At the front counter of the CVS next door to my highway oasis, you can purchase the following: 5 Hour Energy, hand sanitizer, Visine, and earplugs. Also giant bags of “cheese flavored balls” but I think that’s a year-round thing. The guy at the counter said they sold more earplugs the first two days of this week than they had all year. Just sayin’.
Day 2 of The Time of Year When A Lot of Bands Happen to be in Austin, TX was by far the most successful yet. Not only did I eat three whole meals for the first time in six days, but I accomplished that oh so important goal that is somehow often impossible to accomplish in festival settings: I saw the one band I wanted to see, which was Lower Dens, who were great. After waking up and having a lovely breakfast at a weird cafe that didn’t serve eggs any way besides soft boiled (and still in their shells, LAME), I headed over to East 6th street to see what the day would bring.
So according to veterans of The Time of Year When A Lot of Bands Happen to be in Austin, TX there was a time not so long ago when everything happened downtown and crossing I-35 was only for the most adventurous of us. The FADER Fort blazed the trail, however, by posting up there a few years back and now you can spend entire days out east, bouncing from one thing to the next. That’s exactly what I did yesterday, popping between showcases, Pitchfork’s giant #offline fest (I saw Lower Dens there, they’ll be at the FORT on Saturday), and various and sundry other places. I even popped by my friend’s house to walk her dog in the afternoon.
A couple things to keep in mind: almost all the east side venues have a large outdoor space and most of these outdoor spaces are made of dirt. This is why I was shocked but also impressed to see Art Fag Records’ Mario Orduno sporting a pair of pristine, gleaming white pants at his showcase with Hardly Art at Shangri La. I asked Orduno if I could document his brave risk, and he was kind enough to oblige.
I was hoping that by the time the day wound to an end his pants would be closer to the color of milky coffee than clouds in a clear blue sky, but somehow Orduno managed to maintain their clean sheen through a day of kicking around in the dirt and maybe even using a port-o-potty or two. Well done, sir, well done. Also at the showcase was this young woman, who was buying into the Austin trend of being injured (shout out to FADER publisher Andy Cohn on his crutches, rock it out dude). Not satisfied with wearing a sling that looked like it was fashioned at the DIY Hospital of Our Lady of Punk Rock, she also added some pyramid stud, band-button flair in the style of a rock and roll Sidewinders waitress.
Since I made it my goal to eat meals like a real human, I headed out in search of food around 1 PM. Since everything about this week is totally ridiculous, of course I ended up at Cheer Up Charlie’s for some vegan BBQ courtesy of Moby. Gotta say seitan is kind of gnarly, but my time as a vegan (we all experiment in college) prepared me well and whatever food truck I ate from made the best animal-free mac and cheese I have ever had. Any vegan college kid will tell you that actual vegan cheese taste is really hard to come by, so well done.
It’s a really good idea to take a nap around evening time, and also to shower off the dirt and grime before continuing on to bigger and better things. That’s exactly what I did before heading over to the Driskill hotel for the evening’s festivities. Now I don’t mean to get graphic here, but I think it’s important you understand something. My feet have never hurt the way they do in Austin. It’s like the bone is going to pop out and be in direct contact with the dirty sidewalk. I can handle it to a point, but once I arrived at the Driskill I realized that I was going to have to be on some old lady tip and sit down at the show.
Kind of bummed out and feeling like a loser for chugging water and trying not to have a charlie horse, I kind of zoned out for a couple of hours. I came too in the hotel bar, being handed a Windows Phone by a friend who informed me that it now belonged in my hot sweaty little paws. Sweet! New phone! This is what The Time of Year When A Lot of Bands Happen to be in Austin, TX is all about! I was immediately excited and started tapping away at it but then realized that I’ve been so brainwashed by the fruit-named company I’ve been loyal to for years and years that stick any other kind of phone in my hands and it’s like I might as well not have opposable thumbs. It’s really sparkly though and appears to be capable of doing rad shit though so I’m gonna stick with it.