The three of us piled into Boss Hoss early (for us) on Friday to forge our way downtown to the first of two matinee shows (1-5pm slots) at Agave on 6th Street. We knew what we were up against (closed streets and moving gear a block or two just to get to the venue) and had two dollies in tow.
It was a GORGEOUS day, sunny and cool, and we made our way up South 1st Street to downtown with 2 hours to get there and very high spirits.
Then it happened. Boss Hoss stalled in traffic at the light at South First and Barton Springs. Shit. Would not restart. Shit shit.
We kept our cool, threw it into neutral, and pushed the fully-loaded 15-passenger van about a hundred yards in traffic to a nearby parking lot by Threadgill's World HQ. Laughing the whole time. "Livin the dream!"
Eric pulled the dog house and messed with various engine parts. No luck. But no worries. Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to be stranded en route to a gig. Eric called Loranda (our merch seller) for assistance, and they left for parts, tools, and tacos. I notified Triniti and had her and Goldie Hawn on standby.
Eric and Loranda returned, parts were replaced and tacos were consumed. But Boss Hoss was still dead in the water. So we pushed it further into the parking lot, I called Triniti to bring my van, and we unloaded the gear to await reloading into Goldie, Rob claiming a proper spot for our stricken van with his drum hardware case.
Trinti arrived with Goldie, and we set about unloading the gear in my van (guitar rig, drums, recording gear, etc), put that into Boss Hoss, and loaded the ETB gear into Goldie.
Crisis averted, only an hour late for our show, heh! But Agave had been notified and they were of course understanding. Closest we could get to 6th Street and the venue was the roadblock at 5th and Neches. Trucked our gear a block to the back alley. Of course I didn't know that and went on to 6th Street carting my Dietz 2x15 on a dolly. Couldn't find the venue (Agave changed names to Big Bang for SXSW, they sometimes do that).
Was getting a little peeved about the fucked up loading situation, but was still in good spirits even with our Boss Hoss going belly up. Roadblocks, crowds, cops, and SXSW operatives whisking around in golf carts.
But after my cab fell off the dolly onto the street not once, but TWICE, I was pissed. As a musician I appreciate the city inviting the entire music industry to our fair town for a few days every year. But that also made it fucking impossible to load into a paying show without great difficulty. Which never seems to happen the other 361 days of the year...
Hastily threw our gear into the front corner of the bar, by the open windows. Lots of good foot traffic on 6th Street, so this would be a good show. Even with the concrete floor and weird acoustics.
We threw our frustrations into the music, drew a great crowd and knocked them dead from about 2:30 til 6. We played longer to make good on missing the first hour of the appointed set time. And we weren't close to being done at 5pm anyway, and neither was the crowd. Great set. Drinks flowing again courtesy of our friends from Dallas and enthusiastic audience members.
Loaded out the back door into the alley, weary but victorious, catching our breath and waiting for Triniti to battle traffic to the previous load spot on 5th Street. Rob's back was starting to give him problems. Pushing a van and a long set I'm sure didn't help...
As we rested, up rolls a SXSW golf cart and two SXSW operatives.
Immediately the older lady behind the wheel started giving us shit, and wasn't being nice about it. We needed to clear the alley immediately as this was a fire zone and we were blocking it (our gear took up much of the alley but golf carts could still make it through at least).
We explained to her that we had just gotten offstage, we're waiting for the van, would move the gear shortly, and would CERTAINLY get it the fuck away from the venue if it went up in flames. This response did not please her, and she kept on telling us to move it NOW.
At this point I lost it and yelled at her: "You know? If we could USE YOUR FUCKING GOLF CART TO MOVE OUR GEAR, WE'D BE OUT OF HERE QUICKER!!!" I don't feel great about it, but I feel no remorse whatsoever either. It needed to be fucking said.
She drove off amid a hail of expletives from both sides. And she wasn't a volunteer, she was a SXSW employee. Nice. I can't help but feel that SXSW routinely shits over the local indigenous artists who were originally what the festival was all about, in effort to make it more of a money grab every year. There I said it.
And here is the Eric Tessmer Band, a HARD working local Austin band in the Live Music Capital of the World, who just had to leave their stricken van in a parking lot and STILL made it to the gig, being yelled at by a power-tripping SXSW goon in a golf cart, as if we were some clueless amateur shit band from out of state who drove all the way down here to play one free show to nobody.
Not to mention Rob's tale of Wednesday night during Street Light Suzie's set (one of his other bands) at the outdoor stage for the Texas Rock Fest (non-SXSW affiliated music festival). That's his to tell, however.
Eric and Rob stayed downtown to raise a little hell, I went home with Triniti to get some rest before heading to the '04 Lounge to catch what we thought was a Super Heavy Goat Ass renuion for the Whoopsy Magazine party.
Turns out it was the SHGA offshoot band Fur King. We still had a blast, and yes they do have an actual reunion coming up. That will be fucking awesome. I've know those guys and been playing shows with them since the Southern Gun Culture days way back in 2000.