Austin’s downtown took a weird beating on Thursday. Not only was it the second day of SXSW, but it was also St. Patrick’s Day, which left the sidewalks covered in PBR cans and green beer vomit.
After mooching Budweiser from the Fader Fort, I wandered over to the Scoot Inn just in time to catch Sacramento’s hardcore kings, Trash Talk. This was an unofficial, free, east Austin show. The crowd was actually very similar to what the audience would be like when the band is out on tour: a lot of long beards, ripped black shirts and tattoos. The sun’s midday rays didn’t come close to preventing violent, thrashing mosh pits. Singer Lee Spielman made sure to introduce the audience to the guitarist, one of his friends who recently had to step in for the band after the last one was allegedly stabbed. No further explanation was offered by Spielman nor was it requested from the audience. “Fuck Nazis,” he simply said before breaking into the band’s next grinding song and jumping into the audience to join the fray.
I later found myself at Lambert’s in the western part of Austin. Over there, it was harder to tell the drunk festival goers from the drunk St. Patrick’s Day yuppies. Death On Two Wheels, a southern, twang-rock band from Georgia, took the stage at Lambert’s to a wildly enthusiastic, full room. Though I had never heard of the group, it was obvious that the rest of the crowd members were well acquainted as a good number of them sang along with the songs. The group’s tight performance showed that it is no stranger to the live-show circuit.
Later in the night, I found myself again at Club De Ville, this time for the Black Lips and Dom. It was a badge-only show with a 20-dollar cover for those who came to the festival without, which didn’t stop at least half of the attendees from being cover-payers. “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” one of the Black Lips’ guitarists yelled, “except for our penises!” He then ran over and started making out with the other guitarist. According to the guy next to me, this happens at a lot of the band’s shows. The group’s antics and infectious garage-rock sound quickly won over the curious badge-carriers. Black Lips wrapped up around 12:30 a.m. to great praise from the inebriated masses. Sadly, many in the crowd called it quits at that point, leaving Dom to play to a much tamer and more intimate cluster of people. The group powered through a 40-plus-minute, catchy, hook-driven set. Many from outside tried, and failed, to scale down the rock walls that surround Club De Ville. Apparently the cover was too much for a lot of the group’s fans.