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Show Reviews

SXSW shows - March 16-17, 2006, Austin, TX

From: "greg grunke" <g.grunke@...>
Date: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:16 am
Subject: Shampucci Grows a Tail: sxsw Full Report twelvepacsha...
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Mr. F, Mr. Mullican and myself hit the road Tues 3/14 at 10:30 pm and drove
22 hours nonstop until the "Check Aneurysm" light came on in Fredricksburg.
Drove the last hour into Austin next morning and were immediately blown away
by the size and diversity of the festival. Picked up Stirling then met
Ethan at the Whiskey Bar, site of our first unofficial show. Nice little
venue run by a cool cat named Bart. This was a daytime showcase and all
the other bands were great to watch, very tight and each very distinct from
the other. First up was Lomita (could be Lometa, saw both spellings).
Dreamy psych with kinda countryish elements. Stirling described as an
upbeat Mazzy Star meets Velvets. Did a very cool keyboard-driven cover of
Cramps' Garbage Man that was more Sister Ray than Link Wray. Next up were
Woozyhelmet (Austin), a super tight 3-pc punk band with a feel that evoked
Minutemen and early Descendents. Excellent! Then Cue (another Austin band).
Great instrumentals that had violin thrown in with the drumsbassguitarkeys
for a sound that combined elements of Dirty 3 with Godspeed. Did an
ultra-groovy cover of the Badalamenti Twin Peaks theme. Boy Skouts (from
Oakland, CA) were peppy.

Then we played. And sucked. Combo of unfamiliar rental amps that
didn't work, fatigue and a hard deadline to get offstage resulted in a
somewhat truncated set with rushed tempos, missed changes and
botched endings. Got a decent response but we knew we had to do much

After the show we hightailed it over the river for a free outdoor
show by Echo & the Bunnymen. Ian's voice was in fine form. (Thom can
give more specifics). Mr. Mullican by this time was listing to starboard
rather seriously so it became my job to keep him upright and moving to avoid
attention from the fuzz. After went to check out Room 710 where our
"official" show would be. Club specializes in three types of music: heavy,
really heavy and REALLY fuckin' heavy. All Power Violence, All the Time!
Noticed that the heavier the sound the larger and more elaborate the beards
of its practitioners. Couple bands with Rottweiler vocalists whose names I
missed. Then Daniel Doyle, a most excellent one-man band, setting up fierce
loops on guitar before jumping on his drum kit to accompany with jagged
jazzy blastbeats and headset vocals. Very cool! (Turns out Ethan knows him
and he's an SR fan. The next day Daniel graciously loaned us his gear,
shuttled us around in his van and tolerated us flirting with his
girlfriend.) Next up was Helios Creed kicking off his tour and release of
new album. Band consisted of Butthole Jeff Pinkus on bass, the guitarist
from Crust and the Chrome drummer who isn't Aleph Kali. Really
inspirational, the perfect soundtrack for watching the walls melt. Things
pushed over the top when vocalist Fabienne Shine (Shakin' Street singer and
Damon Edge's widow) joined for a few songs including a killer cover of VU's
All Tomorrow's Parties. Headliner Whitehouse was severely anticlimactic
after this, with mainbrain what's-his-name twisting knobs and crooning
affectless while a bassist made droney with her back to the audience. Left
after 10 minutes to see Will Sargent DJ at a nearby lounge.

Thus recharged, we decided to use Friday's daytime show to get our shit
together. Carlos of One Umbrella had organized a day-long event at a cool
space that's part of the Future Home of The Austin Ballet (I kid you not).
We were so busy shuttling equipment back and forth that we didn't get a
chance to check out the other performers except in passing. Caught some
delicate, ambient sounds with projected images. After dialing in the amps,
we did a loose, fun set. The 25-30 people in the audience seemed to have a
jolly time and we got in a good rehearsal for the main event.

After finishing, a mad dash to Room 710. While loading in heard some of
Minsk's set which evoked Neurosis in their sparse and spooky mode and
included what sounded like a monotone guitar. They were gone by the time we
were finished loading so I couldn't verify. Bible of the Devil feature all
or part of St. Vitus (!!) and could probably eat iron ore and shit steel
chain. Big-ass beards too. Missed Weedeater but Stirling pronounced them
sufficiently "heavy". Band before us was Stinking Lizaveta, a Philly based
superduperpower trio and (for me at least) the real earopener of the
festival. Drummer bashed her kit with brutal economy (and in a black
evening gown no less) generating driving grooves in total lock with upright
electric bassist, while guitarist drops riffs and noise bombs and
sings/yells into his humbuckers. Repetition rhythm section tension builds
and builds to point of explosion/implosion and when the change comes it's
like having yer head rammed through a plate glass window.

After all that we didn't dare suck. Opened with Tabula Rasa, just Thom and
Stirling on stage setting up the pulse for a couple minutes, me and Ethan
joining in all skeletal and building gradually. By actually paying
attention to dynamics for a change it turned into one of the best versions
we've ever done, if I may say so. Since we had our stage volume reasonably
in check all the harmonics and phantom tones were finally ringin' out like
they should. Siam also came off especially well. Crowd good-sized and very
enthusiastic. We even did a request, pulling off a chunky and menacing
version of Ivory Coast despite never having attemped it in this
configuration. Hell, I'd never played the monotone part on it before. Thom
got to unleash his inner Ozzy/D.L. Roth. It felt like we'd stepped up.

After returning the equipment etc. made it back to the motel at 6:00 am, got
up 9:30 am, dropped off Stirling at the airport and hit the road for home.
Had fabulous BBQ. Gibbered like idiots. Exhaustion halucinatory--felt like
I'd been frying for three days. Leisurely 29-hour drive back.

-NP: Grinch: Brown Showercap


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