-March 20, 2005 -
Texass! March 17-19

Uh oh! Did someone say guest writer? Since I've spent the last 72+ hours with the Playboys, they asked me to handle their tour diary for the Austin shows here at SXSW. So now you're asking....who is this guy? It's Volumen^2...the man who brought you The Emergency Mustache Tour and Volumen Tour the Baltics 2003. This isn't about Volumen though I would like nothing better. This is about The International Playboys and their very special time in Austin. Note to readers: Volumensquared is in fact Bryan Hickey, brother of Monte Carlo.
St. Patty's Day
So on Thursday the boys and I headed to downtown Austin. It was the second official day of SXSW, although I had been seeing shows since Tuesday. Many amazing bands had already played including QOTSA, who I missed because I didn't want to stand in line for four hours. On this particular day, the Playboys had a show at La Cucaracha. It was one of many free all day events. There's something totally insane about listening to defening rock music and drinking beer before two in the afternoon. But there we were, Lone Star in hand, watching The Bible of the Devil. This was the second of fours straight days that the boys would play with these guys. They're like an extremely loud Iron Maiden minus the falsetto. The Playboys took  to the stage in the early evening to the biggest crowd of the day.  Ma and Pa Hickey even made it out. I think my mom was a little freaked out by the middle aged reporter with the joint behind his ear...eh whatta gonna do? After the show I was adamant about seeing Apollo Sunshine. Just two years earlier, they had rocked my world at the now defunct Jay's Upstairs in Missoula MT. There was one dilemna though. I was the only one in the group with a SXSW wristband. This fact would haunt me for the rest of the week. A few days earlier I had foolishly paid $80 dollars for a wristband that would get me into any SXSW show. This is actually a pretty good price for a wristband that normally goes for $150. The problem was that the Playboys were only playing free shows, not directly related to SXSW. So a few of the boys paid the fifteen dollar cover and I enjoyed Apollo Sunshine for the very heavy fee of eighty dollars. Ouch! Guy learned his lesson on that one.
After cleaning off the stink from the night before, we were off to do it all over again. There we were in down town Austin again. Before the show we went to another club down the street. We caught an awesome Canadian band called Death From Above 1979. It was maybe the best two-piece band I'd ever seen. These doods had a huge sound for a bass and drums duo. They also happened to be one of Moneyshot's favorite bands...so that was cool. Oh and there was free Lone Star...wooo hoo. After DFA 1979 we headed to Headhunters, another tiny bar near the notorius sixth street strip. This particular club had two stages, one inside and one out. The Playboys were set to play outside, but not till later that night. So it was another day of non-stop Lone Star consumption. Actually I made the mistake of switchin' to whiskey when the Playboys took the stage. When it was finally time for the boys to play, I was ready. I cannot tell you how many generic rock bands I saw this week. It really makes you appreciate a band like the Playboys, who put on a very energetic show with well crafted, fun rock songs. There new songs just keep getting better. I like how they've incorporated more backing vocals. It's more entertaining to watch all the boys sing on songs like "Mysterioso" and "The Life and Times of Monte Carlo". The latter song has an awesome vocal exchange between Monte and the Count....even when the Count forgets the lyrics...tee hee. After the show I had planned to see Spoon. I was dead set about recoupping some of my eighty dollars. I didn't make it there though. There's nothing fun about waiting in line to see a band and then hanging out by yourself....plus I had been drinking all day and wasn't comfortable wondering around Austin with tens of thousands of show goers. So instead of seeing Spoon (one of my favorite bands ever) I joined the Playboys and my good friend Lee at The Whiskey bar to watch the Australian Cattle God showcase. ACD is a new record label started by my buddy Lee and Bryan Nelson (the fellow who recorded the last two Playboy records. Since it was the Whiskey Bar, I decided to stick with the Maker's Mark. The highlight of this show was Bleach....an amazing trio from Japan. I got to see these gals three times during the week. They're jaw droppingly good folks. It's amazing to watch three Japanese girls (none taller than 5'4") blaze through songs that sound like early Chilli Peppers mixed with insane screaming and pretty vocals. On the way home I begged to be taken to Whatta Burger. It didn't happen and I made the mistake of sleeping on a stomach of whiskey and Lone Star. Ouch!
Fuck by Fuck You
Man was I hurtin' on Saturday morning. I told the Playboys that I wouldn't be attending the FXFU festival that day. But after I was told to take my tampon out, I decided to join them. Plus our buddy Damon made the trek up from Houston. I couldn't pass up drinking with my old pal. So there I was again....Lone Star in hand at one in the afternoon. This was the seventh year of FXFU. It's a free show with about a dozen bands and oh yeah...free Lone Star!! There were a lot of familar faces at this show...including Bleach, Gorch Fock, Juanita Family, and Bible of the Devil. The venue was awesome. It was outside of an art gallery, not more than fifty feet from the train tracks. Imagine watching "the rock" with looming thunder storms and whistling trains going by. It was very surreal. The Playboys had the daunting task of headlining this festival. They pulled it off though. After waiting to play for over eight hours, the boys torched the remaining show goers. It was another high energy extravaganza. The highlight was when Monte stopped a car driving by during "If I Was Your Woman." The woman rolled down her window to see what was going on. Monte began singing to her....which freaked her out, so she drove away...scarred for life. Oh I almost forgot about Pong. They reminded me a lot of the band i'm in...Volumen. The wore matching white suits and sang silly pop songs. They were all in their forties though.....and very very stoned. It ruled! After the long day of drinking, I finally convinced the boys to stop off at Whatta Burger. It was great! I can still taste the bacon.


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