Whew. Survived Wednesday night. Or at least I didn't puke. So that's a victory.
Every year I think I'm not going out to SXSW, and then at the last minute I remember how much fun it can be and I go nuts.
I started out by tagging along with Bobnoxious, Lance, and the gang, and Bob made a hell of a tour guide. We started off at Mother Egan's. Listened to the old lead singer from Wall of Voodoo. Didn't do that much for me, although he cracked me up when he started playing "Mexican Radio" and said "Okay you old guys, sing along – it might be your last chance." Couple of Guinness stouts, which was one more than I needed. Am I the only person who thinks Guinness is highly overrated? I can think of about five stouts off the top of my head that I like better. I like a big, bold taste in a stout, and Guinness always tastes … thin. Actually, that's only on draft – I like the bottle version better, which is the reverse of normal for me. That said, I think the taste is starting to grow on me, but it will never be my favorite.
Then we went across town to a new place called Red 7 (just off of Seventh & Red River) and saw a Swedish glam band named The Ark, and they were hilarious. Bob totally wins the prize for picking these guys out. Think Hedwig and the Angry Inch crossed with Spinal Tap. They rocked. Beer selection was crap - Shiner Bock was the best I could do, and paid too much for it. Should have gone for Pabst Blue Ribbon like the rest of the guys. As long as I'm slumming it, no point in forking over a bunch of dough.
Then it was off to a classic Austin beer bar, Lovejoy's, but I was disappointed in their house IPA, "Energizer." I'm not one for subtlety when it comes to hops. I like an IPA to smack me in face and make me its bitch. Energizer's hops just weren't that powerful. (Kind of like Sierra Nevada's new IPA; it tastes well enough, but I really can't tell the difference between it and their regular pale ale.) I should have gone for the Dogfish Head 60 Minute, which I think is my new favorite beer. No music at Lovejoy's.
Then down the street to Caribbean Lights to hear the New Mastersounds, who were smoking – all instrumental, heavy on the Hammond organ, Booker T. & the MGs if they had been post-funk and all British. Crappy beer selection again. Went for some Jack Daniel's, instead. The gang left me at this point; I stayed and caught Kathy McCarty. Really great to hear her again. She is ultra-cool; I was a huge Glass Eye fan, and she also interprets Daniel Johnston's songs brilliantly.
On my bike, and back to the other side of downtown again. Got there just in time to hear Kris Kristofferson and Jessi Colter, which brought back great memories of listening to my parents' records as a kid. Then my can't miss show: Roky Erickson, the infamous leader of the original psychedelic band, the 13th Floor Elevators. His four-song set was brilliant. It is so good to see him healthy again, after losing decades of his life to mental illness. I expected the worst, but he delivered the best. When he started singing, and I realized just how much he has it together, I got goosebumps. And when he launched into "You're Gonna Miss Me" I totally lost it and started thrashing my head around like I was a college kid. Crappy beer selection again. Shiner Bock.
Then I went back almost to where I started, Opal Divine's Freehouse, across the street from Mother Egan's. Dogfish Head! They had Dogfish Head on tap out in the music tent (not inside, though, oddly enough) and I was loving life. See my above comments about being slapped around by hops. It's like sex in a bottle. This showcase featured Latin rock bands, and I was knocked out by the ones I caught: Maneja Beto (Austin), Botellita de Jerez (Mexico City), and Genitallica (Monterrey, Mex.), the latter of which Bob warned me is "the loudest band I've ever heard at SXSW." Actually, they kicked butt. Imagine Rage Against the Machine in Spanish.
Dogfish Head was the perfect way to end the evening. I went home very happy.