South By Southwest Day 1.5

Dub Trio

Dub Trio live at Red Eyed Fly

The key, when entering this particular environment, is to avoid spirits, sticking to beer will save your life at the end of the night. I’ve seen those who decide to walk the path of shots and mixed drinks. They’re ugly man. They get carried out by their slightly embarrassed friends who, I’m sure are making excuses for the friend who can’t hold his or her booze while shuffling pass the tsk-tsking security. Touched down in Austin yesterday afternoon.

On my airplane was Jon Foreman from Switchfoot, Grand Ole Party and a fellow in the row next to me that was dressed like he could be in a band—or gay. Point is there are just under 20 bands from San Diego this year like Earthless, The Muslims and an entire Swami (John Reis from Rocket from the Crypt’s label) showcase. I kept my mind nimble as I maneuvered through the thronging mass of revelers, slowly making my way to where I would be seeing Dub Trio at midnight. Stopped in a couple different bars, including Headhunters where I saw Cory and Pat from Vena Cava. A fantastic punk band was playing by the name of Watson. Great songwriting. Lots of energy on a stage that barely fit the entire band. It was cramped. Next I hoofed it over to Stubbs. Saw Michael Stipe and the other dudes from REM mingling with the crowd. A few bands from Athens were playing and REM was the headliner. I didn’t stay but a friend of mine said they were great, played a lot of new up-tempo tunes that rocked. That’s cool that REM rocks.

After spinning my wheels and lubricating my main frame for a couple hours I hit the ground running at the Red Eyed Fly where I patiently waited through two super shitty bands. One of which had a guitar player that didn’t have much restraint. He smashed his SG on the ground. From the stage. No one was in front of the stage. It didn’t break the first time so he picked it up and hurled it from the stage again, headstock first. Douche nozzle. His backup guitar was a Reverend. They make neat little guitars for under $1K from plastic with wood necks. Great guitars for playing surf rock. It’s the kind of guitar you would smash and not feel bad about, but he killed that Gibson.

Dub Trio went on at about 12:15am. What an amazing show. They played some songs from their new record as well as from their debut, New Heavy. When they come to your town please go see them. I took some pictures but I failed to bring the chord to transfer them to my computer. Go figure.

Naked Raygun closed the show. Quite a bit of drunken moshing took place which was good to see to a normally ‘I’m so fucking cool I don’t dance’ kind of crowd. Limped back to my room at about 2 and hit the sack.

This morning was amazing. Lou Reed was the keynote this year (Pete Townsend was the keynote last year) and he was mesmerizing. Hal Willner, a music producer who has worked with Reed and Marianne Faithful and dozens of other notables moderated. They knew each other so it was comfortable and relaxed but Reed is a thoughtful speaker and Willner made a joke about trying not to cut him off. Not that Reed talks like Captain Kirk but he takes his time to answer things and usually what he says is great, like his songs. They discussed the new performance film of Reed’s album Berlin, directed by Julien Schnabel called. The most interested aspect of the discussion came about when they began to talk about technology and music. Reed said, “People have to demand a higher standard (for recorded music). People that like good sound will (some day) be looked at like some strange animal in the zoo.

Adding, “[technology] is making it easier to make things worse.”

Yes he collects records. He likes to listen to Melt Banana in small doses and even entertained the idea of resurrecting some of his old albums like he did with Berlin. Some assholes cell phone kept going off during the interview and Reed, frustrated by this point, mentioned that they should shove that phone up a cow’s ass, being in Texas and all. He was funny, intelligent and well spoken. It was the highlight of the day [though the day is still young at the time of this writing].

I caught Thurston Moore and Steve Reich in the afternoon. Suffice to say it was a learning experience. Reich and Phillip Glass are pals and used to have a moving company called Chelsea Light Moving where they would go around and pick up smelly old couches then dump them or sell them. Music ain’t all about the glamour right?

Billy Bragg closed out the SESAC Day Stage. I’ve got footage and will post it soon. Now I’ve got to go eat some food and drink another dozen Lone Stars. There is a reason you can only really find Lone Star in Texas, its like Pabst but not as good.

Fucked Up: Live