SXSX Acoustic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Day 2. I woke up in my impossibly shitty hotel (Homestead Suites at 507 something… a mile from the goodness of SXSW) that was priced at $250 bucks (as compared to their normal $80-something). Front desk said (even though the dude who checked me in at 1am said I'd have till 1pm) said I needed to be out by noon… I was informed that the guy who checked me in didn't' even work at the hotel - well… how the fuck did he swipe my card then? Whatever… I was out.
Popped by the bus - found it essentially a grave yard… passed out pirates and socks lined the bunk halls. Fortunately, Rob and Joey were keen on a walk into town for some grub. Our mission today was simple: no friggon restaurants… only trucks. Trucks dammit!
We walked a little over a mile to get to Naan Stop, an Indian truck that came highly rated on all our internet sources. I was greeted by a very friendly woman working the window - I asked her what's the best - my prescription was the Parantha Roll with a mixture of Paneer and Chicken. What's funny about Naan Stop is that they don't have naan necessarily… but instead the parantha bread instead. It's like a burrito tortilla but made of naan-type material. My chicken and paneer was heavenly - it's like a home-made hand rolled taco… but with a burrito-sized home. The chicken and paneer (which I think is some sort of special cheese or cheese curd - somewhere between the texture of feta cheese and tofu) came in a (what I thought) was perfectly mild sauce. I guess it was really spicy judging by the mild-tear up by Rob and Joey from theirs. Really slamming.
Today was eating for sport day… we then immediately headed to Chi'lantro for some Korean/Mexican fusion. I went for the beef and pork bulgogi tacos. Bulgogi is the Korean marinade for their meats - great stuff. It came in the traditional Mexican-fashion of double-tortilla, tons of chopped cilantro. I went for the added kimchi on top (fermented cabbage in a spicy Korean sauce). These were some meaty-ass tacos for 6 bucks.
Immediately after that - we saw there was a Whole Foods mini-compound really close by. Rob and I are very much so into Kombuchas and homeopathic and holistic goodies; the 3 of us very much so into juices and such - so we popped in to see what the Whole Foods mini-world had to offer.
They had a charging station… fueled by solar panels… food truck, juice bar, quick snacks - they had it all. Whole Foods always seems to be on their game with offering rad things. I was stuffed to heck… and they didn't have any homebrew Kombucha - so I got a GT's Kombucha Trilogy and we were on our way to the Court Yard park for some radio promo with Stalker Radio.
We got a little lost, then were a little early - so we popped into Halcyon for some coffees. Halcyon is a cool local coffee place that prides itself on selling vices bad for you: coffee, booze, cigarettes - ha! I stuck with an iced coffee - we chatted, met up with Paolo and Corey, then were on our way for some promo. The interview with Stalker went fantastically - really quality questions; we were by the stage that the Kaiser Chiefs and Keane were about to play on… but had to head back to the hotel to rehearse for our acoustic performance coming up at JR's.
On our walk back, we passed Madeline Creamery and couldn't pass it up. My selection: Candied Bacon and Maple; Mango, Saffron and Pistachio. Insanely great. I love local, small-batch, home made ice cream - I am a sucker for it. Pistachio has recently become a major favorite of mine - this one had large hunks of the nut in it - the subtle saffron complimented… mango was something you noticed on the finish. Candied bacon and maple was something that would have went delightfully with bourbon.
Making our way back into the front lounge at our spot at that shot-ass Homestead, we rehearsed a batch of songs to see if they'd even work as acoustics. We had our normal 3 down: "Built," "Maiden," "Dying." But we tried out "In Waves," "Like Light To The Flies" and "Black." Obviously (if you went to the 3-song show) only the normal 3 worked out.
Next - I figured I'd grab an abbreviated yoga-session and a quick shower. It can't ever be that simple on the road though, can it? Kids ask… "what're the bad parts about touring?" Well here's one:
You walk into your shared hotel room/shower room/toilet room. You share it with your entire band and crew (10 people in this case) and there it is… smelling like a combination of moth-balls, distilled/pickled vinegar; there are body-waste-streaked towels strewn across the bed, counter, sinks, fridge, TV; there is garbage everywhere but the trash can - half drank beers, sodas, chips, rotting fast food… there is freshly caked facial hair clogging the sink - long hair smashed and stuck against the mirror… in the shower, there's freshly trimmed ball and ass hair lining the entire (already filthy) tub. More hair clumped on the walls. There are toiletries everywhere… and filth and stickiness and other grotesque nonsense.
I flip. I send a mass text (we communicate via mass text on tour) a really scathing threat to everyone who lives on our bus basically that if this happens again - Trivium won't be forking over the money for day room/shitter/shower rooms for ingrates. It was pretty vicious. Deservingly so in my opinion.
I clean the room up myself… do some yoga, shower, then prep to head back into town again.
We make plans to meet up at East Side King (a place recommended to me by a chef in Orlando, Tony Adams - who runs Big Wheel; and several of Rob's friends in town). Paolo, Joey and I luckily grab a cab and head to Liberty Bar (where East Side King resides in it's backyard). Liberty is a rad spot - hip kids fill the joint; it's away from the hustle and bustle of out-of-towners flooding the streets of the main drags of SXSW. However - this place is packed with the more-so locals.
We head into the back yard where one of the billions of indie-bands of SX is playing - and line up. The line doesn't move… 5… 7 minutes. Unyielding. We grab some Fire Eagle IPAs hoping to pass the time… then we notice stage time is creeping up - we have to pack up and call it a loss. We were bummed.
We luck out - there is a sister location only a minute walk away! We get to the Ruckle (?) location and line up… the kid opens the window "Uh… we're closed for 45 minutes or so." Defeated, we slunk away with lowered heads and collapsed shoulders.
The walk to JR's revealed tons of encampments of food trucks - some promising-looking, some dismal. Eventually after 3 or so of these clusters, we hit a decent looking batch. My cohorts (Joey, Justin, Paolo and Rob) all grab something from one spot… I stop at Love Balls (yes… Love Balls). Love Balls does Tako-Yaki - Japanese dough balls with bits of octopus inside, usually some bonito flakes on top, okonomi-sauce on top. These are very different from their Osakan-origins - they look the same… but are a little more grilled, a little less quick and efficient than the classic… but nevertheless, real good stuff. My 6 bucks gets me 6 tako-yaki balls; 4 bucks get me Yaki-Onigiri. Onigiri is a hand-made rice triangle… something mothers usually make their kids and pop in their lunch boxes. My mom would make this a lot when I was a kid.
The onigiri here didn't have any ume-boshi or salmon inside… but was grilled in garlic and laid on top of big nori - this was a delightful, simple little dish. It was just fried rice triangles with some soy and garlic, and it was really something fantastic. I think my buddies wish they got what I did.
Wandering to Jr's full and tired… we pass more and more people and music - the ears were starting to ring; the stomach starting to whimper in fullness.
I was pretty nervous when we showed up to JR's. I knew there'd be quite a few Trivium kids expecting full Trivium… not an acoustic 3/4's of Trivium. When we arrived, Turbo Geist was wailing away another high-energy set of aggressive/melodic punk. Man… I see why this is the "old" Emo's. It's a junk-pile if you're in a band. Our drum tech apparently had his dick grabbed by another patron at the urine-trough… he had to pin the dude against a wall with a fist cocked… only to have the dude try to grab it again, duck out and run off.
As we warmed up and changed and all - The Soldier Thread delivered a great acoustic set. TST is another 5B artist who, I've unfortunately never been able to see a full-band set of. I've only caught their acoustic set twice - but it is great. Female fronted… dancey/poppy Indie?
Since the only men's toilet had brown-liquid and teeth and beer bottles inside of it… I had to sneak into a nearby hotel to use their facilities. There's another shot-fact of touring life: the bathroom scene. People - don't take your office toilet for granted… most of the time we have to share a toilet with 50-pigs who have the urine-stream of a garden sprinkler. Sanitary, right?
The room was more packed than it was the whole day for our set. Granted - we only delivered 3 songs… but I was able to chat a lot more than the usual Trivium set to due the casual-nature of the acoustic performance. The friends that showed up were amazing - we had an amazing performance and were off sooner than we knew it.
More industry friends and band friends to catch up with… then we popped across the street to check out the Sumerian Showcase to see our new friends in Asking Alexandria.
Now - I know metal purists are iffy on them… hell - those same metal-purist pricks are iffy on us. AA delivered what was the most intense set I've ever seen them deliver. Danny was a lethal front man that night… delivering crushing screaming, brilliantly-punk-raw charged singing - he even had the crowd tear down the fences that encircled their stage. They did great.
My booking agent Tim forced some Jack shots down our throats… we had a buncha beers - then heard Skrillex was playing at JRs! We caught up with our buddies from Upon A Burning Body… then went to catch some Skrillex.
Right before them… I got to see the juggalo-tastic Doctor Doom? (I think it was them… something gangster rap with a white dude with a weird mo-hawk thing - he had a sick rap voice… but wow - not my cup of tea).
Hate on Skrillex all ya like kids… the dude deserves all the great things that are coming his way. He makes what he wants, the way he wants it… I heard he lived from floor to floor in between the time of From First To Last and Skrillex - and now? He's on top of the world. A mid-twenty-something kid with multiple grammies, selling out places all over the globe. I am damn proud of him. He is making great music for people to have good times. His set was pummeling-loud and a great time for all who were there.
It was time for food again. I got a second order of the Naan Stop chicken and parantha and we were on our way to some tent with Andrew WK playing.
Shiner Bocks were the best looking thing on the menu… and with em in hand, we saw the party-metal-kings take the stage. I've never been to an AWK show… and it was everything I ever heard and thought it would be: basically a nutty-ass party. People flying around, everyone pumping fists - just a party all around really.
He headed to Cheers to meet up with Sam from Asking and had our final drinks and then a walk back to the bus for a long sleep before the next show.
All in all… I ate… I drank… I watched bands… I bro'd down… success.