We grabbed dinner in the little mini-Chinatown part of Austin at a place called TC Noodle House. It was good, but had some weird dishes.
Then we made our way downtown to the Chuggin Monkey to get in early enough for a spot to see AutoVaughn. Like most Austin bars, Chuggin Monkey is a long narrow corridor that’s about the width of an alleyway…with one side as the bar and a loft-style “deck” on top and the other side open for people to pass through. You could say it’s an ‘intimate’ setting, but only because it’s so crowded you’re basically dancing/feeling on any and every person that strolls through.
Darren Edwards owned the tiny stage like a Woodstock-era rocker, with his flannel pearl-snap and red corduroy pants. The crowd that had gathered were not ready. They had no idea what to expect from this band. But thanks to my Nashville connection, I was a little more privy than others. These guys were legit…from their sound, to their look, to their talent, to the guitar-thrashing after the performance.
They played music from their new EP and finished up with their classic “Hell of a Place.” It was ridiculous! They jammed out so hard and long (that’s what she said) they blew the circuit breaker! Stephen Wilson absolutely shredded it on his solo, leaving you satisfied but still wanting more.
The crowd started booing at CM’s lackadaisical response in getting the issue fixed…the masses wanted more! Not an abrupt cessation to Stephen’s solo! I thought maybe they’d ‘pulled the plug’ on them because they’d gone over their time-slot. They’d been playing this song for probably 15 minutes! haha Amazing. So fun to see a band garner new, non-local fans.
They’re a signed band. They tour. But have you heard of them? Probably not. That’s what makes SXSW so special and sooo sweet! During the final song, the girls in front of me recognized I was singing along and were excited to think I knew the band. Not because they wanted to meet them, but because one of their Nashville friends knew the guys too! So they introduced me to her…a girl who I thought misunderstood me when I asked her her name. The band was playing so loud, I thought she said “Indiana Jane…playing at Fairmont tomorrow…after 11!” Okay, so she told me her band’s name. Sweet! It was too loud to try to get more info from her so I figured I’d just look it up. (We later figured out it was The Belmont!)
Know what’s not so sweet? Getting too late to the next venue and seeing this:
The wait was retarded long at The Mohawk. We waited like kindergarteners in line at the water fountain…patiently and orderly. Except not. One by one people were bailing from the line as the starting time for Miike Snow crept up quicker and quicker. I was hopeful! Then a large-pupilled girl with credentials let us know that we probably weren’t going to be able to get in if we wanted to try to find another venue instead. What. Huh. Noo! Miike Snow was the main reason I’d actually decided to go to SXSW this year! And I wasn’t going to be able to see him?! Boo. Boo to the nth degree! Times a zillion. (The Mohawk had three of the top 13 SXSW parties!)
So we left and went toward the west side of 6th street. We walked up to The Belmont and it was bumpin! We stepped in to try to see Saturday night’s lineup and found that it was a free Red Bull sponsored event.
Red Bull was having a producer battle event called Big Tune. Brad and I, being the white East-Texas boys we are, had no clue what was going on. It just looked like guys were playing a CD and dancing to it and the crowd was going wild.
We later kinda guessed that they’d produced the beats beforehand and were battling the other producer with their pre-packaged music. It was fun! Up on the rooftop, surrounded by west coast people, east coast people, and everyone in between, Brad and I blended in like we were supposed to be there. If only we could’ve had our go-to drink: Red Bull margaritas!
We didn’t complain though. Somehow this night trumped the night before. We’d had a blast. This weekend was getting awesome and we didn’t even realize it was about to get awesomer.