This is the final post for the Writer tour to Austin for the SXSW Music Festival. Just after watching tour-mates Lights On play a showcase at a "more restaurant than bar" type place, Andy and I drove downtown towards the chaos of 6th St. Writer was to play Mugshots in a few hours. Jayme had met a nice mom who on her day away from the kids decided to give Jayme a ride to the venue, she also bought him ice-cream, ahhh.
On the way down to 6th St, Andy and I spotted two youngsters trying to hitch a ride. We pulled over and said, "Get On In!" They had been waiting at the bus stop for a while and all the buses were full so they thought they'd try to hitch a ride. These kids were awesome, they lived really close to the venue, and bought us a 12'ver of Lone Star beer! With some time to kill, we drank at their house, talking about the festival and how cool Austin is. I was stoked to charge my phone and camera in their outlets (that gets tricky on the road).
They thanked us for the ride, we thanked them for the beer, and made our way to Mugshots, for the "killer" showcase on 6th St. during prime time hours! Luckily everyone made it to the venue and we started loading the gear in.
Earlier in the day, Andy had been talking with Christian (who was riding with Lights On) and told him he should open the set with some of his songs. Christian had brought his acoustic guitar and harmonic, planning to play some spontaneous shows, and so this worked out perfect. Christian had some great songs, the kind of story-telling songs that talk about "real" life. Maybe like Merle Haggard-ish? It was a great segway into Writer.
Some friends from San Diego had made their way over as well. Brooke, radio station marketing extraordinaire, and Jake, sound man and tour manager. It was great to see them amidst all the insanity of downtown. Writer played a powerful set, especially since the Mugshots' stage at the end of a narrow corridor. We were packed up to the front. The energy was really high, after all the shows, to know this was the last on the tour and that really spurred everyone to let loose.
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Well, after Writer played, the post-show energy got insane. It had been a long day of drinking and now we were set loose on downtown. We stumbled around and ran into Drew Andrew's crew again and also saw Marc Marino from Dirty Sweet. Somehow we ended up at a "downtown" bar, but with a punk band playing. The band was killing it, so I started bouncing around, and I got some dirty looks from girls up-front, who didn't want to spill their drinks. What planet was this? You are front row with a punk band playing and you want the crowd to make like a flower and plant!?
Well, I wasn't having that (too many drinks and too many power chords to keep me docile). At one point, I fell to the ground as the singer dove into the audience. This was turning out to be the kind of raw energy I expected from a punk band. I wish I had my wits about me enough to find out the bands name, but we seemed to get sucked out of the bar with a tidal wave.
Back on 6th St. I was able to meet back up with my buddy Riyadh and our college roomie, Brian Cardellini, and his wife. They drove down from Houston and were staying at a hotel! They were kind enough to invite us to come over. I was 3 days without a shower, fallen on the bar floor, and spent all day in sunny 80 degree weather, a hotel sounded like the Taj Mahal. We drove all 6 of us over to the hotel, and oddly enough, saw our friends The Henry Clay People piling out of their van as well. It was late, and everyone was pretty beat, so rather than a double-band raging Motley Crue party (right?) we talked for awhile and retired to our rooms.
A big "Thank You" to the Cardellini's for giving us a place to sleep :)
Everyone showered in the morning, we drove back to downtown to watch Lights On play a noon showcase right off 6th St. This was the best stage yet, good size, good sound, and even at noon people were there! In true SXSW fashion, another band was playing right next door with some bleed through, but once Lights On started you couldn't tell. This was definitely their best show of the tour. The sound was great, the crowd was good, and everything seemed to click for them.
After the show, we said our goodbyes to the band we had spent the last 9 days with, and headed toward the Honda Element.
About to start a 21 hour drive, I convinced the guys to unload some more promo material while we had the chance. Of course, walking around we ran into Henry Clay People again and they were going to the free show at Mohawks. This was a great venue, with outdoor and indoor stages, multiple viewing levels, and a free PBR with free entrance! We watched Granddaddy, Roadside Graves, and Vivian Girls. All great bands. Then we forced ourselves to start the 20hr. drive to SD, had to be back for work on Monday, it was Saturday at 3:30pm. Do the math, we were going to drive straight through the night. And we did, somehow. I have to thank David for taking the 5AM to 8AM driving, I was so sleepy and from the looks of it so were Jayme and Andy. We made it home safe and sound at noon on Sunday. What a trip!
More pictures at my personal site www.myspace.com/dagart
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