Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hand Stamps and Wristbands

Another Austin morning and another day of live music is coming as soon as I extract myself from this embroidered hotel robe and make my way back to Zilker Park. The first two days of the Austin City Limits festival have been excellent. My eardrums remain intact, although I broiled both shoulders in the sun on Friday and last night I held a memorial service for a pair of rain-soaked, mud-caked flat shoes, whose reeking faux-suede bodies were interred in the trash can beside the minibar.

It rained for a solid nine hours yesterday and after dropping $5 on an ineffective poncho, I spent my afternoon wrapped in a thin layer of plastic, much like my grandmother's sofa. That didn't stop me from digging sets from The Decemberists, Grizzly Bear, Flogging Molly and a fragile-looking Levon Helm, the former drummer for The Band, the least Google-able musical group of all time. My full Saturday recap will be posted shortly at BitchBuzz (as soon as I, um, start writing it) but you can clicky here to read all about Day One.

I've been concert-ing pretty much nonstop since my Chucks hit the terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International. On Thursday night, I had a cow skull stamped on my hand at the Continental Club where I caught The Baseball Project/Steve Wynn IV/Minus 5 for the second time in six days (Clicky: Full recap of their Cat's Cradle gig). The place was packed and they absolutely rocked for both sets and an encore that featured an appearance by Bill Rieflin on a pair of songs (More on him in a paragraph or two).

I stood behind a hulking dude in a t-shirt who shouted along with every lyric and yelled "DREAM FUCKING SYNDICATE"--a reference to Wynn's former band--after several of their songs. During the intermission, he wandered over, sweat streaming from his shaved head, and said "You know the words too!"

"Yeah, I dig these guys," I said, because I really do talk like that.


Since I barely have enough brain function to remember to wear pants if I leave the house, we high fived instead. And, of course, I thought "I CAN TOTALLY WRITE ABOUT THIS" as he headed toward the bar.
During "Medicine Show", I looked to my left and realized I was standing beside Bill Rieflin, the former drummer for Ministry and current kit-master for R.E.M. and Robyn Hitchcock. And then I looked at him again. And again, in rapid succession until he noticed. Because I make terrible decisions, I grabbed his arm and said "YOU MAY BE MY FAVORITE DRUMMER EVER!" I wasn't shouting because of the music--it was actually a break between songs--I was shouting because I'm insane.

He looked, um, surprised and said thanks. I was telling him how many miles I'd run while listening to Ministry when a woman tapped his shoulder and asked if he'd care to watch her purse while she went to the bathroom.

To his credit, he did.

When she came back, drying her hands with the front of her skirt, he disappeared, probably terrified that one of us would've licked his face (Me) or asked him to feed her dogs (Her). Five minutes later, he popped up onstage beside asskicking drummer Linda Pitmon during a cover of The Sonics' "Strychnine".

I hit my word count on my BitchBuzz ACL review before I could mention seeing Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 (Rieflin, Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck) on Friday night. Anyone who's read this site or exchanged more than three sentences with me knows how much I dig his music--and his delightfully skewed worldview. I also more-than-appreciate the fact that he graciously agreed to an interview this summer, which was pretty much the highlight of my...ever.

Anyway, despite some early technical issues, he gave a good show and was extra-animated, dropping between-song monologues about tofu burgers and tsunamis. Believe it or not, he actually played a track I hadn't heard live--"Brenda's Iron Sledge"--in any of the FOUR OTHER CONCERTS I've attended this year.
Time to un-robe and shower, even though the lighting in this bathroom makes me consider having my clothing permanently stapled on.

More updates to come... today's concert calendar includes White Lies, Dirty Projectors, Arctic Monkeys and several other adjective/noun combinations.



loved the lines

lick his face or watch his dogs

that gave me a good laugh

basilexposition said...

Between interviewing Hitchcock and grabbing Rieflin's arm, I think I officially hate you now.

emmysuh said...

Guh. Jealous. Even with all the mud. I saw Tom Petty after a ran storm and it was a great show even though we were all slipping and sliding.

Rest in peace, flats.

Holly A Hughes said...

How could you run out of your word count before writing about ROBYN? Unless you were saving it for us here...knowing of course that only we can truly appreciate his gorgeosity.

Cagey said...

I'm curious - do you happen to know what that guitar is the guy in the picture is playing? I've been playing for about 100 years, and I don't recognize it at all. Or the player, for that matter.

I must say I'm jealous of your being able to see an outdoor concert now. It's getting much too cold for that sort of thing here in the Great White North.

Incidentally, nice blog. I'm almost done reading the whole thing, and it's been a pleasure. Keep up the good work.

Cagey said...

Ok. I'm finally through the whole blog. Nice job. I've only recently started reading these kinds of things, and find most of them to be quite tiring. Yours is an entertaining exception.

I'm curious, though - you rarely respond to anyone in the comments. Is there a reason for that? A little interaction can be a Good Thing, and encourage more participation. Assuming, of course, you're interested in that sort of thing.

J-Money said...

speaking: It's funny because it's true...

basilexposition: C'mon! We can still be pals!

emmysuh: The flats were joined in mud-encrusted hell by a pair of $7 sneakers from Walmart. Those were abandoned in the parking lot outside the festival. Hmm...that's a story that may need to be told.

holly: Of course I'm saving Robyn for my fellow Hitchcock fans over here. Actually, between recapping his Cat's Cradle show, reviewing Goodnight Oslo, the two-part interview, dropping him into my Bonnaroo coverage and chatting with him about Pestival, I kinda thought the BitchBuzz-ers may be Robyn-ed out!

cagey: That's Robyn Hitchcock and he's playing an Eastwood Airline guitar in that shot. I don't always have a chance to get to all the blog comments--although I do read them--but if anyone ever emails me, they'll get a response.

Nick Thomas said...

I am fan of Robyn Hitchcock. And love how he is playing a guitar.

Robyn Hitchcock - RULES!

Calamity Jill said...

Disposable shoes.
Brilliant for Coachella.
Also a great band name.