Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SXSW Memories Part 3

When we last left off, The Crusty/Cakey Alliance of Superfriends were walking over to Lovejoy's to go catch some tasty grind, stopping only momentarily to deride an insensitive wench for photographing a sleepy hobo while I ate granola bars.  Let's resume...

The group now consisted of myself, Andy Wilhelm, Van Damned, and Carmelo Espanola, who we had conscripted to take the journey to Lovejoy's to return the fabled keys of The Artist Formerly Known as the WZA'd to their one true keeper.  It should, by the way, be noted here that The Artist would like to, in the style of Prince before him, change his name to a symbol, which I will use to streamline references to him from henceforth.  The symbol looks like this:  8===D.  So we made the treacherous crossing over IH-35 to the west side and crept toward Lovejoy's, our group ever-expanding like my married-man's waistline.  We arrived at Lovejoy's and walked through the door, my first sight inside being 8===D standing with Morgan and Chris from Kill the Client, whose set I had lamentably missed.  My favorite thing about meeting those dudes is that they enjoy ridiculing 8===D as relentlessly as I do.  Needless to say, I felt a special connection to those guys as we fired off jokes about 8===D.  It was a great time all by itself, and worth the trip.  We  hobnobbed with 8===D, Morgan and Chris, and caught a doomy and bonecrushing set by the mighty Cough.  I think these dudes are actually relative newcomers to the scene, but their set has made a believer out of me with it's heavy din and bilious vitriol.  Also, look at this logo of theirs!

Holy shit!

This is what they looked like through the lens of my camera.

They were followed in short order by Magrudergrind, whose trademark brand of grind siphoned through horrible, horrible corporate sponsorship (which is the wave of the future, and you can quote me on that) tore through the air like a crazed and rabid bat, with teeth gnashing and sonar making that creepy almost-sound that it makes.  The best part about their set was watching their drummer play; his intense concentration, mustache and tiny shorts were and thing to behold, and it's always impressive when somebody waltzes into a concert and uses mustache power to play the drums that fucking fast.  Observe them now:

Electric!  Their set was followed by one of my perennial favorite live bands, Utah's Gaza, whose trademark brand of disdain for Jesus manifests itself in an energetic and fevered live show, with storied front-Ente Jon Parkin stomping around the front of the crowd, being paradoxically hateful and angry during the songs and then powerfully polite and overly thankful that we are there to watch them play.  Behold them now:

Gaza finished up their set and were followed by Singapore wonder-lads Wormrot.  Their signature brand of grind was frantic and quite a sight to behold.  I had no idea that anything came out of Singapore at all, but it turns out that they've got at least one good grind band over there.  The music left me a little bit cold, though, since their lack of bass player prevented the music from having any real heft behind it, and sounded like something of a hot, treble-y mess that was coated in throat-ripping shrieks.  It was nice to see these dudes live, and I look forward to their new material; I just think they have some growing to do in the live arena, despite their still-solid performance (which I didn't stay for the whole of).  I know how false I am, so you don't have to say it.  Look at them!

We had to cut our Wormrotting short despite the protests of 8===D, who was in a grind frenzy and kept declaring that he wanted weed.  Van Damned, Andy Wilhelm and I bid farewell to 8===D, who decided to go back to his place and check out the interwebbies for entertainment rather than go to the Mettaliance showcase with us.  Godspeed, 8===D!

After an hours-long wait in line, we were shuttled--in pairs--into the Dirty Dog to check out the superbill that they had going on in there.  I got my first taste of The Atlas Moth, whose shimmering sludge made me upset that I had missed out for as long as I have, but what the hell am I going to do?  I have Trap Them records to slobber all over all day.

They were followed by Howl (complete with a new guitar player who was a very nice fellow), Red Fang, and Weedeater.  I don't have any good pictures of Howl or Red Fang, so I'll just say that Howl is solid and worth checking out if you can, and Red Fang kind of bummed me out, since their doomy-rock sound lacked energy and heft.  And so much clean singing!  Weedeater is a crowd favorite, though, and their stage banter is truly inspired, including phrases like "This song is from our new album.  We hope you hate it," and "Fuck you."  They played a good set of their stony, toeless doom and wandered away, leaving the crowd wanting more and wishing that we all had the power inside us to tell a crowd of adoring fans "fuck you."

Kylesa played next, their signature brand of sludge always solid and heavy, though consistently puzzling.  Why two drummers?  I like that two drummers get to play as a result, but there's never been a part in any song where having two drummers was anything more than two dudes playing the same thing at the same time (sometimes one plays on the ride while the other plays high hat or something, but that's about as daring as they ever seem to get).  It was good, but I was feeling wiped out and I wanted to go home and sit on a padded seat for the first time in about 12 hours.

However, despite my feet, I decided to stay for one more band, the mighty Crowbar.  I was wholly unprepared for how "Oh-My-God" HEAVY Crowbar was, though I had heard of their fabled heaviness in parables told to me by people who had seen Crowbar before.  Crowbar is so heavy that if you got your arm trapped under Crowbar, you'd need a pocket knife and a smaller hunk of Crowbar to break the bone so that you could escape.  The arm would be gone for the ages, and you'd know what real heaviness felt like. 

I luckily escaped with my arm intact, and made my way through the two million people still circulating the streets so that my wife could pick me up.  I was fully drained, and felt bad that I left before Helmet and Saint Vitus, but since I'm so false and ungrim that I don't even like those bands anyway, I decided to call it a wash and eat some real food.  I was supposed to play a show the next night with my untr00 and non-kvlt band, but the fire marshal came out to the venue and shut that shit down for having too many people inside.  I had skipped a bunch of stuff during Saturday that logistically I just couldn't fit in with myself playing a show, but since the promoter didn't call and we showed up to play before we found out it got canceled, I whittled away an entire day where I could have crammed in the rest of the stuff I wanted to see and chill with my bros from the Crusty/Cakey Alliance of Superfriends.  Lame.

On the plus side, we all took a nice Sunday trip to Smitty's in Lockhart for some real-deal Texas BBQ, since Carm had never had any.  We had a very nice trip, with Carm, Andy Wilhelm, 8===D, and myself jammed into Andy's car and enduring the hour ride to one of the best BBQ places in existence.  SXSW weekend concluded, we all lazed around and felt good about what we had done, looking forward to recuperating.  But what a time we all had together!

And I'm glad it's over, because I don't like crowds that size, but where else can you go and get an entire month's worth of band-watching in a single day?  SXSW, huzzah!

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