So. Day one of the SxSW experience is under my belt. It was a weird one, for me, on a strangely personal level. Not that this should come as much surprise, as most of the things on my personal level are quite strange.
Neither here nor there.
I started the evening with a brisk jog. Well, more like a protracted jaunt of half-trudging trudgery through and along the pathways surrounding scenic Town Lake. (My, my. What flowery language we have today) I ran the whole trail this time, so my legs are killing me today, and before my evening began last night I was already a bench-warmer for team dehydrated. And I think that’s how things got left of me.
There were two free shows I wanted to hit up, but like the complete jackass that I am, I neglected to give two shits about WHO the bands were. Mainly because I already looked over the rosters, and nothing caught my eye. So I applied the Cheshire Cat mentality and said to myself, ‘self, it matters not where we go if we do not where it is we want to be’. Well, that kind of ass-logic does not play well with others. Namely: my friends. So when I started making all my calls, seeing who wanted to join me in my night of blinded band-watching, no one was willing to bite.
[me]: Yo whuddup! You want to kick it tonight? Free show at Emo’s!
[them]: Who’s playing there?
[me]: I have no idea. It’s free.
[them]: Yeah, but so is hitting my head with a brick.
[me]: That would cost you a hospital trip, at the least. Deductibles aren’t free.
[them]: Right. So WHO is playing there? WHY do I want to go?
[me]: I’ll be there! You know, chillin’. Probably drinking Lonestar.
[them]: Wait a minute, you hate Emo’s…
[me]: Oh, yeah, right. That’s true. It’s dirty, there’s that really fucking obnoxious door guy with the glasses who must have been beaten up a-lot in the locker room because he’s a complete and utter douche balloon. It’s always too loud to hear the vocalists and I can never tell the difference between the paying customers and the vagabonds from The Salvation Army down the street. And I think people crap in the urinals. Seriously.
[them]: Uhhhh… so you’re going to Emo’s, a place you really hate, to see bands you have never heard of, all by yourself?
[me]: I won’t be alone if you come with, right? Right!
[me]: Right! Thas whut I’m talkin’ ‘bout!
[me]: Come on, I was kidding about the shit in the urinal thing. But seriously, I did pee on something pretty suspicious last time I was in there. It might have been a wall though. I was really drunk.
[them]: Good bye Craig.
So I cycled through my entire phone. Like a true believer, convinced that SOMEONE would see my genius in this. Someone would join my Tuesday – Sunday bender. SOMEONE would see the light. But no. No takers.
Maybe it was the dehydration kicking in, or the moon was full, or I had just had a double-helping of idiot pie… I decided to go out anyway. I mean, I already promised myself. You can lie to your mom, to the priest, and to your parole officer. But never make promises to yourself, which do not intend to keep. So I bucked up, put on some threads, and drove myself downtown. Alone.
It was all very humbling. As if I were punishing myself for being myself. Going out alone can be fun, but this felt more like I had lost a bet or something.
I get there, park, and make my way to Deville. Big surprise. Honestly, I have no idea why I went there. Maybe to see a friendly face? Take a whiz in a familiar setting? To drink out in the cold breeze amongst strangers who are only talking to each other about a) why they are worth fucking, or b) why someone else is not worth fucking. I certainly hope my subconscious was searching for the third option, because that’s all I got. An hour of it. Some dude from L.A. really wanted to beat the stuffing of some biker chick from Chicago. He had all these really stupid smooth lines too, but I don’t remember any of them due to brain damage I suffered later in the evening. The biker chick totally disregarded the L.A. guy like an AA meeting recommendation. He was persistent though. Eventually he got her to laugh at his jokes, so maybe his effort paid off. Good on him for trying.
The place was packed with ultra-chic hipsters and drunken 40 year-olds. More dudes than a Maxim convention. Tents were being set up for SxSW on the patio, so it was a mess out there. Some of my favorite bartenders were working, so I tried to get in there to be chatty. Impossible. The crowd was thick, and the bartenders were busy. So no chit-chat. I was all by my lonesome. Me and the odd-ball couple, with their push-n-pull conversation. It was the only empty seat I could find, and it was always empty when I returned from the bar. NO ONE ELSE wanted it. Whatever.
I don’t know what I was waiting there for. No one was supposed to show up. No one planned on meeting me there. No pot of gold. No wishes. Not even the hope of free Budweiser key chains. NOTHING to wait there for. So I decided to make good use of my future lost-time and started calling all the people that I had made a mental note to call. I got about halfway through that list and decided that it was probably best that I not try to call too many people for real conversation while sitting at a loud bar. Not so brilliant.
I decided to concentrate on drinking instead. Even more brilliant.
Three Sky Orange and tonics later, I was outta that piece. When I first left Deville, I seriously considered calling it a night. I mean, Emo’s really is a shitty place.
-It has the acoustic properties of a paper-mâché cave.
-Their hand-stamps always say something ‘whimsical’ like “sand paper” or they are a picture of a dead ladybug or some shit. I love irony, but I’m not sure about dead bugs bleeding all over my pillow case.
- The floor is always Bangladeshi-open-air-market filthy.
- And yes, I seriously believe someone shat in the urinal that one time. But again, I was obliterated, so it may very well have been my shoe I was peeing on. (call it a *slight* exaggeration, if anything)
But something deep inside, something in my core, told me to ‘see it through’! The voice of my very soul wanted me to continue with my evening. Or, it was the vodka talking. Tomato, tomato.
So I persevered, and got in the brief line at Emo’s to see some free shows, all by my lonesome, damnit. And there I stayed, for nearly an hour, without a single friendly face to shoot the shit with, and NO MUSIC. It seems that bands, when they play for free, really don’t give two shits about a ‘schedule’ or anything. I don’t blame them.
I sucked down three Lonestars and watched some crazy-assed show where the contestants have to answer questions while being body-slammed by wrestlers, or while they’re naked, or some Lee Press-On chicks drag their wares across a chalkboard, or… you get the picture. It was called Distraction, or something of the like. Close-Captioned for the Lonestar impaired. The Daily Show came on too. I miss watching John and his cohorts. Best. News source. Ever.
I made small talk with the bartenders, pilfered the club for every demo-CD I could find (got a really good VICE one with GO! TEAM on it), and took a picture with some strange girls who were hanging out in the men’s room (they were pretending to pee for a posed photo and I just walked up and started peeing next to them). It was all very tame. Very quiet (still no fucking music). And very… damn I drank a-lot of Lonestar. You can always tell how much Lonestar you had the night before by noting how much your ass burns the following day. Jesus Christ I drank a-lot of Lonestar. I am currently hovering over my chair at work. Damnit.
The first band who came on was The Arm. Whoever they were, they sounded like Green Day during their Dookie phase. Not bad. But kinda uninspiring. I might be stepping into music critic territory here, where I certainly do not belong, but I don’t believe that sound is old enough to emulate yet. It needs to marinate some more. Put it back in the oven for a few. Let that chicken thaw before you try to fry it. Know what I’m saying?
Soon after their set was over, I was comfortably numb. No, I was fidgety drunk. I was wandering around, without a place to sit, standing in other people’s photos, and wondering who the hell let The School of the Eternally Disenchanted’s ninth grade into Emo’s for the night. It was like a pep rally for Satan or some shit. They were all ghouled-out. Dudes with black fingernail paint. It was all very… rebellious, I would guess, if I were their parents.
I peed a couple hundred times (Lonestar runs through you like a saline enema) and then some of my friends showed up! All at once, it seemed. I was rather soused by then, so I don’t know what time it was, or how their arrivals were spaced apart, but it all seemed like it happened near the end, simultaneously. Like, I was considering wandering off to another venue due to boredom, I blinked, and BAM! Rivas, The Big O, The NY Couple, Gentry, and this girl Yvonne all appeared from absolutely nowhere. I was ecstatic, and talked everyone’s ears off because I had felt so friggin’ lonely over the previous three-four hours of self flatulence.
The meat of that part of the night is real fuzzy. I remember several more Lonestars being thrown my way. I remember someone talking about a VH1 pilot. I believe someone’s husband was hitting on some other chick who was there, and she was livid at his audacity. I remember some bouncer from Houston who must have been yay-ed up because he was speaking so quick that it sounded more like the cycling vibrations of a pool pump. Drunk folk CANNOT have decent conversations with anyone using hard stimulants. The drunkard hears every sixteenth word, and the stimulated filters NOTHING for sake of brevity. And their stories never have a point. They just ramble and ramble and ramble. Kinda like this post.
While the details of that time escape me entirely, I do remember going to eat at Katz’s with The Big O. We talked film, and his desire to write a screenplay (I senselessly critiqued the piece he is currently working on, which I had no right to do, but I did, so there’s that), which I fully support. He stated that our friends are up to their cowlicks in untapped talent. Whether it is true or not, I haven’t a clue. But I certainly agree with him. Ridiculous talent lurks amongst my cohorts. Ridiculous amounts of the stuff. I’m glad he said it.
I’m glad I stayed out. I’m glad I was forced to hang out with myself for a few hours. I’m glad my friends did show up, eventually. I am glad I got to watch The Daily Show. And I am really glad that I didn’t have to speak with Dennis Quaid, who was having a drink at the bar in Katz’s during our meal. I hear he’s a real dick. I bet he's fun to drink with though. Innerspace? LOVED it.
Now if you’ll pardon me, I will be relieving myself for the next hour and a half. Or, until it is time to re-start my bender. WORD.
Damn you Lonestar!