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Austin, TX

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Quote of the day: "Are you in a band?"


The Gulf Coast Playboys


By Sunday, Austin was pretty damn quiet.  The official SXSW schedule was whittled down to four clubs featuring bands classified as “world” music so we weren’t in any rush to head to those places.  Sarah Sharp, local songstress and our lovely hostess, told us about a regularly scheduled Sunday night concert by The Resentments at the Saxon Pub.  Last year, a few notable musicians (like Kris Kristofferson) showed up to jam with the band.  So, we penciled that in as a possibility.


sarah sharp


Our afternoon was spent exploring Austin, shopping at some local stores, maxing and relaxing.  South of downtown, we stopped at a TexMex restaurant that that had converted their side yard into an open-air taco bar that served snacks and drinks.  The taco bar had a performance space surrounded by benches for the listeners.  We enjoyed a lazy afternoon listening to the bluegrass stylings of The Gulf Coast Playboys



the crooners


As we were leaving, we passed by a group of 4 shaggy-haired boys dressed in suits, ties and sunglasses (on a very overcast day) that didn’t quite look like they were regulars to the taco bar.  As a joke, Kendra asked them, “Are you in a band?”  They seemed a bit surprised, but amusingly answered, “Yes.”  A while later, we stopped at a small coffee bar to grab a drink.  Guess who was in line, but one of the shaggy haired musicians.  Again, Kendra asked, “Hey, are you in a band?”  Of course, he recognized us from earlier (only about 10 minutes had passed) and laughed.  He said the band was The Crooners from Brooklyn. They were scheduled to play somewhere downtown, but had decided to come to this part of town to look for another, livelier, gig.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t find a taker, but it made for a fun afternoon watching them act all “rock star” as they drank their iced coffees.  Ironically, later we discovered that they were less indie rockers and more of an old-time-blues-rockabilly-jazz band…go figure.


The main event on our agenda was spending some time with our friend, cellist-extraordinaire Matt Fish.  Fish has been playing with Austin-native, Alejandro Escovedo.  It’s become a bit of a tradition for Escovedo to headline a concert at the Continental Club to close SXSW.  Unfortunately, their set was scheduled for midnight.  With a 7am flight the next morning, we decided to miss it.   But, we did enjoy a nice relaxing dinner with Fish before he had to head off to the Continental Club. 


matt fish


jason cameron


While we were eating, Kathy thought she spotted someone semi-famous – Jason, the hot carpenter on TLC’s show, While You Were Out.  Kendra wasn’t convinced, and Fish had no idea whom we were talking about.  To test her theory, Kathy had Fish walk past the table while she yelled out, “Jason, you forgot something!” to have him turn around.  Logically, this would make the Jason look-alike look our way when he heard his name…long story short, it wasn’t hot Jason. Oh well, it made us all laugh and that’s really what’s important, isn’t it?


We said our good-byes to Fish and went to the Saxon Pub for that regular Sunday night concert.  I guess lots of other people knew about this show as it was sold out already.   So, we called it an early night to get some much needed sleep before our trip home.


So, when it’s all said and done, we saw 35+ bands over the course of 3 ½ days.  Not too shabby for a couple of SXSW novices.  After hearing for years about the non-stop activity of the festival, we were prepared to be surrounded by great music and important people.  And while that’s true, it’s only one of the things that makes SXSW great.  The bigger picture is that at SXSW, everyone loves music.  At any given show, the audience is full of musicians who are simply enjoying the tunes.  In that setting, the rock star standing next to you (i.e., Jamie Cullum) is simply a fan for that 45-minute set, just like you.


While we didn’t walk away with a “new find” as we had hoped, we got to see lots of great music, which was pretty much the point.  Next time, we’ll come for the entire 5 days of music, fun and frivolity.  We’ll still miss 95% of the bands playing the festival, but that’s the curse of SXSW.