HEAVY METAL ROAD TRIP, DAY 6: DAY ONE AT SXSW
I’ve indulged in enough posts about the crazy and random shit we did on the road, so now it’s time for what we were all traveling for in the first place: SXSW. The magnitude of SXSW is inconceivable to anyone who’s never been; every orifice of downtown Austin is literally oozing live music. As MS commenter Joel Bailey said yesterday, “Half the shows at SXSW are in the store room of some coffee house or the smoking patio at an Ihop.” While this is true it’s not for lack of real music venues — in fact, the venues in Austin are all top-notch and blow NYC’s rooms out of the water — but there’s just so much going on that even smaller places that normally have nothing to do with music want to get in on the action. For a glimpse of what the scene looks like, check out Metal Injection’s SXSW wrap-up video.
Kip and I decided months back that this year we’d splurge on a hotel room Downtown. Trying to crash with local friends in years past was economical but a pain in the ass; getting a cab at 2am at SXSW is nearly impossible, and hiking a mile or two just to get home (and not having the option of a mid-day stop-in, or even better a clean place to take a shit!) can be really tiring, or worse, result in injury (just ask Kip). Though the option of staying on the SlayRV for the duration of SXSW later presented itself, we opted for the space and comfort of the Omni Hotel and it ended up being well worth it.
After settling into our room we headed over to the Mohawk to get set up for the Prosthetic Records showcase we were sponsoring. With a killer lineup of Prosthetic bands playing inside and the Action PR showcase going on outside (feat. High on Fire, Priestess, NAAM and others) — all in the same venue for one price of admission — the night was off to a great start before it even began.
Prosthetic newcomers Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire impressed with their aggressive brand of grind. For whatever reason I’d never paid much attention to The Funeral Pyre before, but that changed the minute I stepped into their furious set of earnest, doomy black-ish metal. This is a band I can’t wait to see again, perhaps with a little less Lone Star in my system; they definitely win the “best new discovery” award for me Wednesday at SXSW. I especially enjoyed getting to see Book of Black Earth play a full set, as I’d only seen them once before at last year’s NEMHF… and at that, for just one song. Headliners Scale the Summit wowed those in attendance with their headline set of proggy, precise instru-metal… but having seen them open for Dream Theater last year and BTBAM earlier this year we already knew they would. Before Scale the Summit played I apparently got up on stage and MC’ed the giveaway of a sweet guitar the folks at Prosthetic had procured. I do not remember this at all. If anyone captured video of this trainwreck, kindly post it or send it our way.
In between Prosthetic bands on the inside stage and constantly re-upping on Lone Star tallboys I did manage to catch a few bands outside. Due to a last minute time-swap, I goofed on seeing Bison B.C.’s set and only got to catch their last song. That one song killed, though — the band sounded fucking great –– and fortunately I’d have another opportunity to see them later on during the festival. I caught a few minutes each of Naam, The Gates of Slumber and High on Fire. Someone else who was more sober might have a better recollection of High on Fire’s set, but I do remember that the audience especially seemed to dig it.
Tomorrow: Full Metal Texas, including a jaw-dropping performance by Animals as Leaders and surprise Dillinger Escape Plan show, and going down memory lane with STP.
The Story So Far:
Day 5: A Crazy Night in Dallas with a Bunch of Horny Metal Dudes
Day 4: Memphis BBQ and The Walmart Parking Lot
Day 3: Louisville Sluggers and Nashville Honky-Tonk
Day 2: Scion Rock Fest
Day 1: The Calm Before the Storm