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SXSW Diary - Friday, March 17


Most of Friday was spent with my parents getting ready for my barbeque on Saturday. We got our shopping list together and spent the afternoon at Sam’s Wholesale Warehouse buying briskets (four), industrial sized packs of chips, boxes of veggie burgers, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, plates,.. you name it. My father agreed to smoke brisket for my party if I agreed to buy the goods. Then the rest of the day was spent eternally on the phone and in the car trying to coordinate Saturday’s backline and deal with all kinds of other logistic issues. I want to publicly thank my girlfriend and her friend Lori for baring with my state of insanity.

We did however get a chance to fall in on another Roky Erickson set at a Vice party - this time at the Victory Grill. It was, once again, spectacular and, even though I desperately wanted to pop in across the street for Whitehouse, the phone just wouldn’t stop as everyone was finally ready to have things picked up and dropped off. Nick from Viva l'American Death Ray Music finally pulled into town, followed by Kid Congo Powers and Jack Martin – relieving a bit of attendance anxiety on the part of this new label-head dude.

We finally popped out and, for the first time that week, had admittance problems - Hopewell was completely full at some sports bar with a line more than a half-block down the street. Then, outside of yet another sports bar to see Dungen, though it was “badges only,” the lady working the line said that my friends, who only had wristbands, could get in as my guests as I had a badge. We waited out the long line only to get to the front and learn that she was a big fat liar – so I went in to see the show, saying, “see ya suckas" - enjoying the Nordic prog while leaving them to their cold fate outside.

But in all actuality, we left and decided to go try our luck elsewhere - some venue that, if it wasn’t a sports bar, must’ve been made for people who’d otherwise be at one. This time we tried our luck with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and, to our astonishment, we were admitted. As usual, Leo and his extra-fancy rhythm section really kicked it hard, sweaty, and happy. Not long after they took the stage ome jerk was shouting "Chisel" over and over and another was trying to have a conversation with Leo about the video store where they both worked in Jersey - the sad fate of a notorious nice guy. Leo, who must be used to it by now, handled it all with humor and grace. He also braved out a more complicated situation - the loss of his voice. He admirably made it almost to the end before he let the fans get up and sing the last couple of songs. Incidentally, they knew each and every word. The final member of the New York Night Train entourage, David Lloyd of Cause for Applause, made it to town and showed up for his wristband. On my way back in I found my old friend, the man of many aliases, Chris Lyons (AKA Gene Defcon, Otto Matic, Rap Troll, Mallsnake, Rude Carrot, Christopher Oldtimer) outside and we went in for a brief reunion drink before I had to duck out to procure the final piece of Satuday's backline puzzle...

which was Jason Russo of Hopewell’s guitar amp. Jay saved my ass and I don’t know how the hell I would’ve pulled off the party without him. By the time I got there, the place was locked and I had to get by the crew of hefty bouncers uniformed in matching yellow polo shirts and apparently not to keen on letting me in after closing. I finally met one decent enough, or at least gullible enough, to believe me and open up the pearly gates to their neon jock paradise. Anton Newcomb had played earlier and sat head-in-hands flanked by a couple of people comforting him. I zoomed past and found Jay in the corner and he sent me amp-ward. I once again found myself navigating a similar collection of drunks as the night before – but this time also manning an amp on wheels. I hooked up with my party on the street, arrived my girlfriend's rent-a-car, and we got the hell out of dodge just as two crispy-tanned and over-bleached Texas gals were having trouble standing up and getting into the car a few feet away - also ready to drive out into the night.


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