.

I next went back to the Bat Bar to see Shiny Toy Guns at 8pm. Well....they were entertaining and energetic, but they were too loud. Sure, most of these shows are loud, but there's always the earplug option. But in this case, they were TOO LOUD, even with earplugs. I stayed, but I moved to the back of the room.

The poorly-kept secret of SXSW was a "surprise" set by Metallica at Stubbs at 10pm. I figured I might go take a look, just because it was the big spectacle event of the festival. I had to walk near the Red 7 Patio on the way, so I dropped in to see a couple songs from the Dollyrots. They also seemed too loud. Maybe it's just me. So, time to go and head to Metallica. (This may seem strange after commenting on volume, since surely Metallica would be loud too -- and they were -- but for plain audio volume and the size of the venue, I'd swear Shiny Toy Guns and the Dollyrots were louder than Metallica).

I half expected not to get into Metallica, even with a platinum badge. If they're at capacity already, it doesn't matter what your badge is. Well, it was full but the badge line really didn't look too bad, so I gave it a try. Somehow I got in after about 20 minutes, meaning that a handful of people left the venue shortly before Metallica even started. Anyway, I've never really seen a metal-ish band, so I figured I'd stay for a few songs to check out the spectacle before moving on to something else. But they sounded good and cranked out a lot of energy, the crowd was really into it, etc. I was interested enough to stay for almost an hour. Apparently they were playing a bunch of hits but I only recognized the song "One" -- and only because that's the one on Guitar Hero III.

I left Stubbs BBQ (their venue) for the long walk to the other large-ish venue, the Austin Music Hall, where Devo would be playing at midnight. They were fun and quirky, but to some degree I can't quite shake that Devo is just sort of a novelty gimmick band. Still, they played several of their hits and I was satisfied enough after about 50 minutes to go see if I could catch some of Dinosaur Jr.

After leaving the Austin Music Hall, I walked to the Cedar Street Courtyard, which was overflowing. I could hear Dinosaur Jr playing, but there's no way I would be getting in. I sat on the curb for a bit and listened to a couple songs, then headed to the Smoking Music lounge to see if I could catch the New York Dolls before they finished. I got there in time to see the final 3 songs, including finale "Personality Crisis". David Johansen looked pretty weathered, in a Mick Jagger way. (Some unfamiliar with the New York Dolls may know him only as Buster Poindexter, as in "Hot Hot Hot" from the 1980's).
Closing in on 2am, it was time to head home.

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