I’ve been a huge University of Illinois basketball fan for as long as I can remember, so it was impossible to pass up tickets for the team’s Elite 8 NIT game Wednesday in Champaign.
It was the first b-ball game Adam and Simon (Matt’s 5-year old son) had ever been to, and both were really excited to join the Orange Krush at Assembly Hall.
I taught Adam some cheers on the way to the game and Simon chowed down on a tasty hot dog and bucket of popcorn.
Even though neither got a foam finger (believe me, Adam kept asking for one) or an Illini win, everyone had a good time — or at least I assume Simon did. I couldn’t really ask him because he had fallen asleep by the end of the game.
For my final day in Austin, I got up early to browse the poster/record sale (which was now free to get in!) and spent the afternoon at the Alternative Press day party. I had been looking forward to the event all week, but my enthusiasm was “cooled” when I found out the two stages were outdoors and the high temperature was a frosty 38 degrees.
After stopping by the hotel to put on extra pairs of socks, SXSW ended (for me and everyone else who packed the Galaxy Room throughout the night) with the official Polyvinyl showcase.
The show kicked off with two great performances — the first via matt pond PA (who have released four albums on Polyvinyl).
Rounding out the bill were a quartet of bands on the PV active roster. Andy took a bunch of great pictures which will be coming soon, but for now enjoy the quick hit highlights below
Casiokids: had more people jumping up and down than at any of the numerous punk shows I attended throughout the week.
James Husband: with Dottie and Davey from of Montreal serving as part of his backing band, Jamey and Co. ended with a great cover of Lykke Li’s “Little Bit.”
Joan of Arc: the trio of Tim Kinsella, Bobby Burg and Theo Katsaounis got a surprise introduction by Thax Douglas, who read a poem that was as weirdly…uh…inspiring(?) as their music. See it here.
Japandroids: despite playing eight shows in four days (including three on Saturday), the duo still managed to have enough energy left to get Danielle crowd surfing.
Considering this whole event is partly intended as a way for people in the music industry to connect with colleagues who they rarely (or never) get to see throughout the year, it was wholly appropriate that Friday turned out to be a day marked by reunions.
First up was Recover — a recently re-formed Austin-based group that Andy actually saw play with Braid on their reunion tour back in 2004.
After that, I reconnected with Japandroids’ manager/booking agent Ben (remember him from Day 1?) at the Pitchfork day party, as well as Matt (the head of PV) who arrived in Austin just after noon.
Next up was dinner with Andy and Danielle, who I hadn’t seen all day. (I know, I know — I’m really stretching this whole “reunion” theme.)
For the rest of the evening, I camped out at the Dirty Dog Bar where the headliner was yet another group on the comeback trail — Hole.
After getting my fill of listening to Courtney Love be…well…Courtney Love (while occasionally playing music), I decided to call it a night and quickly reintroduced myself to the Hilton’s extremely comfy bed.
I just got new shoes a couple days before heading down here and there’s a very good possibility they’re already going to be worn out by the time we’re back home.
After starting off the day with a trip to see Casiokids side project The Megaphonic Thrift (accompanied by Andy and Danielle), I set off on my own on what turned out to be a couple of failed missions.
First up was the flatstock concert poster sale ($20?! entry fee), a setback that was quickly followed by a wasted trip out to the American Apparel flea market — sight of the longest line I’ve seen since the last time Chiptole gave away free burritos on campus.
The rest of the day was a blur of walking to shows that each turned out to be about as far apart as possible from one another.
But, after all was said and done, I had happily caught several shows by bands whose genres were equally divergent — Terrible Things, Minus the Bear, Unwed Sailor, The xx — before heading home with the taste of Stubbs BBQ still in my mouth and music still ringing in my ears.
It was a rough start all around for the PV crew: Seth lost his ID on the way to the airport, Andy got food poisoning, and Danielle and I were scammed out of $60 on a cab ride to the hotel. (Luckily, Danielle got our money back after a well-placed phone call to the taxi company.)
The only direction things could go was up — and they certainly did!
After catching part of Japandroids’ set at the Brooklyn Vegan day party, I talked with Ben, their booking agent, about last month’s gold medal hockey game between U.S. and Canada. (Being from Toronto, he was in a good position to brag.)
Then it was off to mingle with Danielle and Seth at a meet-and-greet set up by our distributor (ADA) until it was finally time to do what everybody really came to Austin for — heading out to (makeshift) venues and hearing tons of great live music.
By 2 AM I was on my way back to the hotel having seen two of my favorite bands perform awesome sets in small, crowded rooms and already nursing a sore throat from singing along to both.
Fun Fact: The cover of Satanic Panic depicts “a scene that takes place at the moment when [the album’s hero] collapses from the stress of learning the point of existence” (according to the artist and Kevin’s brother, David Barnes)
(All this week, I’ve been streaming songs with lengths that match the date. So this, the final song, is 3 minutes, 12 seconds long for March 12th.)
The limited edition Braid colored vinyl is almost sold out!
The deluxe reissues of Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five, The Age of Octeen, Movie Music Vol. 1 and Movie Music Vol. 2 have been arriving to our office at the rate of one per day — all we’re waiting on now is the I’m Afraid of Everything 7”.
A team of mailorder helpers (including me) will be making sure all pre-orders are ready to ship out by April 2nd. Grab the $50 package deal while you still can to make sure your copies are included in our packing bonanza.
And to add the cherry on top of an already sweet deal, we’ve also discounted Frame and Canvas as well as albums from Friction.
Whenever someone says there’s never any good music on the radio, I feel lucky to live in Champaign where listening to 88.7 The Wave is like having my iTunes on shuffle (or actually, it’s what I wish my iTunes sounded like on shuffle).
It seems like every time I listen to the station I discover some cool new band or song (or at least get to hear my favorite Japandroids and Owen tracks).
Last night was no exception. While driving over to my girlfriend’s house a song by New Ruins — a local act that’s been featured in Rolling Stone and boasts founding Braid member Roy Ewing as its drummer — came on and I immediately liked it.
We’ve had copies of their new album in our E-Store for months, but for some reason I’ve never checked them out. Since chances are slim that anybody reading this post will get to randomly hear the band on the radio, head over to their Myspace page for a listen: http://www.myspace.com/newruins.
Start the week off right with the newest member of the Polyvinyl family!
Matt and I saw Casiokids play at Schubas in Chicago back in August and during dinner they spent a lot of time raving about how much they loved of Montreal (who they toured Europe with earlier in 2009).
of Montreal had equally nice things to say about them and judging from Casiokids’ live show — which featured animal costumes and crowd members dancing all around me — the two have a lot more in common than just a mutual admiration.