Saturday, March 19 & Sunday, March 20

Posted March 21, 2005 in
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Angela and I had plans to get up at 10 a.m., got up at 11:30 a.m. and drove over the river on a bus to South Congress street to hit the end of a jalapeno pancake breakfast going on down thataway. But after going in some cool vintage shops and hyper-mod shops with expensive prices and just-OK clothes, we decided the breakfast was probably over.

[Leia Bell and Emily at the 2005 Flatstock Convention]I tried on a skintight jean jumpsuit which Angela insisted that I buy but it was $22 so I refrained, and Angela bought a wifebeater to go under her camisole top. We went to the Yard Dog for free fajitas, where we ran into Chase, his daughter Ally and Randy Harward. Every year without fail we run into Randy at the Yard Dog; it doesnt matter what day it is or what time of day it is.

Then Chase drove us downtown because he is just downright sweet, and we went to the New Times party where David Wilson (who used to work for SLUG and now works for Sony in New York) was going to come later. We saw this band called Be Your Own Pet with an energetic female lead singer, who Angela was really into, saying it reminded her of old-school punk energy like The Germs, and then we saw the overrated Ditty-Bops, who were really good at what they do (bluegrass + classy, jazzy 40s folk) but are like, the indie darlings of the moment, and the tall, fashionable female lead singer seemed too self-conscious of her good looks in this really annoying way that left a bad taste in my mouth.

[Be Your Own Pet performing at the New Times party]

The showcase had the best food in the world; these breaded mushrooms and meat puffs that I overate about a million of.

The Raveonettes werent going to be on for another hour and I really wanted to see Death from Above 1979s full set, so we went down to the Take Action! Tour going on on three stages on the east side of townEmos Annex, Emos Main and Emos Junior, and found out that, alas, they had already finished half an hour before. Big bummer. But we did chat with the guys from Kaddisfly at the merch booth and even though I cant tell you about their music, I can tell you that the boys in the band are nice.

Angela and I went to the Flatstock Poster Convention featuring modern rock poster artists from around the globe. There was this really awesome poster of PJ Harvey in a red dress looking into a pool of water and her reflection was a skeleton, but it was $75, so I didnt buy it. We saw Leia Bell and Emily there and she gave us some free buttons and then we went to the Red Bull house. There I dozed off while Angela did e-mail stuff and burned photos.

Then we went to a show across the bridge with Bad Brad Wheeler at this cool coffeeshop type place with extremely expensive brownies ($4) to see Bill Kirchen sing with his wife in their country-folk band. It was awesome.

[Smoke or Fire]

Brad came back with us downtown and we went to see Smoke or Fire at the Fat Wreck Chords showcase, saw Fat Wrecks publicity princess Vanessa and said hello, then went to the Victory Record showcase and saw Action Action, who were cute and adorable and loveable and who looked like they were 16, playing Franz Ferdinand new-wave dance music with an indie-emo edge.

[Action Action at the Victory Records' Showcase]

We saw Heather from Victory, who bought Angela a drink and me a Coke. I tried to get into the Lovedrug show, this new Sony sign, but the line was extremely long to get in. I trooped down to Pig Destroyer and sat up in the balcony reading Dubliners before they began. I set my chin down on the shelf on the balcony and looked through the wire mesh at the stage. Pig Destroyer is tough metal with some hardcore elements about them. I saw Morgan and Mercedes from Kittie there, but passed them by without saying anything because they were busy talking to other people.

Next I left to get in early to see Scarling. at the Blender Balcony at the Ritz little did I know that they had cancelled, and I had to satisfy myself by seeing Austin locals the Video Screams, who were actually completely wicked. I also met up with Quentin from the Australia radio station and tried valiantly to chat with him over the noise. The Video Screams were like Lord of the Flies let loose on stage; what looked like prepubescent boys (I strained to imagine them being 21) in jogging shorts going berserk with noisecore complete with keyboard bleeps and burps a lot like The Locust and a lead singer who got all up in peoples faces, screaming with snotty abandon. The keyboardist played the keys facing his instrument backwards at some points, jogging in place. Between songs, people were heckling the Video Screams, shouting, "You suck! Stop playing! Leave!" I knew then that they were a great band.

Anyway, Scarling. cancelled and I threw myself off the main bridge over the river in a fit of melancholia. But I was rescued by a bevy of swimming rats. I got back on the bank and went with Quentin to see about 30 seconds of Alabama Thunderpussy; I didnt feel like staying because the door guy was sort of rude to me. I showed him my badge and he like, flung it back at me and said, "You dont need that anymore. Its worthless. Go throw it away" in this you-dont-belong-in-my-biker-bar sort of way.

Then we caught about three minutes of the Coachwhips at the Velvet Spade, but couldnt once glimpse them because the crowd was so thick.

Quentin and I went back to Room 710 to meet up with Angela and Bad Brad Wheeler. It was now 2 a.m. There was talk of hot-tubbing until 6 a.m. and hanging at David Wilsons hotel room with his cute intern and others, but I could tell everyone was winding down. And the evening with it.

Quentin did a short interview with me about SLUG Magazine on the way back to the hotel and then I went up to the room and crashed.

Next morning (Sunday), Angela and I were awoken by a call from my Grandma Fluffy; just calling to see how I was going and how the festival was. She said she was thinking of getting on a plane to come down and surprise me, but it didnt develop beyond a thought. I told her it would have been cool to see her but our pace would have killed her. My grandma is so awesome.

We did one last hot-tub dip, packed, left our bags with the concierge and had lunch with Chase, Ally and Quentin at the Pecan St. Caf. Their double Diablo torte is to die for. Highly recommended. Chase was kind enough to drive us to the airport and as he was driving away, his daughter bopped him on the head with a poster Angela had bought him at the Convention Centerone with Austin band The Dicks on it. Chase unrolled it, saw it and came back and thanked us. When we got inside the airport, we met Randy, Andrea from SL Weekly and who else but the Legendary Porch Pounders sitting at the gate. Angela and I got some last BBQ and I played steel guitar and Brad taught me how to play a musical instrument made out of a cigar box and a piece of wood that looked like a cue stickin fact, he has made them with cue sticks before. He slid his lighter up and down the strings and laid it in his lap like a lap-slide guitar. I told him Id buy one from him. He didnt really say anything, but said hed give me free lessons. The Porch Pounders sang together and the surrounding people waiting for the flight clapped.

With that, we boarded the plane, I finally finished Dubliners, fell asleep for almost the whole way back, and got out in Salt Lake City once again.

"Well," said Brad, "The Legendary Porch Pounders did everything we set out to do. We played with Bill, we gave out stickers and CDs, we ate tons of BBQ, we drank tons of booze. What more could you want?"

What more could you want? Angela and I agreed this was the best SXSW yet, and I have to say, at the risk of sounding cheesy, that it was one of the best times of my life.