Thursday, March 17

Posted March 18, 2005 in
Angela and I woke up a little late, went up to the roof to sit in the hot tub and actually get our money's worth out of our hotel, when like, seven people in the teal pool gave us the bum's rush, making a beeline for the hot tub as we were taking off our T-shirts and setting our towels down. Kinda rude. I swam 10 ... count 'em, ... 10 laps, and we finally gave up on the hot tub and went down to the room.

[Rebecca musing on the unbelievable coolness of the Legendary Porch Pounders at the Hard Rock Cafe Austin]We went to the Convention Center first, wrote our BLOG, checked e-mail and went to a lecture about the profits that can be made from ring tones. It was pretty interesting, and was attended by many older, important-looking men who head the ringtone companies that are trying desperately to make a buck in this slippery modern music world. Ringtones are a viable market, and on the panel was a man we met at Stubb's BBQ when we were watching Throwrag on Tuesday night who was really nice to us. A CEO of some ringtone company out of Seattle.

After that we combed through our lists of free BBQ parties, and seeing as how it was approaching 4 p.m. and most of them started at 12 p.m., we didn't have much hope. We were right not to have much hope because we went to two parties and both had run out of food, and we were denied from the TVT Records party because someone forgot to put us on the list. What does it take, Jane?! So we went to this party at Emo's Annex, Angela got some free beer and this guy named Robbie who seemed like he was tweaking on something and who was from Cleveland engaged our attention for about 45 minutes. Angela started recording him on her mini-disc recorder and he demanded that she erase his voice; he was a bit paranoid. We went with him to an Asian party right by the convention center where finally, we got our free BBQ! Plus potato salad, pickles, jalapenos (for Angela) and two pieces of bread. Yes. We watched a few cute little girl Japanese pop-punk bands play. There's something really annoying about Japanese girl pop-punk bands to me, like there's this contrived innocence and cuteness that said Japanese girl pop-punk bands are fully and perfectly aware of and hope to market to high heaven. And do. And sell millions of records.

Then we went to the Red Bull house, I kept reading Dubliners (more than halfway through now!), Angela burned some of her photos on a disc and I fell asleep in a Love Sac for about 15 minutes. Oh yeah, and we ate more free BBQ.

[The Legendary Porch Pounders with legendary guitarist Bill Kirchen at the Hard Rock Cafe Austin]

Then we went and saw the Legendary Porch Pounders at the Hard Rock Café. Angela commented that the walls looked like they were from a sauna; it was posh, too posh, but the Legendary Porch Pounders didn't let that interfere with their refreshing, naked, honest-to-goodness blues, so perfectly executed that it made me feel like choking up. I didn't, though. The Pounders played with one of their friends, Bill Kirchen, a guitar-player here in Austin who was nominated for a Grammy for best country-western instrumental, and who used to play guitar in a the legendary country-western band back in the day called Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. Commander Cody opened for Led Zeppelin's last show. Brad proclaimed that that was the entire reason they wanted to win SXSW and come to Austin, so they could play a show with Steve. Bad Brad Wheeler played the harmonica so tenderly and heartfeltedly that it was pure sex. We saw Bill Frost (City Weekly) and Dan Nailen (SL Trib) there and later, Randy Harward (CW).

[The Legendary Porch Pounders]

After the Pounders, Angela and I scooted off to see Z-Trip, the hip-hop DJ who is known for his crazy sampling, but couldn't get in; the line was too long. So we went down to the Velvet Spade to try to find Edie Sedgwick to give him a copy of the article we did on him in our latest issue, but he was already done playing. We ran into Leia Bell there, gave her a hug, and ran into Quentin Ellison from the Australian radio station again, by pure coincidence. Or is it? You decide.

[Rebecca Vernon and Leia at the Velvet Spade]

We went to the SideOneDummy showcase, met Jon and Eddie, our friends from the label, who treated everyone to orange juice and beer and watched a bit of Go Betty Go, a girl punk band. Then who should come in but Scalper Chase, who had called us that morning and offered to drive us to a private party at an airplane hangar that night where Queens of the Stone Age were going to be playing.

[Jon Pebsworth and Eddie Eastbrooks from SideOneDummy Records]

[Party peeps at the SideOneDummy showcase]

After SideOneDummy, we went back to Club DeVille and saw Judah Bauer with his band 20 Miles off Fat Possum Records play. I kept asking Angela, "Where have I seen him before?" and she was like, "He plays with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Rebecca," and I was like, "No, no, it's somewhere else. He's so familiar." Finally, when she told me he was on Fat Possum, I was like, "But of course! I saw him in Darker Blues, that book about the Fat Possum roster I reviewed for SLUG last year." Judah Bauer's blues were great; simple and to-the-point and with great artistry. His bassist, who had black sidechops and little squarish black spectacles, kept smiling wryly but likeably into the audience.

[Judah Bauer in 20 Miles, looking hot]

After Judah, we went to the Blender Bar at the Ritz to see one of the bands I'm most looking forward to seeing here ... Death From Above 1979! Before them, The Panthers from New York took the stage, and they were actually really good; a combo of the sound and attitude of Rye Coalition with the stage presence of Division of Laura Lee. I keep getting distracted by music channel Fuse, which was being projected high on the wall. They're trying to take over MTV, last I heard, and they should; maybe too indie-rock and hype-oriented for my taste, but still, way better than seeing TRL any day. Canadian two-piece Death from Above 1979 (bass + drums) were INCREDIBLE, bringing together the fat, juicy, subwoofer chordage of Jucifer with the defiant attitude of ... I don't know, punk in general. It was obvious they didn't give a damn that they were playing to a roomful of "important" press people-that they'd been through the wringer, and they'd still be making music if the music world ever finished with them. It reminded me of the same attitude the Raveonettes played with at SXSW a couple years ago.

[Death From Above 1979 playing the Blender Bar at the Ritz]

Bill Frost was at the Death from Above 1979 show, and pitied me when I had to leave after only three songs to go to that QOTSA private party. Chase drove us in his truck about 20 minutes from the city center to, yes indeed, an airplane hangar out in the middle of nowhere off the main highway, and there we went through two lines with no luck before being informed of where the PRESS line was. We got little VIP stickers so Angela could go in the VIP section and get a free Red Bull cocktail, and I could go to the bathroom without waiting _ an hour to get in.

[Queens of the Stone Age playing the airplane hangar for the DKNY Jeans party]

QOTSA was great, extremely tight and rehearsed and professional and all that, and passionate, but I couldn't help thinking as I was watching them, that here they were, at the top of the molehill that is the music industry, and now what? They've done every drug, done every woman that they could have; they have tons of money, can go and do and be whatever they want, are respected far and wide, etc., etc., but now what? Maybe they don't feel that way, honestly, but if I were in their position, I think I'd have a feeling of, "Well, and now what? I got everything I wanted. What's there left to do?" Or maybe I'm just jealous???! Or maybe everything just becomes boring and tired when you reach the top.

After QOTSA, Chase drove us home to the Omni Hotel. It was so ironic that someone we had met randomly on the street our first night here we in turn randomly kept running into and has turned into this person that is now driving us to QOTSA shows at airplane hangars in the middle of the night. Chase says he thinks we were meant to meet and hang out. Like I said, it's that whole eternal, circular thing that keeps you scratching your head with puzzlement but keeps you entertained, amused and adding to your "totally cool friends" pool.

[Rebecca Vernon and Chase at the QOTSA party]

Red K says to MC Welk: "Glad you scored in Seattle, but Duke still sucks." -Rebecca Vernon