Around 8 or 9am Lightfoils came by to deliver my drums before they set off for the long road ahead. They showed us camera phone footage of a fight between a shoegaze band and a hippie band at yesterday’s Mexican restaurant music tent. I guess one of the bands wanted to play and unplugged the other band’s gear mid-song. Is that freedom rock? Well turn it off, man!
We had an early show at a camera shop devoted to lomography. “What The Hell Is Lomography?” read the headline on a big informative newspaper.
It all began with a group of students.
In the early 1990s some students in Vienna, Austria discovered a small, enigmatic, Russian camera, the Lomo Kompakt Automatic, and started a new style of artistic experimental photography of unorthodox snapshots.
The lomography shop displayed a rainbow array of nifty film cameras, tricked out and blinged up with dazzles and things. They looked cute enough to eat. The same could be said of the fetching staff. Go Lomo in ’012!
SXSW’s voluminous shadow lingered, making it an eight band bill. We were fifth, and lent our gear to a couple of the bands.
Mecca Lecca labelmate Christopher Paul Stelling opened the drizzly day with fiery folk, fingerpicking and stomping through selections from Songs Of Praise & Scorn.
Our set had its moments. We were forbidden from playing covers at our official showcase, so it was refreshing to throw the Beefheart number back into the jumble. Three songs in, during “Magic Marker Blackout” Jim’s guitar magically blacked out. As in no sound at all.
“That’s what happens when you let other bands use your gear!” he lashed out. While Nicole and the sound guy helped Jim locate the problem, I walked up to the mic in my Lacoste trunks & cowboy boot socks and made pinhole camera wisecracks. A few people found it funny, or maybe just funny looking.
We recovered the set with a particularly animated “Wow Wave”, featuring Jim’s new chimpanzee-in-heat dance, and had the fortune of closing with “Sun Comes Out”. The Lomo folks took our picture for posterity and treated us to a fab tote bag filled with kooky iPhone covers, boxed water, and lomography literature. Whatta swell group of Texans!
Dimitri took us out for dinner at Shady Grove, a happening eatery on the south side of town. The chicken fried steak came marbled in cheese ‘n gravy, and the potato resembled Dad’s delicious loafers. The star of my plate was the side of black eyed peas, goosed up with spicy cubes of ham and sauteed veggies. I hate eating!It was time to say farewell to Dimitri & Cassandra (and Simon the cat), who not only put us up, but put up with us. It should be noted that we stayed with them the day after they had moved into a new apartment. So not only were their lives still in boxes, but a trio of gnarly musicians were living on top of them. A big thank you to them both.
As for SXSW, I dunno. If I have to come back it again, I think I’m going to open a rollercoaster for hipsters- a spiraling loop-de-loop track to fasten fixed gear bikes while Sleigh Bells blares. Or run a sea punk cupcake stand and put the word CO-OP behind it. Maybe I’ll book a band to play under a tunnel and play to a glob of shit. No cover songs though!
And so our Great Western Romance began into the unknown darkness of West Texas, where distance and time slow to a crawling melt, making for beleaguered rest stop options. At a picnic area straight out of a Sam Peckinpaw film I whizzed under the howling stars and the reverse skyline of the jagged surrounding hills. It was great to be out west again.
In the tiny town of Balmorhea we pulled into the Eleven Inn. The long-horned skull adorning our room greeted us to a cowboy’s vacation. We drank three-buck-chuck and watched Skinemax, Jim & Nicole on a rustic gaucho bed and me in the comfort of an uncomfortable rocking chair. I soon switched to my own gaucho bed.Man, we got made in the shade.