Welcome to what is probably my final South by Southwest update. Yes, I'm getting too old for this. I'd say there's a good solid 51% chance I will not go back in 2012. But let's not dwell on that now. 2011 was a mighty fine festival, with many great new bands discovered and many previously-seen bands enjoyed anew! My friend Jay and I once again purchased official badges and pretended to be music industry bigwigs. So let's get right to the Excel spreadsheet. Grayed out items are bands that were on the list as options but were missed. Bold items were the ones I saw, and links on band names go to my Flickr photo uploads.
|Wednesday, March 16, 2011 || |
|1:00 PM ||Shilpa Ray & her Happy Hookers ||Dot Com Day Stage Austin Convention Center |
|2:15 PM ||Darwin Deez ||Emo's Main Room |
|2:35 PM ||Smoosh ||Red Eyed Fly |
|4:30 PM || Didgeri-doods? ||6th Street |
| ||Freshly badged, we headed out to 6th street. I think we were going to see if we could get into Emo's to see Surfer Blood, but since that was a free show and the line looked ridiculous, we instead decided to head back toward the Ginger Man for our customary first beers and strategy-plotting session. On the street was this duo that was a lot like the Black Keys, except that instead of a blues guitarist there was a guy spitting into a long stick. The drummer was very good, but I honestly don't know how to judge didgeridoo virtuosity. He maintained a constant buzz, I guess. Probably. |
|5:15 PM ||Surfer Blood ||Emo's Main Room |
|5:15 PM ||American Music Club ||Red Eyed Fly |
|5:15 PM || Buck 65 with Jenn Grant ||Canadian Blast BBQ |
| ||A rapper and a singer. Kinda reminded me of Eminem and Dido, only less disturbing. |
|6:00 PM || King Richard ||Hilton Lobby |
| ||Interesting modernized cover of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" with violin and banjo. Because, you know, somebody had to do it. |
|9:00 PM ||Colourmusic ||Friends |
|9:00 PM || Porcelain Raft ||Club de Ville |
| ||I don't really remember anything about this. We're at this venue early because Jay has The Vaccines on his list. I've got nothing bad to say about Porcelain Raft. It was one guy and a guitar and some electronic gadgetry. |
|9:00 PM ||J. Mascis ||La Zona Rosa |
|9:15 PM ||James Blake ||Stubbs |
|10:00 PM ||Mini Mansions ||La Zona Rosa |
|10:00 PM || The Vaccines ||Club de Ville |
| ||They didn't really leave an impression on me, but Jay liked 'em okay, and they played the songs he was hoping they would play early in their set, which allowed us to leave early to get to the next gig we both really wanted to see: Darwin Deez @ Latitude 30. |
|10:00 PM || Wolf Gang ||Latitude 30 |
| ||I snapped a photo, but I don't remember anything about them. They were finishing up as we arrived for Darwin Deez. |
|10:15 PM ||Smith Westerns ||Stubbs |
|10:30 PM ||Hot Panda ||Black & Tan |
|11:00 PM || Darwin Deez ||Latitude 30 |
| ||Darwin Deez! This was the early frontrunner for the coveted "Best of the Fest" award, influenced only partially by their entrance to the stage accompanied by the David Lee Roth isolated vocal track from "Runnin With the Devil," followed by some parodied boy-band dance choreography. But the band was tight, energetic, and charismatic throughout the set. Two thumbs up, would definitely recommend to a friend. Here, go watch this official video. |
|11:00 PM ||Liam Finn ||Red Eyed Fly |
| ||D'oh! Missed Liam Finn! He was one of my must-sees. I've seen him before, in fact, he was my Best of the Fest recipient of 2008. But fortunately this year's schedule is LOADED with multiple chances to see all the bands I want to see, so no big whoop. |
|11:00 PM ||Telegraph Canyon ||Esther's Follies |
|11:35 PM || The Cave Singers ||Red 7 Patio |
| ||I saw them last year, and they were a contender for the 2010 Best of the Fest award. They've got a new album out which I like, but they are kinda shaping up to be a one-shtick pony. Think non-Irish-Waterboys cross-bred with Appalachian snake-handlers. Video. |
|12:00 AM ||A Place to Bury Strangers ||Prague |
|12:00 AM ||Pulled Apart by Horses ||Red Eyed Fly |
|12:00 AM ||The Baseball Project ||Nuvola |
|12:00 AM ||The Antlers ||The Parish |
|12:00 AM ||Young the Giant ||Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards |
|12:15 AM ||Queens of the Stone Age ||La Zona Rosa |
|12:30 AM ||Duran Duran ||Stubbs |
|12:45 AM ||Wild Flag ||The Parish |
|12:50 AM ||Okkervil River ||Red 7 Patio |
|1:00 AM ||Ebony Bones ||Malverde |
|1:00 AM ||Indian Jewelry ||Soho Lounge |
|1:00 AM || Mexican Institute of Sound ||Elysium |
| ||Kind of a Mexican hip-hop, DJ thing. They were a'ight. Here's a video. |
|1:00 AM ||Talib Kweli ||Emo's Main Room |
|1:00 AM ||Surfer Blood ||Beauty Bar / Palm Door |
| || || |
|Thursday, March 17, 2011 || |
|11:00 AM || Bob Geldof keynote ||Convention Center |
| ||Bob Geldof wants America to shake itself out of its malaise. America gave the world rock and roll, and 50 years later, it's getting kinda lame. Sombody needs to get angry. |
|11:30 AM ||The Latebirds ||Cedar St. Courtyard |
|12:00 PM || Capsula ||Sounds from Spain tent |
| ||After the keynote we head out to the first day party in Brush Square park, which is Sounds from Spain. Free sangria and paella! And, whoa, this band is pretty damn good. According to the posted schedule, it was a band called "Polock," so we spent most of the fest laboring under the misconception that this was who we saw. It was not until I got home and downloaded Polock's album from Amazon that I realized the error. And while Polock has a perfectly decent album of their own, they are no Capsula. Capsula struck me as kind of like the Stooges in a more psychedelic vein. Here's a video with not-safe-for-work boobies. |
|2:00 PM || Lost Brothers ||Fleadh Austin party |
| ||Irish Simon & Garfunkel. |
|2:25 PM ||Anna Calvi ||Flamingo Cantina |
|3:00 PM ||The Vaccines ||Cedar St. Courtyard |
|3:00 PM || Rolling Stone party ||La Zona Rosa |
| ||They had bands playing, but there was nobody there we really wanted to see. But we were passing by La Zona Rosa, and it was a party, so we went up to the doorman and flashed our badges. He asked if we had wristbands. "No, we have badges," we said, flashing our badges again. "No, you need Rolling Stone wristbands." We looked at our wrists, and looked back at the doorman, crestfallen. "Aw, you know what? You guys go on in, have a good time." Best. Doorman. Ever. |
There wasn't anybody playing that we cared about, but we did enjoy some free beer, and had a nice promo photo taken.
|6:00 PM ||Dum Dum Girls ||East Side Drive In |
|7:00 PM ||Bob Geldof ||ACL Live at Moody Theater |
|7:21 PM || Dance fight ||6th Street |
| ||In the void between the day parties and the start of the evening showcases, we are back at the hotel, napping, lounging, eating Executive cookies and whatnot. The hotel room overlooks 6th street, and from the window we witness a bona fide dance-off. |
|8:00 PM ||The Latebirds ||Continental Club |
|8:00 PM ||Eclectic Mthod ||Austin Music Hall |
|8:00 PM ||The Strokes ||Auditorium Shores |
|8:20 PM ||Surf City ||Red 7 Patio |
|9:00 PM ||Ham Sandwich ||Friends |
| ||We never got to see this band, but Jay had them on his list, mostly because he was hoping to get a teeshirt that said "Ham Sandwich." |
|9:00 PM ||Rocky Business ||Austin Music Hall |
|9:30 PM || Noah and the Whale ||Stubbs |
| ||We go to Stubb's early, because I want to see TV on the Radio later in the showcase, and Jay knows a song or two from Noah and the Whale. Well, Noah and the Whale was okay I guess, but for me it wasn't particularly memorable. There's nobody else at Stubb's either one of us want to see until 12:30 am, so we leave to wander the neighborhood. |
|9:50 PM ||Schmillion ||Cedar St. Courtyard |
|10:00 PM ||Doldrums ||Habana Bar |
|10:00 PM || I Was Totally Destroying It ||Easy Tiger Patio |
| ||Great name. I snapped a pic. Jay opts to punk out for the evening, and I head back to Stubb's. |
|10:00 PM ||Dave Alvin ||Dirty Dog Bar |
|10:00 PM ||Anna Calvi ||Emo's Main Room |
|10:00 PM ||Glasser ||Central Presbyterian Church |
|10:45 PM ||Smoosh ||Cedar St. Courtyard |
|10:50 PM ||Fishbone ||Austin Music Hall |
|11:00 PM ||The Kills ||Emo's Main Room |
|11:30 PM || Charles Bradley ||Stubbs |
| ||All I know about Charles Bradley is that this is going to be a traditional Soul set. I just want him to hurry up and be done so I can see TV on the Radio, as my 45-year-old legs are really hurting. His backing band comes out and plays an instrumental, generic Philly soul song. Great, I'm thinkin', another throwback artist. Then Charles comes out to much fanfare and theatrical bowing and shouting "I love you" and all, and kicks into a passable James Brown slash Wilson Picket type of showcase. Lot's of "YOW" screams and "I love yous" throughout. Again, a nice tribute-style showcase. And then he surprises me with an inspired horn-infused cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold." That earns him the semi-coveted Best Cover Song of the Fest award. Shaky video. |
|11:30 PM ||The Novocaines ||Black & Tan |
|11:45 PM ||The Bangles ||Cedar St. Courtyard |
|11:45 PM ||Wu Tang Clan ||Austin Music Hall |
|12:00 AM ||Janelle Monáe ||La Zona Rosa |
|12:00 AM ||Cold War Kids ||Lustre Pearl |
|12:00 AM ||Liam Finn ||Maggie Mae's |
|12:30 AM || TV on the Radio ||Stubbs |
| ||I've seen 'em twice before and been blown away both times. This is a band I would travel great distances and endure many painful joint pains to see. They have a new album coming out within a few weeks, and I am really psyched to see this show. But while this was a good performance, I'd have to rank it about third or fourth best of all their shows I have seen. They were still good! Don't get me wrong. And the new material they played sounds excellent. But I may have been too far back in the venue to really get into the Sphere of Influence. Here's a video. |
|1:00 AM ||Bombay Bicycle Club ||Klub Krucial |
|1:00 AM ||DJ Cam ||Karma Lounge |
|1:00 AM ||Trail of Dead ||Beauty Bar/Palm Door |
|1:00 AM ||James Blake ||Central Presbyterian Church |
|1:00 AM ||Menomena ||Red Eyed Fly |
|1:00 AM ||East Bay Ray & the Killer Smiles ||Skinny's Ballroom |
|1:00 AM ||Surfer Blood ||Habana Bar Backyard |
|1:00 AM ||Peter Murphy ||The Ale House |
|1:30 AM ||Talib Kweli ||Scoot Inn |
|1:30 AM || Dead Elmo ||Emo's Annex |
| ||That's not the actual band name. I don't know who this band was. The flyer said Asking Alexandria, but when I Googled them, it's not them. This was a hardcore rap thing, with a guy in a red suit with x's for eyes dancing around. I was just passing by the venue on my way back to the hotel after TV on the Radio and heard the energy from the venue and had to check it out. If you like hardcore rap and furries, definitely check out this band. Whoever they are. |
| || || |
|Friday, March 18, 2011 || |
|12PM to 8 PM ||Glitter Taco Smoosh Party ||Peckerheads |
|10:30 AM || Ozomatli ||Convention Center |
| ||Didn't see enough to really get a feel for them. I've heard great things about them though. They're renowned for violating city ordinances by leading their crowds out into the streets in a conga line. |
|12:00 PM || Moondoggies ||Waterloo Records |
| ||We've arrived at Waterloo Records because I have the Dum Dum Girls on my list of bands I wanna see and Jay has The Joy Formidable on his, and we can cross them off at a day show and free up some evening showcase slots. Moondoggies is on when we arrive. Sorry to say I wasn't really paying attention to them. I did snap a photo and capture their souls, though. |
|12:50 PM ||My name is John Michael ||Antones |
|1:00 PM || Dum Dum Girls ||Waterloo Records |
| ||Do you believe in love at first sight? Before they even played a note I turned to Jay and said, "Best of the Fest." Well I was wrong on that, but they were still damn good. Kind of a sixties girl-group sound filtered through a lot of reverb and distortion. Here's a video. |
|2:00 PM || The Joy Formidable ||Waterloo Records |
| ||There's some serious sun beating down on us now in the parking lot of Waterloo Records. Dum Dum Girls was damn damn good and I bought their EP and even went through the sun-baked line to get it autographed. Then, something magical happened. The Joy Formidable happened. The trio took the stage and dominated it. The dichotomy of the cute blonde pixie and the ferocious guitar sound she was generating was jarring at first, but once my world view adjusted, I was just totally enchanted. And lest you think I'm just pervy-smitten, NO, I say, the entire band is just as tight and ferocious. They were instantly catapulted to frontrunner status for the coveted 2011 Best of the Fest award. Here's a link to a video of their NPR showcase the day before, go see for yourself. |
|2:00 PM ||Mexican Institute of Sound ||Dot Com Day Stage Austin Convention Center |
|2:00 PM ||Fitz and the Tantrums ||Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center |
|2:25 PM ||Surfer Blood ||Flamingo Cantina |
|2:55 PM ||Sugar & Gold ||The Ghost Room |
| ||Still stunned and sunstroked from the Joy Formidable at the Waterloo parking lot, we stop into the Ghost Room for recovery. Jay watched a little bit of Sugar & Gold and liked them. I was mostly sitting in the back, patting pint glass sweat onto my forehead and swatting away apparitions. |
|3:00 PM ||PS I Love You ||Dot Com Day Stage Austin Convention Center |
|3:30 PM ||Typhoon ||The Ghost Room |
| ||I saw a little bit of them and liked what I saw. But honestly, I was still loopy from heatstroke. |
|4:05 PM ||Menomena ||Flamingo Cantina |
| ||D'oh! Missed Menomena. I'm a big fan of this band, but they just lost a key member of their trio in January. I was kinda hoping to see how they'd fare in a post-Brent world, but that will have to wait I guess. |
|5:00 PM ||Surfer Blood ||Cedar St. Courtyard |
|5:00 PM ||Trail of Dead ||Waterloo Records |
|5:00 PM ||Okkervil River ||Flamingo Cantina |
|5ish? ||TV on the Radio ||Stubbs |
|5:00 PM ||Liam Finn ||Lustre Pearl |
|5:15 PM ||Tapes N Tapes ||Skinny's Ballroom |
|5:20 PM ||Anna Calvi ||Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center |
|6:00 PM ||Dum Dum Girls ||Lustre Pearl |
|7:00 PM ||World Party ||Auditorium Shores |
|8:15 PM || Apex Manor ||The Parish |
| ||We're at this venue early because Jay wants to see Telekinesis, but I actually liked Apex Manor more. They were kind of uptempo Wilco-ish. They did a pretty good cover of Harry Nilsson's "Jump Into the Fire" which was a contender for my coveted Best Cover Song of the Fest award. Here's a video. |
|8:30 PM ||The Vaccines ||Stubbs |
|9:00 PM || Telekinesis ||The Parish |
| ||They were all right. Nice and poppy. Here's a video. |
|9:00 PM ||G Love ||The Ale House |
|9:30 PM ||Malford Milligan ||Saxon Pub |
|9:45 PM ||American Music Club ||The parish |
|9:45 PM ||SBTRKT ||Mohawk |
|10:00 PM || King Tuff ||Rusty Spurs |
| ||I couldn't really take them seriously because the bass guitarist looked too much like Nigel Tuffnel. But they were okay. |
|10:00 PM ||Dreaming in Stereo ||Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn |
| ||I heard this band on the official SXSW streaming radio station and was impressed enough to actually buy their album via Amazon in advance of seeing them. But, alas, I've got Tapes N Tapes as a must-see tonight, and sometimes in life and in SXSW you have to make difficult choices. Anyway, there's no way this could possibly come back to haunt me. |
|10:15 PM ||Torpedo Boyz ||Barbarella Patio |
|11:00 PM || Tapes N Tapes ||Rusty Spurs |
| ||Tapes N tapes was one of my must-sees (otherwise we would be seeing another Joy Formidable show right about now). I was happy with the performance, although the sound wasn't great. Here's a video. |
|11:10 PM ||The Joy Formidable ||Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards |
|11:20 PM ||Dum Dum Girls ||Red 7 Patio |
|11:45 PM ||Scala & Kolacny Brothers ||Stubbs |
|12:00 AM || Esben and the Witch ||Latitude 30 |
| ||Wow. Kinda creepy and trance-inducing. I think that girl might be a witch. Disturbing video. |
|12:00 AM ||The Submarines ||Antone's |
|12:00 AM ||Hilary York ||The Tap Room at Six |
|12:50 AM ||The Raveonettes ||Rusty Spurs |
|1:00 AM ||Bombay Bicycle Club ||Latitude 30 |
|1:00 AM ||Okkervil River ||Antone's |
|1:00 AM ||Beats Antique ||Beauty Bar backyard |
|1:00 AM ||Menomena ||Central Presbyterian Church |
|1:00 AM ||Men Without Hats ||Club de Ville |
|1:00 AM ||Steve Wynn / Baseball Project ||Momo's |
|1:00 AM ||OMD ||Stubbs |
|1:00 AM ||DJ Yoda ||Malaia Upstairs |
|1:15 AM ||Jon Fratelli ||Stephen F's Bar |
| || || |
|Saturday, March 19, 2011 || |
| ||Wanda Jackson ||Stubbs |
|12:45 to 6:55 PM ||Steve Wynn's Yard Dog party ||Yard Dog |
|11:30 AM || Tapes N Tapes ||Stubbs |
| ||Hey, whaddaya know, there's not a line to get into the Rachael Ray day party this year. We get to see a bonus performance of Tapes N Tapes with better sound! |
|12:30 PM ||DJ Yoda ||Dot Com Day Stage |
|2:00 PM ||Tapes N Tapes ||Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center |
|2:00 PM ||Meat Puppets ||Waterloo Records |
|2:00 PM || Surfer Blood ||Rolling Stone @ La Zona Rosa |
| ||Surfer Blood AND The Joy Formidable are playing at the Rolling Stone party today! Since we had such good luck getting in the last time, we figure we will give it a try again today. And, lo! Success! Surfer Blood was one of my must-sees, and while they were pretty good, I think they're better on record. Video. |
|3:00 PM || The Joy Formidable ||Rolling Stone @ La Zona Rosa |
| ||Dammit, I love this band and I don't care who know it. This is, without a doubt, the winner of the coveted 2011 Best of the Fest award. |
|4:00 PM ||Tapes N Tapes ||Lustre Pearl |
|5:00 PM ||Dreaming in Stereo ||Lipton Tent @ Brush Square Park |
| ||Heading back to the hotel for a bit of rest before the evening showcases, we hit the park tents for our daily free booze. As we are drinking our free weird Lipton tea cocktails, a girl is behind me, reading the bands printed on the back of my SXSW teeshirt. She introduces herself and asks if my shirt is the 2011 SXSW shirt. "No," I say, "this one is from 2002." I'm prepared to dazzle her with tales from my rich and storied SXSW history, when she says, "Oh, well nevermind then, I was looking for my friend's band," she gestures to her friend next to her, "but if that's not 2011 then nevermind." "Oh," I say to the friend, "What's your band?" "Dreaming in Stereo," she says. "OH!" I say excitedly, "I didn't actually see you, but I had you on my list of options!" |
Note to self: "I didn't actually see you but I had you on my list of options" is not as great a compliment as one might think.
|5:00 PM ||Okkervil River ||Lustre Pearl |
|5:00 PM ||Trail of Dead ||The Blind Pig |
|6:05 PM || The Joy Formidable ||Chop Shop Party @ Brush Square Park |
| ||Dammit, the guards kept me out of this one. But I will wait for you here, Joy Formidable! I'll be right here, 50 feet away from the perimeter as ordered! |
|7:30 PM ||Bright Eyes ||Auditorium Shores Stage |
|7:30 PM || Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger ||Elysium |
| ||Elysium has a sort of Lennon Family Hoedown going on all evening. It starts with Sean Lennon and his smokin' hot model girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl, in Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, who do quiet, nuanced acoustic songs with beautiful harmonies, easily trampled over by load-talking douchebags in the back of the venue. Video. |
|7:30 PM ||Haley Bonar ||Central Presbyterian Church |
|8:00 PM ||Something Fierce ||Easy Tiger |
|8:25 PM ||Malford Milligan ||Continental Club |
|8:30 PM || Kemp and Eden ||Elysium |
| ||…and this was Charlotte Kemp and her childhood friend Eden, accompanied by Sean Lennon. Still very quiet, acoustic and lovely. |
|9:00 PM || If By Yes ||Elysium |
| ||…and this was Sean's former Cibo Matto bandmate (and former girlfriend? I don't know fersure) Yuka Honda, and Petra Haden (formerly of That Dog, and herself). A bit louder now. Full band. Peppy! This is a good thing. Album comes out tomorrow, and I will buy it. Video. |
|9:10 PM ||The Bubble Puppy ||Austin Music Hall |
|9:30 PM ||Tres Mountains ||Stubbs |
|9:50 PM ||Meat Puppets with Roky Erickson ||Austin Music Hall |
|10:00 PM ||Consortium Musicum ||Elysium |
|11:00 PM ||Braids ||Club de Ville |
| ||I snapped a photo, but my brain has already checked out. I am done with SXSW 2011. |
|11:00 PM ||The Limousines ||Emo's Main Room |
|11:15 PM ||Le Butcherettes ||Emo's Annex |
|12:00 AM ||The Raveonettes ||Cedar Street Courtyard |
|12:00 AM ||Rainbow Arabia ||Malverde |
|12:50 AM ||Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group ||Emo's Annex |
|1:00 AM ||Yoko Ono ||Elysium |
|1:00 AM ||Deer Tick ||Lustre Pearl |
|1:00 AM ||Jamie xx ||Barcelona |
|1:00 AM ||Funeral Party ||Cedar Street Courtyard |
I am pleased to report that once again my friend Jay and I have survived another SXSW music festival, although I gotta say, this one almost had a Donner Party ending with the frigid temperatures on Saturday night.
Every year I make an Excel document with all the acts I’d like to see, and this year’s list was larger than most, but I only had two “must-see” acts on it: Broken Bells (James Mercer of The Shins, and Danger Mouse of everything else) and Metric (who I have seen recently but I heart them so much I want to see them again every day). My must-sees ultimately turned out to be disappointments, but there were a higher-than-average number of unexpected surprise discoveries that made this festival a rousing success.
There were no Oompa Loompas this year, but one day we did see a guy jacking off in the street around 10:30 AM, and I think we got to experience a Bill Murray meme being birthed via Twitter.
Road trip to Austin: Jay suggested that we deviate from our usual route and stop for lunch in Lockhart, TX, The Barbecue Capital of Texas. I’m okay with this plan. I have a tooth that may be needing a root canal or extraction soon, but lately I’ve gotten pretty good at favoring the other side of the jaw, and worst case, I could certainly enjoy a hearty bowl of barbecue sauce. We arrive at Smitty’s BBQ and get in what appears to be the lunch line. I’m a bit puzzled, because we’re standing outside of the main room, next to the smokers, and instead of a menu, the signs on the wall just list the prices of the meats per pound.
“I think this is the To-Go line. I think we’re supposed to go inside to that other counter,” I say, pointing to that other counter I can see through the door. No, Jay points out that everybody is getting their meats here. And sure enough, everybody is going up to the smoker attendants and ordering a pound of this and a half pound of that, and having their meats presented to them on a big square of butcher paper which they then fold up and carry into the main room.
So I order a half pound of “lean” and one link of sausage, I pay the smoker, and then I make a hobo bag out of my butcher paper parcel and go inside, where there is another counter where you can buy stuff like pickles and iced tea. I buy some pickles and an iced tea. There is no sauce. There are no forks. We sit at a long picnic table, and today, next to us there is a mother with carnivorous babies alternately sucking on and spitting out meat pacifiers.
The sausage was pretty good, but I didn’t think the “lean” meat was very good or very lean. But the pickles totally kicked ass.
The New Ginger Man – Last year we mourned the impending demise of our traditional SXSW home base pub. The original location on 4th St. was going to be closing just days after the 2009 SXSW festival, having been forced out by douche bag condo developers, and a new Ginger Man location was being prepped just around the corner on Lavaca Street. Tradition dictates that we visit the Ginger Man to drink our initial beers and map out our festival strategy, so we visited the new location. On the plus side, it’s still got a bazillion beers on tap. And it still has friendly locals who will chat with you. But on the minus side, it now has an obnoxious kitchen P.A. system that every few minutes keeps blasting out things like, “SMITH, your order is ready, SMITH, your order is ready.” I’m not feeling the classic Ginger Man vibe here.
On to the shows… Night one was entirely devoted to the showcase at Stubb’s.
Visqueen – Really just caught the last song, and didn’t hear enough to form an opinion. Seemed like pretty straightforward pop/rock. I cannot in good conscience discourage you from patronizing this band, even if I don’t personally remember anything about them.
The Walkmen – I liked ‘em. Anthemic, passionate, grandiose rock goodness. (my pix)
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – Philly soul lives! If you see only one throwback band this year, I heartily recommend you see Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings instead of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. (my pix)
Broken Bells – An early must-see I can cross of my list! Okay, so go listen to the music at their Myspace page, crank up the volume and turn off your lights. That was the concert experience. They played mostly without lighting, and they didn’t noticeably deviate from the recording. I do like the recording, and the volume is much better than I can do with my home stereo, so I did enjoy this performance. But it ain’t a contender for Best of the Fest by any means. (my pix)
Spoon – This is a band I love on record, but whenever I have seen them live they have usually disappointed. Maybe because most of their recordings are minimalist masterpieces, it’s harder to “nail it” live, and so they overcompensate with gratuitous delay effects and other gimmicky crap. I dunno. But THIS! This performance! This was good stuff! I didn’t leave this performance disappointed! This wins the coveted “Didn’t Disappoint Me As Much As Usual” award. (my pix)
At approximately 10:30 AM, while heading south on the 900 block of Red River St. toward the Convention Center to see Smokey Robinson deliver the 2010 SXSW keynote address, we witnessed one Caucasian male, between 30 and 45 years of age, pleasuring himself right out there on the street in front of the cops and God and everybody. He wasn’t exposed, per se; he was just making exaggerated hand gestures within his shorts that implied there might be some masturbation going on.
We had to walk by this fellow. Now, I’m a trouper. As much as I may personally dislike people jacking off on the sidewalks, that guy is probably a taxpayer too. I’m not dragging along any kids behind me or anything, so I am prepared to pass by without incident and let somebody else with a valid reason do the complaining. Besides, as we have been approaching, his jacking has slowed. Maybe he’s losing his erection. No need to make a mountain out of a molehill.
But as I pass, I just have to look that crazy bastard in the eye. Is it a primitive male dominance thing? Maybe. But I can’t let this guy think he’s jacked me into intimidation. I look him straight in the eye as I pass. And he looks at me. And I see in my peripheral vision that he has now resumed jacking at his original furious pace. I look straight ahead and keep walking. Dammit, okay you win this time, Jack.
Pre-Smokey Robinson keynote – The legendary Alex Chilton , who’s band “Big Star” was scheduled to play Saturday night, kinda just died on Wednesday. Me, I now potentially have an open slot on Saturday night.
FORESHADOWING, or, slap in the face had I been paying closer attention: SXSW “Express” passes are available in limited numbers on a daily basis. All of us shmucks who spent hundreds of dollars on badges could stand in another early morning line at the convention center to get one “Express” pass per day, which would allow us to jump ahead of other badge holders in line at the venue of our choice.
Smokey Robinson – I respect and appreciate his legacy, even if his music is not necessarily 1st or 2nd or 99th on my personal playlist, but Smokey Robinson is a great interviewee and storyteller. He even makes me wanna visit Detroit some day.
Grammatics @ British Music Embassy – This is the first of many unexpected surprise discoveries on this trip. Can’t really see them very well here as the venue is packed (free food free beer) but I definitely feel the vibe. They are loud and tight and energetic and they touch my musical soul. I will seek them out again, oh yes I will. They’re a contender for the coveted “Best of the Fest” award. (my pix)
Mini Mansions @ Annie’s – Holy crap, nearly passed them by unnoticed! We were headed for Little Woodrow’s to kill some midday time but we got there before Little Woodrow’s was open. Dammit! Oh well, let’s keep walking westward until Woodrow’s opens. Then we passed by Annie’s, and this band was in there, playing to an audience of less than a handful. Not sure what caught my attention, maybe it was the fact that it was a 3-piece making a noise much larger than 3 people. The drummer was working a minimalist kit masterfully (snare, tom, cymbal, tambourine, andthatsaboutit); the bass guitarist was also working the usual guitar parts, the vocals and harmonies were tight and put me in the mind of such late 60s stalwarts as The Turtles… and then they went and did an awesome grungy cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” I was sold. Also, I’m sure there is a better word than “grungy,” but I am tired. I’m sorry. They’re a contender for the coveted “Best of the Fest” award. (my pix)
Little Woodrow’s – Finally opened. We drank a lot of beer. A LOT of beer.
Amaral @ Spain Tent – Was okay. Was pleasantly surprised to see people in the audience singing along to the songs. Apparently Amaral is kind of a big deal in Spain. (my pix)
Ray Davies @ La Zona Rosa is tonight’s “must see.” Sorta like with Smokey, it’s more about seeing a music legend before he is dead. We get to La Zona Rosa early and see a little bit of The 88, which was okay, but they didn’t blow us away. Then Ray Davies came out and played a bunch of acoustic stuff. We weren’t much on acoustic stuff, and we now had seen him alive, so we left. (my pix)
The Cave Singers @ Club de Ville – This is how The Waterboys would have sounded if they hadn’t been so hung up on that Irish shtick. They’re a contender for the coveted “Best of the Fest” award. (my pix)
The weather forecast says that there will be rain and near-freezing temps on Saturday. WTF? After brunch, we must go to the nearest Academy Sports & Outdoors store and stock up on Navy Seal gear. It’s not so cold today, though, so we just don our hoodies and head out.
Brunch at Threadgill’s. Jay has chicken fried steak. I have a 5-veggie plate (2/5ths of my veggies have meat in them, just so you know). The food is excellent, and the service is attentive. The waiter repeatedly sneaks up from behind and appears from out of nowhere to refill our iced tea glasses, filling us with a conflicting sense of awe and unease.
Academy Sports & Outdoors – We buy frog costumes.
Back to the hotel – Next we’re going to head out to the Village Voice day party at La Zona Rosa where we can see The xx, Surfer Blood, and Superchunk, allowing us to scratch a bunch of acts off of our nighttime lists.
But then Jay discovers that his hoodie is missing. It was last seen at Threadgill’s. We go back to Threadgill’s, and I wait in the car while Jay goes inside.
The waiter denies ever having seen the hoodie. Or Jay. He then throws down a smoke bomb and disappears. Jay returns to the car crestfallen and hoodless.
“Waaah waaaaah hoodie waaaaaah,” he says, snot bubbles popping from his nose.
“There there,” I say, patting him on his head and giving him a biscuit. “There will be other hoodies. Sometimes, if you truly love a hoodie, you just have to let it go.”
Freakin huge line at La Zona Rosa -- no Village Voice party for us
Nexcyx @ Barbados Talent Show Day Party – Mostly impressive rock/soul kinda thing. I say mostly because I heard backup singers when there were no backup singers visible on the stage, and that always makes me suspicious.
Fangs @ British Music Embassy – I remember being put in the mind of 80s new wave and Elastica. (my pix)
Spindrift @ Red Eyed Fly – Another contender for the coveted “Best of the Fest” award! This was like, spaghetti western music fused with psychedelic jams and tribal chants. I bought all the CDs they had to sell at the show and we listened to one of them on the drive back home, and I honestly don’t know yet if the recorded music will hold up to repeated plays on the iDevice of choice, but the live show was certainly spellbinding and highly recommended. (my pix)
Mini Mansions @ Red Eyed Fly – Holy crap I still really like them! They’re still a contender for the coveted “Best of the Fest” award. (my pix)
Metric @ Stubb’s - COCKBLOCKED BY MUSE! Dammit! This was my one true “must-see” show for the festival, and MUSE had to go and fill in an open “special guest” slot at Stubb’s, and because they couldn’t keep it secret all these MUSE fans flocked to Stubb’s and prevented me from being able to get in and see Metric. I freakin' hate Muse. And worse, I see people cutting the line with these “Express” passes which were mentioned before the Smokey Robinson keynote but I ignored because I didn’t understand at the time. Dammit!!1!
Scars on 45 @ Maggie Mae’s – Hmph. So, since I can’t see Metric I will scope out my alternates. Scars on 45 is okay. They’ve got a great name, and they’re kind of like a British Toad the Wet Sprocket with a female co-vocalist. (my pix)
Dan Black @ Emo’s – Caught the end of this set, and it was pretty impressive. DJ with guitarist and whatnot. He was rockin’ the Emo’s house, yo. (my pix)
Twin Tigers @ Emo’s Annex – I don’t remember anything about this show. I am sorry, Twin Tigers. (my pix)
Solid Gold @ Club de Ville – Ditto Solid Gold. They mighta been great but I am old and it was late. Their Myspace stuff sounds pretty good, though.
The rain moved out early, but the cold remained. Jay and I don our frog suits and head to the Convention Center to get our stupid “Express” passes for the Alex Chilton/Big Star “tribute” show scheduled for tonight at Antone’s. Fortunately, because we crapped out kinda early on Friday, we are there before the rush on Saturday. The Antone’s pass *is* the hot ticket, according to the workers at the convention center.
And even if we crap out before the Alex Chilton tribute, we kinda feel like we are still “stickin it to the man” by taking two of these scummy passes out of commission.
Lynhurst @ The Bayou – Kinda like a mix of Spoon and Hilary Duff. (my pix)
Broadcast 2000 @ British Music Embassy – Surprisingly cool glockenspiel rock. (my pix)
Aussie BBQ @ Maggie Mae's – Good bands but I didn’t learn who they were. I’m sorry, mates. If you recognize yourselves in the photos, send an eShrimp to my iBarbie and I will correct the captions. (my pix)
Athlete @ Cedar St Courtyard – Apparently this was the stripped-down acoustic version of the band. Eh, it seemed pretty good to me.
HOLY CRAP!!1! What is this? The building that used to be the GINGER MAN PUB is STILL STANDING!? We were told it was going to be demolished a year ago! WTF? WTF? WTF?
It is now “The Ghost Room”. Supposedly the douche bag condo developers backed out at the last minute (apparently the real estate market hasn’t been so great lately), so the owners of the Ginger Man renewed the lease on this old building even after they opened their new place around the corner. Now this place has been largely gutted and refurbished into a music venue. Cool!
Red Room Cinema @ Ghost Room – This is how Mogwai would sound if they wrote music for the Weather Channel. (my pix)
Exene Cervenka @ The Ginger Man – WTF? Exene Cervenka at the Ginger Man?
Boxer Rebellion @ Cedar St. Courtyard – I don’t remember them. I think Jay had a snarky comment though. I’m hoping he will leave it in the comments. (my pix)
Frightened Rabbit @ Cedar St. Courtyard – This is one of Jay’s picks for “Best of the Fest.” I might have been either too distracted or too exhausted, but I wasn’t moved to such a declaration myself. (my pix)
Guadalupe Plata @ Sheraton – They made a joyful noise in our hotel lobby. (my pix)
Grammatics @ The Phoenix – This pretty well clinches it for me… I like this band a lot. I don’t care if the guy is wearing a dress. (my pix)
Free Energy @ Cedar St. Courtyard – I’m likin’ the power-pop! (my pix)
Kam Franklin @ Prague – First off, SORRY KAM that I didn’t stay for more than one song, but my associate and I were on a pretty tight schedule and there was a blizzard in Austin that night. The song I heard was pretty sweet though.
MyNameisJohnMichael @ Maggie Mae's – Oooh! Oooh! This is kinda tickling my Clem Snide / Weakerthans funnybone. It’s a healthy 80% of Americana with 20% freakout noise.
Jessica Simpson's dog snatched by coyote
Let's see, that's about an 8 lb. dog, right? Genetic hybrid of breeds chosen to emphasize "cuteness" at the expense of other more beneficial survival traits? Probably spent most of its life being carried around in a designer tote almost as expensive as the dog itself?
"Snatched" by a coyote.
"Uh, yeah, I think I may have seen your dog downtown yesterday. Her head was shaved, and she was handing out pro-coyote pamphlets."
Saturday morning, leaving the hotel room and headed for the elevators.
"Do people still say 'badonkadonk?'"
"Like, 'badonkadonk butt?'"
"I don't know."
We get in the elevator, and another couple of guys hurry in behind us. They slap hands and fistbump each other. One is wearing sunglasses.
"Whew," he says, "we made it to the end, didn't we? Man I am exhausted! I had a Candian festival all last week and then came straight to this. And man, can you believe these Texas women?"
Yeah, hoowee, you said it, right on.
He continues, "And they're everywhere, and they're so f*cking HOT!"
Yup, we agree. He continues.
"And they just come right up to you and literally throw themselves at you! Seriously, they just come right up to you and say, 'f*ck me.'"
Yeah, tell me about it.
He looks at me and says, "Hey, you look like a reader, have a bookmark. Here's one for you too, you both look like readers."
Thanks. We're at the lobby, and he and his friend say goodbye and hurry out ahead of us.
We look at our bookmarks.
"Do people still say 'douchenozzle?'"
Another year, and another successful SXSW fest under my expanding belt. Once again, my friend Jay and I purchased all-access badges that made us look indistinguishable from music industry bigwigs. We mingled with celebrities, or at least near them. We were lavished with luxurious "swag bags" full of swanky promotional items, including FREE CONDOMS, which is nice because now I can throw out the ones from last year's festival. We drank FREE SANGRIA and ate FREE ENERGY BARS. We chewed FREE GUM. We plugged our ears with FREE EARPLUGS. It was awesome.
On to the obligatory recap:
Hilary York @ The Ginger Man - We traditionally start our festival each year with a trip to the Ginger Man. Last year we learned that the pub was going to be demolished soon to make way for condos, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that it hadn't happened yet. In fact, the pub would be closing after THIS weekend, and reopening in another building less than a block away some time next week. Now, in all honesty, we didn't *intend* to see Hilary York at this time and place, it was just the gentle Hand of God making it so. Hilary used to work at this pub as a bartender circa 2001 when Jay and I were first setting the tradition, and in subsequent years she would remember us and greet us warmly, and in even more subsequent years she would be playing a set somewhere and we would make a point to go see her. This time around I had her on my list, but it was an early show on Wednesday that we had already missed, as we were still in Houston eating lunch at that time. So it was a very nice surprise to find that she was just starting a set on the Ginger Man patio as we arrived. How bout that gentle Hand of God, eh? (my pix)
Ladyhawke @ Stubbs - Hmm. I'm hearing a lot of 80s synthesizers here. I guess maybe it's cooler if you didn't live through it during the actual 80s. (my pix)
Heartless Bastards @ Stubbs - Holly Hunter infused with equal parts spirits of Melissa Etheridge and Patti Smith. (my pix)
Avett Brothers @ Stubbs - I kinda liked them. Kinda country, kinda punk. Kinda like an Appalachian Pogues. (my pix)
The Decemberists @ Stubbs - I'm a late fan of the Decemberists. Basically I "discovered" them with their last album, The Crane Wife, which I loved, suffice it to say. And I saw them on the Austin City Limits tv show so I knew that they could put on a great live performance. And I had heard that they were going to be performing their not-yet-released new album, nay, ROCK OPERA, in its entirety at this performance. So I designated this as my one pre-determined "must-see" performance of this year's festival. Did it live up to my expectations? Eh... okay, so technically it was an excellent performance, but it was all unfamiliar material to me, and only once or twice did I find myself really getting into the zone. The band didn't really interact with the audience, probably because they were performing a long-form work of art as opposed to a set list. The new vocalists seemed to be having fun. The blonde girl reminded me of a young, idealistic Hillary Clinton circa the flower-power era, you know, before Bill got his paws all over her. (my pix)
Dananananaykroyd @ Dirty Dog Bar - This band wasn't on my radar until a friend o' mine mentioned that this was a band she was going to try to see. Said friend was in town for the Wed-Thu portion of SXSW, and though many text messages were pingponged, we didn't actually manage to meet up. BUT! It did result in me seeing this band, which was playing an early day show to a mostly empty venue. And they were frenetic and fun and bouncy, and they have a really cute bassist. They have a couple of vocalists and a couple of drummers, and they have a really cute bassist. And band members leave the stage and jam with the fans, and hug the fans. And they have a really cute bassist. They put on such a good performance to such a small crowd, they were already a contender for the coveted Jim Porter "Best of the Fest" award before we even had a chance to see them work a real crowd at an official showcase, which we vowed we would do on Friday. (my pix)
Music of Spain @ Brush Square park - Okay, so last year we went to this Spanish music day party and discovered a contender for last year's "Best of the Fest" award, a band called We Are Standard. This year? Well, there was still the FREE SANGRIA. And Jay was doing pretty well for himself chatting up a cute girl there too, until her mother showed up. Her mom was pretty cool, though. (my pix)
Airborne Toxic Event @ Bat Bar, Convention Center - I really want to like this band. In fact, I think I "iLiked" them on Facebook recently. I'll have to undo that. They've got the "passion" part down. Jay said, "Ah, it's The Killers." I was leaning more towards Arcade Fire. I don't mind influences occasionally bleeding through into imitation, but the lyrics really pushed me too far. "We were only seventeen, We were holding back our screams," and "I was only twenty one, I wasn't having any fun." God dammit these cliches are coming to fast. Let's get out of here and go see the Meat Puppets and Gomez at Stubbs. (no pix, thanks to anti-camera nazis out in force)
Meat Puppets @ Stubbs - I admit I was never into the Meat Puppets. I was familiar with the name and I know they hold a place of honor in the history of punk or thrash or one of those other genres that never got played on the radio. So I figured I'd go pay my respects, and go with an open mind, and at the very least I'd be there early for Gomez, a band I *do* know and like that was slated to go on next. Stubbs wasn't full, but there was enough of a crowd that we were back far enough, and if there was a Sphere of Influence I don't think it reached back as far as we were. Plus, to me they seemed rather *tame* for a hardcore punk band. Maybe it's because they're older than me, I dunno. Jay indicated that the Meat Puppets weren't doing anything for him either, so we consulted the schedule and considered our options. We could stick it out here and see Gomez, but, ya know, I've seen them before, and they do kinda seem to be trending toward Dave Matthews territory in recent years. OR! HEY! There's the Sam Roberts Band playing a gig over yonder (another band that I want to see that *isn't* trending toward Dave Matthews territory), and that would still leave us equidistant to this venue where Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip is playing later (an act that Jay wants to see). So, we bail. (my pix)
Sam Roberts Band @ Cedar Street Courtyard - Okay, this is possibly the worst venue for official SXSW showcases. It's a courtyard wedged between two buildings. It fills up quickly. The stage isn't exactly elevated. And Sam Roberts is, well, kinda short. We did manage to work our way into one of the side buildings and find a fishbowl window view to the side of the stage, and it looked like he was putting on a pretty good show, but the sound wasn't very good from where we were. I enjoyed it, but I don't think Jay got a very good introductory Sam Roberts Band experience. (no pix. I have some, but they're all crap)
Ebony Bones @ Aces Lounge - We have now arrived at the venue where Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip is scheduled to play at 11pm. It's about 10:30pm. It appears that this showcase is running behind schedule, as the 9pm band, Vivian Girls, just finished up as we arrived. We take advantage of the fan turnover to situate ourselves in a primo front-row balcony spot. Who's on next? What boring act do we have to wait through before we get to see Scroobius Pip? The schedule says Ebony Bones. Never heard of them. The band is taking the stage now...
Huh. This is interesting...
What are those, Oompa Loompas?
Holy crap, this is awesome! So it's like, start with Diana Ross and the Supremes, but replace the Supremes with hyperkinetic Oompa Loompas, and infuse it with P-Funk mothership weirdness. This performance wins the coveted Jim Porter "Best of the Fest" award for 2009. And I'm pretty sure it also won the not-unrespectable Jay Lyall "Best of the Fest" award too. I know we both remarked about these strange new feelings of attraction we were feeling for Oompa Loompas. Later Googling would reveal that they were playing another show tomorrow, so that would be marked as a last-minute must-see. (more pix)
Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip @ Aces Lounge - WTF? He cancelled? What happened? Who's this "Rye Rye" act? We leave, hoping to catch Easy Star All Stars playing next door.
Kraak & Smaak @ Vice - Well this was a pretty neat little DJ / live band combo thingy. I can't really remember much about them, but that might be because all the thumping bass was shaking up my colon and I realized I probably oughta go back to the hotel and poop pretty quick. Easy Star All Stars, I'm sorry. (my pix)
Idle Warship @ Cedar Street Courtyard - Woohoo! Another waycool accidental discovery. Just happened to be passing by the Cedar Street Courtyard at the right time. (my pix)
Gomez @ La Zona Rosa - I got to see part of their set at the Village Voice day party. Pretty damn good, and not too Dave Matthewsy after all! (my pix)
We Were Promised Jetpacks @ La Zona Rosa - Settling in for a showcase of Scottish bands at La Zona Rosa. This was a good, impassioned performance by a band that seemed to be awed by the fact that they were playing to a large crowd at a SXSW showcase. They got some charm and some chops. I'll keep my eyes open for them in the future. (my pix)
Dananananaykroyd @ La Zona Rosa - Woowoo! They can work a big crowd too. This might've been the Best of the Fest, if not for those meddling Ebony Bones kids.
Bedouin Soundclash @ Cedar Street Courtyard - Might've been pretty good, but damned if they weren't in that damned cramped Cedar Street Courtyard. Dammit. (my pix)
DEVO @ Austin Music Hall - Tried to go see them, but the showcase was running late, so we opted to bail and take our chances elsewhere. (my pix)
BM Linx @ Vice - They look like Foghat. I initially thought they sounded pretty classic rockish, but after listening to the Myspace streaming, I may have just been projecting. But they were pretty damned good. And seriously, in a cage match, I think they'd kick Foghat's ass. (my pix)
The Willowz @ The Parish Downstairs - I saw em' a couple of years ago and liked them, so I figured I'd check in and make sure they're still doing okay. They are. Oh and they have a cute bass player too. The rest of the band kinda looks like Foghat though. (my pix)
Sam Roberts Band @ El Sol y La Luna - Ah! Now I've got a front-row spot at a good venue! And this was a definite contender for Best of the Fest. The only thing he was missing was an Oompa Loompa or two. (my pix)
Ebony Bones @ Peckerheads - This was a day party for Rolling Stone magazine. Another excellent performance, although it was plagued by bad sound problems. Fortunately there was still plenty of frenetic Oompa Loompa goodness!
Quote of the Fest from Jay: "I think the Oompa Loompa with the purple hair is the one I'd most like to doompity-do."
Zillionaire @ Ginger Man - Okay, we're back at the G-man for our final beers before they close it down. I don't remember anything about the band, as I was too distraught. I did mange to get my picture taken with other heartbroken patrons though, mostly because I was wearing the right shirt at the right time.
Farewell, sweet, sweet pub. And here's hoping the new location gets a cool vibe quickly.
The Whip @ La Zona Rosa - Jay's got a "must-see" performance, The Crystal Method, at La Zona Rosa later tonight, and because our legs are now battered and bruised from the week, we decide we'll pretty much just camp out at La Zona Rosa for the entire showcase. Jay also says The Whip is a pretty cool band. And now, I concur. This was a DJ / band, dance music thing. Very tight, very energetic performance. I'm not a dancer, but I was bobbing. And the band has a cute drummer. (my pix)
Dieselboy @ La Zona Rosa - Just a DJ. (my pix)
Kaskade @ La Zona Rosa - Just another DJ. (my pix)
The Crystal Method @ La Zona Rosa - Two more DJs. But hey at least I like they stuff they're twiddling a little more. Okay, don't get me wrong, I realize that it's an art and a skill and all, but for me it doesn't really make for a visually compelling performance. Did I mention I don't dance? (my pix)
Ra Ra Riot @ The Parish - I really like 50% of their new album a lot. And the other 50% sounds like bad 80s synth rock. So I went to this performance for the first 50%, and was not at all disappointed. Plus, they have cute girls playing stringed instruments. (my pix)
Bobby Bare Jr. @ Maggie Mae's Gibson Room - Only caught the last song on my way back to the hotel after technically already having called it a night. But the last song was an acoustic cover of the Pixies "Where Is My Mind" so it's definitely worth mentioning. (my pix)