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« SXSW 2015: Day 3 Tour Diary from In Tall Buildings Preview: Benjamin Booker @ Cabaret Metro 3/28/15 »

sxsw2015 Sat Mar 21 2015

SXSW 2015: Day 4 Tour Diary from The Waco Brothers

Chicago at SXSW 2015

In our fourth SXSW Tour Diary update from The Waco Brothers, guitarist Deano talks Bloodshot celebrations and SX traditions (of which he is a part of both.)

I'm just tryin' to get me some SLEEP! But my neighbors, apparently feeling the SX vibe, decide to crank Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)". Not only is this a crap song but it's of a creepy genre. Why people ever wanted to hear the "I look back fondly on finally convincing a girl to let me lose my virginity" song is beyond me. But I digress....

March weather in Austin is reliably about as picture perfect as can be. When you overhear someone yelling, "I'm TOTALLY moving here!" into their cellphone, it's always in March, never in the midst of 60 straight days of triple digit temperatures. Coming here from Chicago at the end of a long winter was always a treat. In 20 years, I can remember only one SX with cold (by Austin standards) weather. It was 2000. Here's footage of a younger, sexier Waco Brothers playing at Scholtz Beer Garden that year. Note that I am wearing a jean jacket. You cannot find any other year where outerwear in use at SX! Note that Alan is still stripped down to a wifebeater. Because he is Alan.



But yesterday, the rains came. This is bad news for the day parties. If you do not have some corporate entity handing you a big check, that is. These parties cost tens of thousands of dollars to put on. If no one's there to buy beer, there's nothing to offset the cost of renting tents, stages, PA equipment, etc. Most of the little guys who do this, like Yard Dog, lose a little money each year but consider it a worthwhile investment in raising their business' profile. Yesterday, that advertising just got a lot more expensive.

The Wacos begin a slow day (only two sets to play) at Cheers Shot Bar. Cheers is in the heart of "Dirty 6th" — the section of 6th Street that is Austin's version of Bourbon or Beale. When SX is not happening, these bars are home to horrible cover bands, clueless tourists and twenty-somethings who think they really know how to "party." But these bars get sucked into the SX vortex like all of the rest. And last year, we had an unexpectedly fantastic evening gig at Cheers. Let's just say there was a smoke machine and some jello shots were involved. So we jumped at the chance to return. The cherry on top was that this was a rare paid gig.

Wacosposter.jpg

The photo on this poster comes from that magical evening.



But this year the show was at 2:15. In the afternoon. And it was pissing down rain. I think there were about 20 people there, including the band that was playing after us. What to do? Risk electrocution and play our asses off seemed the obvious answer. As staff ran around covering things with tarps, we played a surprisingly good sounding set. The tiny audience huddled under the few small tents. There were rain jokes. There was rain dancing. We all left damp, happy and with a little margarita money in pocket.

Cheersrain.jpg

Here's our legion of followers, braving the rain at Cheers Shot Bar.



Most of the band hops in Hunter's Volvo station wagon to get the hell away from 6th Street. Jon and I, along with our archivist Jennifer LaSuprema, get in a Car2Go car share. Jenn has to ride in the back of the smart car. I pat myself on the back for my sneaky route, avoiding the parking lot that most of downtown Austin has become. But Hunter is a long time Austinite, me a relative newcomer, and the boys beat us to our office at Guero's Taco Bar. They already have drinks in their hands when I walk in. Hunter- 1, Deano- 0.

We're gearing up to play the Bloodshot Records 20th Anniversary Party at Yard Dog Gallery. We're all pretty sure that this is the longest running day party in the history of SXSW. The Wacos have played all but one year. What the hell were we thinking that year? Not to toot our own horns, but our set (which closes the party each year) is a must on many long time SX attendees' lists. These sets range anywhere from tight and professional to complete train wrecks. Experienced fans of these shows seem to prefer the latter.

But we haven't had enough time between gigs for this one to go totally off the rails. As always though, it has its moments. As we're setting up, Tracey hands Joe a bottle of Vitamin Water and neglects to tell him that it's filled with tequila. Joe takes what he thinks is going to be a big, refreshing gulp and has to fight to keep it down! Later in the set, he seems to lose his balance for some reason. Hmmm....

After another rip roaring set and as another Bloodshot party comes to a close, we can't help but look back in pride and astonishment. Bloodshot co-owner Rob Miller hands me a bottle, I take a swig and we just sort of shake our heads after the exchange of "Happy 20th!" cheers. Mission accomplished.

Yarddog.jpg

Is our Yard Dog audience ascending to heaven?

- Deano

~*~

Catch The Waco Brothers at SXSW:
March 18: Bloodshot 2015 SXSW Showcase @ Continental Club (8pm)

March 18: Continental Club, (1am)

March 19: Twangfest @ Broken Spoke (Noon)

March 20: Bloodshot SXSW Day Party @ Yard Dog Art Gallery (Noon)

March 20: South by Sapporo Party @ Cheers Shot Bar (2:45pm)

March 22: @ Carousel Lounge (8:30pm)

 
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