Thursday, April 5, 2012

South By Sort-Of Report: Day 3

Friday March 16, 2012

Finally found myself downtown in the SXSW maelstrom Friday evening. ETB set time 8pm, and Rob was already there to play with Street Light Suzie right before us. Quick set change, nice!

So Eric and I make a pass by Headhunter's to recon load-in situation. Most downtown streets are blocked off to some degree, which can often help or hinder musicians trying to get gear into the clubs.

SO we pull around to Headhunter's on 8th Street/Red River, when so help me God, we snag the Holy Grail of parking spots for not just Headhunter's, but in all of downtown that night. We were beside ourselves with our good fortune. Usually parking and getting gear to the club was a clusterfuck and a half. But now, not only are we parked, but we can leave the gear in the van until we are ready to load in. Brilliant!!!

And we load in soon enough, cause Street Light Suzie finished about 20 minutes early. Wha wha WHAT?!? A multi-stage venue during SXSW with bands all day and night, and the show is actually running AHEAD of schedule? Holy shit, maybe the Mayans are on to something.

So we leisurely set up, as Rob's drums are already onstage and the show is way ahead of schedule. Then launch into an unrelenting 45 minute set that quickly fills the place. Great set, great crowd. Ripped my strings off and everything. Then we loaded the gear in the van and hung out for a bit.

Eric and I got caught talking to some drunk guy at the bar. Always interesting to hear the career advice from fans or hobby players to actual working musicians. This guy was in a band, and he told us for about 30 mins of all the things we were doing wrong and what he thought we should be doing. My reaction was mild amusement at first, then slight offense, then pity.

Him: "You guys play WAY too much! You're oversaturating! You should play maybe 4 shows a year! My band has been waiting a year to do a show, make the fans wait!"

Me: "Oh really?" (Mild amusement)

Him: "SERIOUSLY! Why do you guys play so much?!? You should stay in a practice to get it tight, then do only a few shows a year!"

Me: "So... what do YOU do for a living?" (slight offense)

Him: "Oh, I work with my brother..."

Me: "Well there ya go" (pity)

Him: "But my band is the #5 Metal Band in Austin!" (according to ReverbNation, but he didn't say that, and I had never heard of them. He pointed out the sticker on the wall and the logo was illegible)

This went on for a half hour.

So we go outside to maybe have a High Life on 6th. Wow, who set up the Pink Floyd Laser Light Show out here? I bet with the money used for that they could have trippled the size and effectiveness of HAAM. But that would help the Austin musicians too much rather than the tourists that will post pics of the lasers on their Facebook. But the streets were absolutely CLOGGED with people.

Anyway we came back. I thought about crashing the Small Stone Showcase (I wrangle my way in every year somehow), but I had some life things to attend to and alas was not able to make an appearance. Plus the streets were already crazy packed. How would they be at closing time?

Well, let me tell you:

Tia Carrera, whom headlined the SS Showcase, was loading their gear at the end of the night. When who else but actor Bill Murray pops his head into their van and asks what they're up to. They are loading gear, they ask if he wants to help. He said sure. So Bill Murray himself helped Tia Carrera load their van after the show.

His cameo appearances in real life trump his cameo in "Zombieland" apparently.

South By Sort-Of Report: Day 2

Thursday March 15, 2012

During the day the only thing of consequence I can recall is ETB got the call from Headhunters offering us the Friday 8pm fill-in slot before the Small Stone Records Showcase

Wow, that's convenient. Had also just found out SS Showcase was on Friday instead of Saturday, and was planning on being there anyway. Sweet, we get to play too \m/,

Taking SXSW easy for once was awesome. Good gigs landing in our laps is also awesome.

(Ha! I just had to cross-reference my own damn blog to see if I had written about anything this day. The everyday excitement I call my life and music career.)

That evening Trin and I ventured a half mile Trophy's to catch our good friends Sabbath Crow at the Whoopsy Magazine Party. Good times with good people. SB sounded great tho was hot as hell on the inside stage. Caught some of Black Earth out back as well. Been playing shows with Black Earth since the Southern Gun Culture days 10 years ago. We got caught up with a lot of good people that night: J and Kristin from Sabbath Crow, our friend Corri Mava, talked with Ving from Black Earth for awhile, havent seen him in a few years. Good times, good people.

That is one definite undeniably good thing about SXSW for the players who live here: it's like a big family reunion. And felt a pang of regret for missing the Red Eyed Fly kickoff on Tuesday.

South By Sort-Of Report: Day 1

Wednesday March 14, 2012

Spent much of the day at home waiting for the FedEx guy to see if my CDs would be making it on time as promised.

Sure enough in the afternoon hear comes a FedEx truck! Which entered the RV park and stopped across the way. Then left. Well shit! A half hour later I get a delivery conformation email. What?!? Looked around the front and sides of the Hobbit Hole. Nothing even resembling 2 boxes of CDs. So I checked the email again, and sure enough they were delivered the wrong lot #. So walked over, saw the boxes, and grabbed them. Awesome!

Checking the Austin Chronicle Music Poll results, Hey Hey Hey!

Eric Tessmer Band placed top ten in not one, but TWO categories: #6 Blues Band, and #10 Rock Band. Holy shit, awesome! Also Adrian and the Sickness won #1 Punk Band. Good for them, bout time AATS finally starts getting some of the recognition they've deserved.


So that evening made an appearance at the Austin Music Awards. Karen Slafter had some extra guestlist slots so went with Triniti, Karen, Philip (Karen's BF) and T23 artist Kelley Premeaux. Good times! Overpriced Lone Star and Alejandro Escovedo onstage. Checked out a few tunes, noticed Joe Morales (Matt Smith's World, played on Tim's record) up there too! Awesome. We didn't stay long, I could have and probably should have done the schmoozefest thing, but Karen's back wasn't in such good shape so we made an early exit, went home and relaxed. I could get VERY used to the whole "taking SXSW easy" thing.

Alejandro Escovedo onstage at the Austin Music Awards

Kelley Premaux, Triniti Young and Karen Slafter at AMA's

That night we learned that just after we left, Bruce Springsteen himself joined Alejandro onstage. Well shit. SXSW FAIL. And the next day it was brought to my attention that on making our early retreat we also managed to walk right past Robert Plant on the way out and didn't even see him.

Damn. Epic Fail.

Danny G: 0

South By Sort-Of Report: Day Minus 1

Tuesday March 13, 2012

This is all written after the fact, so forgive any missing details or inadequate embellishments.

I was conflicted all day about going to the SXSW kickoff party at Red Eyed Fly, which I have been going to every year for the last 10 or so. But I wanted to take this SXSW easy. Plus my "Leap of Faith" and reprint "Ocean of Stars" CDs hadn't come in the mail yet so I really didn't have anything to promote myself. Play it by ear, see how I feel.

Picked up Triniti from work at Tattoo 23 and went to Maria's Tacos for dinner. Walking in saw Pete the Beat from the Mother Truckers setting up with some guys on the patio stage. Holy shit! I don't think I've even seen Pete since I left the Truckers in Dec 2010.

Great to see him as well, Pete's a great guy. Wish I was better at keeping in touch with people. Liked traveling with him cause he's like a Hobbit; he just wants everyone to have as much fun as he is. Good taste in hotel TV shows, and talks a lot in the way that starts conversations and keeps them going. Handy for someone kinda shy like myself.

Caught up with him for awhile til the band he was playing with started, caught a few songs and we headed home. And stayed. Took the night off, and it was awesome.

ETB signs with The Pearl Agency

Quick update, busy coupla days.

ETB has signed with The Pearl Agency out of Houston TX, an up and coming booking agent who handle The Mighty Orq and a few other artists. Looking forward to a busy summer, and this time with proper representation. Awesome. A very good start.

In other recap shit:

ETB played BD Riley's on 6th Street during Texas Relay Weekend, a track event that draws thousands downtown. So many people it's a pain in the ass to be down there with gear, and we tried to book around it which we did. But then the date changed. So we lug our gear in Boss Hoss, which performed flawlessly that night, thank Crom.

Downtown was already getting crazy. Cops already had 6th Street and the feeders blocked off, with a huge beefed-up presence. We had to load from the corner of Brazos, which getting there was an adventure unto itself. I don't know where the hell Eric parked. But the gig was awesome, and the crowd was great. Very profitable night as well. We left the gear there as getting the van was near impossible with the mayhem.

Followed Eric in my van next morning and retrieved said gear. That afternoon had practice with Arcana Mundi, which went well. Having Mark Epstein on board now as bassist and musical director is helping immensely. This music is very involved, and having someone who was on the record and knows it inside/out has added steroids to already productive rehearsals.

Monday went to Great Outdoors with Trin and got some plants for the Hobbit Hole. Feels good to garden. Then installed the window AC unit we got previous night, swapping out the old dirty/moldy existing unit which I didn't even want to turn on. Took some additional window trim and choice swear words but it's in and works pretty good.

Monday night ETB played a stripped-down early set at Saxon Pub in addition to the residency gig at Friends to promote our upcoming Saturday show there. Stripped down gig was pretty cool, haven't done a semi-acoustic set before. Next time I will def bring an amp as the Bass DI sounded terrible, at least thru the monitors. Monday residency gig was kind of slow, fun but nothing to write home about.

Saxon Pub, photo courtesy of Betty Loo

Friends, photo courtesy of Moses Blues

Tuesday had a too-short ETB song-writing rehearsal, trying to finish some new tunes for the Saxon Pub gig on Saturday. So far so good.

Wednesday had Arcana Mundi rehearsal. Went very well.

Today had final ETB song-writing jam in prep for Saturday. 2 songs in the bag. Awesome.

Jesus, and people some people think playing music for a living isn't a full time job. I am tired.