Thursday, March 16, 2006

South by South Beer

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.


Lance Felber said...

"Am I the only person who thinks Guinness is highly overrated?"

Yes Lee, you are the only one that thinks Guinness is overrated. You need to have it at St James' Gate in Dublin. That's what hooked me.

We went to Capitol Place Creekside for Sean Costello, who was a pretty good blues guy, but talk about a crappy beer selection (I think it was just bud light, Carona and Shiner, and the Shiner ran out early on).

I wandered off to Habana Calle and caught a couple of decent bands (since this is a beer blog I'll mention I had a dos equis only because that's the only thing I could hear the waitress say as the Ex-Boyfriends tried to blow out their speakers).

Then it was off to Velvet spade for a Guinness and a set from Healthy White Baby from Chicago. They were a three piece power rock band that was awesome.

After that I tried to get into World Party, but arrived after a long line had already formed, so it was off to Cuff the Duke back at the Creekside. Very entertaining band listed as alt country by SXSW, but they were all ovver the map. A highlight was their song introduced as "The closest thing we can come to a Mexican Wrestling Anthem." It was awesome.

After that, headed to blender Balcony for Rumble Strips, a four piece band from London. They had drums, guitar, and a combination of piano, trumpet, and saxaphone. Really entertaining stuff.

I'm heading to WolfMother at Waterloo records at 5 today and then starting at the 18th floor for Persephones' Bees (sound like they were on the Austin Powers soundtrack).

Lee said...

You know you're in the wrong bar when you're wishing there was more Shiner Bock. Damn, when exactly did that beer start going downhill? Oh yeah – when Gambrinus bought them out and jacked up the price, and possibly changed the recipe, although I've never been able to verify that.

Yeah, everyone tells me you haven't had a Guinness until you've had one in Ireland. That's my next big vacation goal.

Lee said...

Actually, I'm not the only person who thinks it's overrated. Some of my fellow track geeks agreed with me in a non-track discussion we were having here:

Karla said...

guinness in ireland is indeed the holy yummy creamy goodness.

your evening sounds wonderful...I am having sxsw withdrawal...sigh.

drink and dnace for me, ok?