If you were in the crowd that night, this is what you looked like to us. Or, more specifically, to Thad.
Wednesday, March 17-18, 2004
SXSW 2004: Part Three
Austin, TX

We showed up at 6:00, a few hours before we were supposed to perform. After the easiest load in that we've ever done lives we began to feel generally nervous, the way we usually do when we haven't played in front of people in a while. The Hydra Head dudes dispersed and everyone else pretty much left us alone. Knowing no one and nothing about the conference, we sheepishly scouted out two terrible slices of pizza and got some caffeine (coffee for Thad, over-honeyed tea for Justin) (because he was going do most of the signing, that's why). Pelican, who had graciously offered to lend us their amps, screeched into town after a difficult trip down and we sorted out the gear situation. After that, things began to move very fast and didn't really stop until the two of us were standing on stage, mostly together and ready to begin playing.

So we did what we do: played three songs amid confusion. Some of you weren't there, so we'll sum it up in a few sentences. We were rough, due primarily to tech glitches and secondarily to our own damn selves. There were a bunch of folks there, and some of them really liked it. We had a good time. It didn't sound the way we would have liked.

30 minutes later and we were done. This is strange - we were immediately rushed by three or four guys who were gesticulating towards me. "How nice," thought Justin, "they want to talk about the just-completed performance." We moved over to them.

"Hey, man! Where did you guys get your guitars?"

What? We could have been playing Air Supply covers for all these fellas cared. They wanted to talk about our equipment. He ended that conversation quickly. The rest of the feedback we received from those who gave it was more positive. After a few minutes, we wandered out to the back and unsuccessfully tried to process the whole experience. After a bit, one of the guys from Pelican told us that we'd better get our merchandise out if we wanted to sell anything, as people had been asking for it. Right. We went back inside. The AP, for all our talk, is not able to fathom individuals actually inquiring about purchasing out merchandise. God bless them, though.

I'll reserve my comments about everyone else we played with for another time, but this needs to be said - the Bronx can whither and die. At one point the lead singer chucked an empty beer bottle towards the back of the club, really hard. Fortunately it hit a hanging banner or else it would have gone full force into the forehead of a bartender. You know what would be great? If they got on a bill with Courtney Love and sang GG Allin covers. Then everyone in the room could feel cool and dangerous.

Frankly, if you are in a band, and you think you are cool and dangerous, smash the beer bottle over your head. Why should you endanger the livelihood of some bartender who's just trying to do his job? And if you are that guy that chucked that beer bottle and you are thinking, "I didn't mean to hurt that bartender; I was putting on a show," start thinking about what you are doing in the future. Frankly, we talked to that bartender, and if he didn't beat you up that night, consider yourself lucky. He could have pulverized your skinny southern California behind and seemed to be looking forward to it.

(Note - by referencing the Bronx, we are talking about the band, not the noble and proud NYC Borough, a people we hold dear to our collective heart. Except for Roberto Ramirez. Jerk.)

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