IN WHICH WE LEARN VALUABLE LESSONS ABOUT COMMUNICATION
Such is the pervasiveness of SXSW in Texas that you find yourself embroiled in its attendant madness even if you do not play in Austin during the festival itself! Case in point:
March 19, 2015: Fitzgerald’s (Houston, TX) with Coliseum, Burn the Boats and KRVSHR
We were looking forward to the first Houston date from Coliseum, on their way out to the Live Music Capital, since fall 2010, when a fresh-faced young band called Omotai opened for their show at Walter’s. 7 PM doors meant I needed to leave my house in Austin at 4:30. So naturally I left at 5. That’s all right, I’ll still be there before the show starts. . . except I left my cymbals at my house. Oops.
I finally showed up at Fitzgerald’s around 8:30, just as the last strains of KRVSHR‘s set pierced (bludgeoned?) the tranquility of the evening. “A little late, huh?” teased the bouncer. “That last band were pretty good.” High praise from a venue employee! “But man they were LOUD!” A colleague handed him a pair of earplugs. It’s worth noting here that the door man at Fitzgerald’s is stationed OUTSIDE the club. KRVSHR’s next appearance is in Austin on March 27 at the Lost Well, where there’s an excellent patio if you’d like to listen to their set from outside! Ha ha, don’t do that, just go to the show.
I had just enough time between unpacking my gear and warming up to check out a bit of Burn the Boats. “Y’all better come up front, cause that bar’s gonna be there for a while, and we’re not gonna be up here for that long!” taunted/offered Stevie.
True to their attitude, Burn the Boats delivered a brash, uncompromising, efficient set of bruising stoner metal. These guys are badass, and they also made the poster for the show, so much respect to them. Go buy their limited-edition 12″ EP From Under the Waves!
We played next and to be frank I remember very little of our set, except that I messed up the end of “Adders’ Land.” Setlist:
A Ruined Oak
Last of the Green Vial
Welcome to the Adders’ Land
A Cruel Weight, Thy Wound
I do remember that as we came offstage, Primus’s “Too Many Puppies” came on the PA. TITE.
Coliseum closed things down with a powerful set.
I especially enjoyed listening to drummer Carter Wilson, who has top-notch tone and feel, and is an even bigger vintage Tama nerd than me- the dude owns a set of Swingstars in Stewart Copeland blue!!! And of course Ryan Patterson, with his enormous voice and guitar, is a rock n roll boss. Coliseum’s fifth album, Anxiety’s Kiss, is out May 5– here’s the single:
We swept up our gear, said goodbye and checked our watches- ELEVEN THIRTY?! Sheeeit, man, the night is still young! We decamped to the Moontower Inn for a late-night hot dog and some deep cuts from the Get Up Kids catalog (??) before loading back in to the practice space.
I had to be back in Austin for work the next day, so I was crashing with Jamie out in Katy. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication I ended up sleeping in the bed of his truck outside his house, which was actually a lot more pleasant than you might think. All the same I was grateful for a couple of hours on his couch when he woke up and let me in. The last thing I remember as I passed out was him offering me a strawberry-banana bottled smoothie while his daughters, wise beyond their years, sagely noted that the green ones are better. They’re so right. GREENMACHINE4LYFE.
After Coliseum, the closest we got to SXSW itself was:
March 22, 2015: Alive in a Dive 2015, at the 04 Lounge (Austin, TX)
James Gonzalez from the Texas Metal Collective has been trying to get us up to Austin for a while now- Omotai hadn’t been there in more than a year- and he finally succeeded with this day of heavy music that wound down the week.
Next up was the Record Collection, aka Thomas McDonald and the Record Collection, of Virginia Beach, VA, doing sort of a Hot Water Music/Alkaline Trio kind of punk thing, and somewhat hilariously commenting on the “Texas heat” (75F!) and “friendly people” (Uhhh).
Notwithstanding, rather liked ’em and had a real good time rapping with guitarist Raleigh (“like the city”). I picked up one of their CDs. Hear their stuff here.
We were up next and had so much spare time before our set that I got a bit discombobulated and forgot where I put my earplugs. I soldiered on and we had what felt like a great set- afterwards people kept telling me how heavy we were, so we must have done something right (although I suppose it could have been the bass cab we borrowed from Jeremy of DSGNS- many thanks to him for making our travels so much easier). And my earplugs turned up in my stickbag afterwards. Same setlist as the 19th.
After us were local grindcore maniacs Mothman, who were tight as fuck and kind of scarily violent.
I mean, not like, they were hitting people, just the way they were onstage. Their guitarist was playing so hard I could hear the pick hitting his strings over the music.
It was intense, is what I’m saying. They were good.
They were also done real quick, and Sam was craving a milkshake, so he and Melissa and I took advantage of the break to walk over to what we discovered was a drive-through only P. Terry’s. After we slunk back to the club in defeat, I accidentally talked Melissa into going back in her car even though she didn’t actually want any food. When she brought me back my veggie burger I felt like a real dick. But at least Sam got his milkshake.
Melissa and Sam had to work in Houston on Monday, so they split while Jamie and I hung around to catch the awesomely named death metal band Triumph Over Shipwreck, from the famous port city of El Paso, which I would have said is about a thousand miles from the nearest ocean but who am I to argue with a band like this because they destroyed. I chatted with them after the show and they told me that they played 250 shows last year and somehow still held down jobs?! This year they’re doing fewer shows, but they’re touring to Central America! LEGIT. Go buy their record and help them get down there.
The stage at the 04 is kind of just a slightly raised area of the floor, and people can walk all the way around the band. It’s kind of a weird setup for live music.
However, it’s the perfect location for DSGNS’s kinetic live show. Even better than Fitz. They even inspired the evening’s only mosh pit, which consisted entirely of this lonely gentleman:
Weirdly, this also happened when they played in Houston. I don’t know what it is about this band that inspires solo moshing but maybe next time it happens SOMEONE WITH A DECENT CAMERA WILL BE THERE TO CAPTURE IT jesus f’ing christ. Anyway DSGNS should be finishing up their debut full-length release pretty soon, so keep your eyes on the sky, or their Facebook page, whichever.
Many thanks to KRVSHR, Burn the Boats, Coliseum, James and Texas Metal Collective, Rafe (sp?), and all the bands at Alive in a Dive, especially DSGNS.
See u thar