sxsw 06 play by play | 1st quarter 

- - wednesday, march 15, the cloud room @ absolute debauchery


1st quarter started early this year. like i said, i had to get down to the convention center around 9:30am to try for a wristband... after which jacob and i grabbed some breakfast tacos and then headed over to emo's to rock out with the arm.

emo's is still one of the best venues in austin. every dollar of the door goes to the artists. they're always booking great acts, local and national. and it's one of the few all ages venues around. they have indoor and outdoor stages, including an outdoor patio for smoking drinkers and drinking smokers. and they've recently expanded into emo's jr. and now emo's IV around the corner. during sxsw they even set up an emo's annex across the road that's basically a white tent in a parking lot. i say if emo's wants to take over the world, or at least the corner of 6th and red river, that's a-ok with me.

anyway, back to the arm. who were on the cover of every little zine around town this month and were getting some major buzz and love... we met up with a bunch of people for their 12pm set at emo's - elisa, her sister ingrid (whose husband alex is the bassist for the arm), her adorable 4 year old nephew asher (who was there to watch his dad rock out with his flock? out), the wright brothers and their friend jesse vain (of missing bedazzled eagle jean jacket fame).

the arm was great, dancey, fun, rockin. jacob especially dug it. i feel like i need to see them again, perhaps after sundown. perhaps after a band-on-band brawl... unfortunately, we missed all their other shows. conflicts? margaritas? but i heard their showcase set at the ritz that night was explosive. and witnessed by all the right (rolling stone mag/record label) people.

so then jacob and i split over to red eyed fly to take advantage of the free bloody marys and watch san diego's castanets. it was a stripped down performance, most of the band wasn't there, but it was just dry and darkly funny enough to complement our free, spicy bloodies. another band i'd like to check out again.

we popped back into emo's for a quick minute of gil mantera's party dream performing a fleetwood mac cover, then headed over to emo's annex across the street to watch phosphorescent. they sounded great. sort of the vocals of clem snide over the big horns of calexico. jacob and i debated for a few minutes about whether the singer was just wearing gigantic rhinestones on his shirt that kept catching the sunlight or if they were in fact blinking electrical lights. then we saw the giant cord hanging out the back. i totally want one, preferably cordless.

after that we tried to catch single frame who were playing at jackalope but we got there during the very last song. good thing there was plenty of free lone star to ease our dismay. word must've circled fast, because minutes later josh, matt, jesse, rebecca and her friend christie, a few of jacob's friends, and NICK! all showed up to partake.

nick slammed a few to catch up, and then he and i headed over to the convention center to meet his brothers' friends who were hooking us up with a wristband. whew. after that it was back to emo's outside to see i love you but i've chosen darkness where we found crackers nghia (already feeling the sparksburn), paul and justin. and ran into lio (aka DJ oil from crashin' in and kanine records). meanwhile josh and elisa and those guys were over at red eyed fly watching calla for the... 83rd? time. just a guess... ha. heard it was great though.

at that point we'd been out drinking for over 6 hours already, and the nighttime showcases hadn't even begun. let alone the afterparties. and the hotel lobbies. so we knew we had pretty much no other choice but to put on our DRINK STRONG bracelets and rally. we headed over to jacob's place on the easside, holla. dropped off our stuff, picked up a 6 pack, then hit (now) infamous sam's BBQ for some handy grub. more on that later.

first up jose gonzalez at eternal. the venue kind of sucked for that kind of performance. but he sounded unbelievable. just jose and his guitar. i think when he made the album they must've just put him in the sound booth, hooked up a few mics and said go. the songs sound perfect live. untouched. he played a surprisingly short set that included the lovely "crosses," "heartbeats," and "remain," and ended with a cover of joy division's "love will tear us apart."

after that we booked it over to brand new beauty bar to meet up with JAC!, todd, and dawn for our favorite austin treat - ghostland observatory! talk about a total 180 after jose. aaron bumped and grinded his way through a lot of their new songs, and a few of our old faves. and even added a little pole dancing into his repertoire. always good times.

we walked over to stubb's to pick up the last wristband we needed and decided to stay for a bit of belle & sebastian. jac, todd and dawn skipped out and headed over to the afterparty - austininst/gothamist's absolute debauchery - to see the cloud room, the grand national, and ¬°forward russia!. jac said the cloud room were fun as always, but ¬°forward russia! were by far their favorite. big burst of energy. i'm bummed i missed them.

meanwhile, back at the stubb's... jacob and i decided to head east and try our luck at the blender/VH1 party so we left nick there for a few hours to watch the end of belle & sebastian and mogwai who he said totally blew him away. and his ears. and everyone's ears within a 2 mile radius.

when we got to the party at the guerrero produce warehouse, security was intense. as was a trend with a lot of the parties this year, we'd gotten an email confirmation but our names still weren't "on the list." bitches. so i did a little pouting and a lot of bullshiting and eventually they let us in the door. i heard a lot of the same from everyone we ran into inside - elisa's brother in law alex had just walked up to the front of the line and said "excuse me, i'm in there" until he was mistaken for a member of spoon and about 5 of them walked right in. sure, it's all a little silly, but the space was amazing. the tequila was free and freeflowing. and the bands playing were tapes 'n tapes, spoon and echo & the bunnymen. so hi, we'll suck it up.

we drank us some delicious margaritas, enjoyed the music and hung out with justin, paul, elisa, ingrid, alex and friends... and goddamn if jacob doesn't know people everywhere we go. i lost him like 4 times. we also ran into sarah and her friend josh and that's where i first met andrew's awesome SF crew, rowdy robbie & piper. ha.

we left right before echo & the bunnymen came on (i know!)... swung by to pick up nick at stubb's then headed over to meet up with jac and them at the absolute debauchery party. at the last minute they had moved the party to the austin design center, which was a cool space. jac and her bro were having so much photo fun with the light fixtures (and free tito's vodka) that at one point they got told "no more touching."

rumor had it, actually more than just a rumor had it, that the flaming lips would be doing a secret perforformance there. but alas, no luck. we even stuck it out through the DJ's entire motown collection in hopes... but eventually even the DRINK STRONG gave up.

after a quick champisky stop at jacob's. we finally checked into our hotel, er motel 6, for the first time at around 4:30am. and... that's first quarter folks. i think we're up by a few vodka red bulls.

(for another perspective on day 1, and some great pictures from the blender/VH1 party check out justin's recap)

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sxsw 06 | the pre-game


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