Sunday, March 29, 2015

SXSW 2015 Report: Day 1

And so it begins.

Wednesday March 18, 2015

Day 1

2 gigs, Thunderosa at 12:30pm, Adrian Conner official showcase at 1am. Long day ahead...

Woke early to catch the bus to play with Thunderosa at DirtyFest at the Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street. Awesome place.

What was not going to be awesome was trying to park there. So, DD provides backline. I was on bass for this one. So I was able to take my gigbag and a backpack with pertinent cables and pedals. BAM! No driving, no hassle!

Of course the bus dropped me off at 4th and Lavaca, and I had to walk to 6th and Neches. Google map it. It was a jaunt, but a nice day for a walk!

Thunderosa played at a disorientingly early hour (12:30pm) but a quick turn and burn set. They had the other lead player Jason doing this one, and was nice to finally meet him haha (as in, "Hi, nice to meet you! OK here we go, 1-2-3-4" and play)

photo by Armando Reyes

But the show was a blast, we drew in a decent number of people from the street. And tear down took literally 3 minutes. Which gave us plenty of time to deal with this situation:

So glad I wasn't driving haha!

Calm before the storm, 6th Street on early Wednesday afternoon

Walked all the way back to Lavaca to catch the bus home. Rested briefly (slept off the Jager I mean) and decided to catch part of the Heavy Metal Pool Party at the Metropolis Apartment Complex (nowhere near downtown).

Glad I made an appearance, lots of musical friends and family involved or in attendance. Was also warm enough this year the people could actually get INTO the pool haha. So yes, lots of lovely tattooed rocker ladies in bikini this time.

Caught up with Heather Webb and Clinno (both ex-Bug Girl and co-founders of the HM Pool Party), Debbie from Bexar County Bastards (talked to her about joining Ocean of Stars but she couldn't), good friend Teresa Kay (who has been kicking the shit out of breast cancer the past year), many others that I can't recall at the moment. But good times and good bands.

Home again to rest up before meeting Adrian and Armando at the rehearsal place to take Vincent Van Go right into the jaws of the beast (downtown during SXSW).

Being she was a showcasing artist she had a pass to get through the barricades, if that would help get us any closer to the club. We showed up probably around 2 hours early just to see if we could grab parking, even tho the itinerary said load in 1-hour before set time. We were playing at the Trophy Club on 6th Street, which I only know as the place next to Dizzy Rooster with the mechanical bull. We were trying to convince Adrian to ride it mid-song, but that didn't come to pass. And not because she didn't want to, but I jump ahead of my tale.

So we pull up to the barricade at 7th and San Jacinto and pull over. Armando runs to the venue for recon on gear situation and load-in. I go and talk to the guardian of the barricade. I see that they have beefed up the barricade situation since the fatalities last year. Even if we got through the barricade with our fancy pass, it would only get us 5 feet closer to a load in door still 100 yards away and downhill.

Guardian of the barricade was really really nice, and yes she could let us in if need be but also was in agreement that it wouldn't really mean fuck all in getting us closer to the load in door haha.

Armando also returned saying load in is through the back door. Well that is good, fuck wheeling gear through the crowds on 6th Street proper.

At this point I see that the paid parking lot right behind the venue we need to load in has several open spots. And for $30 we got parking there all night, and could leave our gear in the van until it was time to load in.

Victory is ours!!! $30 might seem steep, because it is. But better to pay $30 to park a stones throw from aforementioned load in door and be able to leave our gear safe within the van, rather than load our gear in then pay same price to park several block away and have to watch our gear all night.

So we popped our heads in the venue for a quick look-see. Trophy Club is bigger than I thought. Stage was set up in a back room I didn't know existed. Which was unfortunate as (1) not much access to mechanical bull and (2) kind of secluded so wouldn't be much foot traffic coming in to see who the hell was the tiny blonde dreadlocked maniac rocking on a mechanical bull wearing a short shiny dress and a Gibson SG. Well shit :)

So I suggested we go to Valhalla (former Room 710) for a pre-showcase beverage).

The madness has set in

One of the perks of doing the freelance work for SXSW is they hook me up with a platinum badge. Don't bother looking up how much they cost. You don't want to know. They allow access to all trade events, seminars, and SXSW sanctioned events. Awesome in theory, however I AM ALWAYS TOO BUSY PLAYING SHOWS TO USE IT FOR ANYTHING!!! Doh!!! It's a nice gesture tho haha.

However, little did we know Valhalla (which stopped having bands officially when it stopped being Room 710) was an official SXSW music venue. Whoah. Good thing Adrian had wristbands for her and Armando and I had the fancypants platinum badge. We would have had to pay cover to drink in a place that usually doesn't have a cover charge.

So was crazy to walk into Valhalla like it was back in the 710 days, with bands playing only we didn't recognize anyone there except Jason Craig working the door. We got Lonestar Tallboys and headed to the upstairs loft. A band called Nightmare Air onstage. They were good.

Again, good to hang out with Adrian and Armando as friends. Again, felt like we were in a gang haha

Room 710, err Valhalla loft, photo by Armando Reyes

Back to the venue. Band before us onstage, can't recall the name but very good. I recognized the afro-wielding bassist, remembered seeing him at the convention center Tuesday evening when I went to pick up my platinum badge. Thought: "He plays in a band. And he's probably awesome." He was both \m/,

To get our gear into the back hallway in prep to take the stage we had to overcome a series of obstacles, including a 4-foot concrete embankment and 2 separate sets of stairs. SXSW proving gorunds:

Waiting to go on

The place had kinda cleared by the time we went on, but fuck it. Some shows look better on your resume than they do in practice (this is Adrian's first official SXSW showcase performance.)

So we blew into our set and blew the minds of the few people there at the beginning. But if filled up a bit as the night went on, people watching the mechanical bull action invariably got curious about who was making all the racket in the back. So they walked in on this happening:

Adrian on the bar, getting some service haha


Fun set, fun time.

End of the night began loading out the back door, and out back was a guy and a girl, and the guy was cradling another girl in his arms who was obviously partied out and possibly in need of medical attention.

Back in for more gear. Came out, girl had vomited several times, and service industry people were suggesting to angle her head to keep her from choking to death.

Back in for more gear. Came out, and people were starting to get on their phones and calling paramedics.

Back in for more gear. Came out, and the guy and girl were gone (earlier overheard the guy saying he didn't even know who the girl was, they had just met her), but unconscious girl was still lying motionless on the concrete, surrounded by waiting police officers and a puddle of puke.

Back in for more gear. Came out, and paramedics on scene, putting unconscious girl on a stretcher. The leisure at which they did so gave indication that they weren't worried about losing her. That's good, I guess.

Wrangled our gear up over the 4 foot embankment and into Vincent Van Go, eager to get the hell out of there before there were any more SXSW casualties.

Day 1 over.

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