South by Southwest Event
SXSW is an annual music event that takes place in Austin, Texas.
So it begins...
The Girlie Action publicists sent me an invite to
the Kemado Records SXSW Jam to be held in the back room of the
Spiderhouse Cafe. I did a bit of research, and thought that I might
write an article on their headlining band "The Sword" for one of the
music print rags I write for. I mean, being that they are supposed
to be "the next big thing" and all.
The fancy, laminated press pass
So I took half a day off from my day job and
Junior, her friend Ty, and I drove the 3 hours to Austin.
Once we got to Austin, we picked up another friend
Julie and headed out to eat at Dirty Martin's Kum-Bak Burgers... the
greasiest burgers in town. It was about 3pm and The Sword didn't go
on until 6pm so we had plenty of time.
Dirty Martin's Kum-Back Burgers. Also known as "Dirty's" or as I
like to call it, "Dirty Kum Burgers".
Delicious Kum Burgers, Tater-tots, and Onion Rings.
Mmmm... chocolate shake. Girls sold
Finally, a city in Texas where this
guy fits in.
After we ate, we walked around to check out the graffiti. There
wasn't much. And what there was, the bands unloading band equipment
Nice blue-man teats!
From there, we moved on to the Spiderhouse up the street. It's a
cool cafe with a trailer park looking garden in the back where bands
play. Across the garden stage is an open building where the record
company bands were playing. This was an indoor venue with free beer.
Sadly, I don't drink, But it was cool...the kids could get drunk
anyhow. No big deal.
Yummy... beers and bi's!
We settled at a table in the courtyard while the band Black Moth
Super Rainbow played. They were this psychedelic type of band...
nothing that really sparked my interest. In the back cafe I heard
another band playing so I went to check it out.
Baby-doll dress and cowboy boots. The official women's uniform
for SXSW 2008. I didn't get the memo.
Have you ever kind of known someone from a long time ago, and you
hadn't ever really thought of them in years and years, and then like
20 years later this person is there standing in front of you? That's
what I experienced when I made it to the cafe stage and saw Kid
Congo Powers and the Pink Monkeybirds playing.
Kid Congo was in LA years ago during when the whole punk transition
was going on in Hollywood and bands like X, Black Flag, Plasmatics,
The Plugz, The Avengers, and The Dickies were playing at the
Whiskey, Al's Bar, Cathay de Grand, and Madame Wongs. If I recall,
he was a fixture on the scene, as was I. It was neat to see him
again... I probably should have stopped and said hey.
Kid Congo wants YOU to buy a t-shirt!
Anyhow, I stuck around for a few songs and Kid Congo was as animated
and dynamic as ever. He always was a true entertainer and a talented
musician. As I was standing there watching him, I realized that I
have loved every band this man has been in. I mean FUCKING LOVED
them... Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Cramps, Gun Club, even the
Divine Horsemen (Unfortunately, I don't think DH recordings made it past
vinyl). His Pink Monkeybirds band was no different....they were
Sorry Kid, I needed to wipe my lipstick somewhere.
I shot a song on my video camera... sorry for the shakiness but I
didn't bring a tripod. But WATCH IT ANYWAY!!!
By this time, one of the Kemado bands Howlin' Rain had taken the
main stage, so I ran back to see them. They had kind of a grassroots
rock sound. They were cool for a bunch of hippies.
Nothing screams "SEX" like dirty, sweaty hippies. Come hither,
Some video of Howlin' Rain:
During the Howlin' Rain set, another band went on in the cafe area,
Toko Ri - Get High. So I went to check them out. I fell in love with
From the left Spyder, the spawn of Angus Young and Jah Wobble,
and a man taller than Richard Hell (also not married to Patti Smythe).
* Not pictured: Charlie Brown, the drummer.
These guys were cool on so many levels... the lead singer had this
young Richard Hell vibe about him. And from what I could decipher,
he sang these warped, obscure lyrics that were either pure and
simplistic or dark and complicated. Their lyrics reminded me of this
band from LA called Imperial Butt Wizards... friends of mine. They
had this song "Donkey Party" so on the surface you'd think the song
is about the Tijuana Donkey Party where the girl has some form of
intercourse with a donkey. But when you listen to the lyrics, the
song is actually about some donkeys getting together to socialize...
like a donkey pot-luck/tea party. Anyhow I couldn't decide if Toko
Ri - Get High's lyrics were innocent or twisted. I like that.
But the main draw of this band for me was the bass player. He's this
teeny little guy... like if Angus Young played bass, but he had a
big sound. He played this dub-style of bass reminiscent of Jah
Wobble. If you don't know who Jah Wobble is, the easiest way to
describe him is the bassist who should have been in the Sex Pistols
instead of Sid "can't play bass" Vicious. But not only that, he had
this super cool "look". Here is some video... watch him and you'll
see what I'm saying.
I couldn't stay for their whole set because The Sword was going on
in the other building and a crowd was gathering so I needed to
secure my place in front of the stage for pics.
First of all, what a stupid name for a band... "The Sword".
It is not the law that if you are a heavy-metal "Slayer"
band, that you must have a gothic war-type name for your band. But
here they were... onstage in front of me... The Sword.
I swear I think his drumsticks had The Sword emblem on them.
Spinal Tap anyone? Bad News Tour?
So these guys start playing, and all I could hear were drums and
guitar. They had the guitar amps turned up so high, I couldn't hear
the singer. Some friendly advice for this band:
- The whole "Metallica" thing has been done already. In
the 80's. By Metallica.
- To the singer... if the audience can't hear your voice over the
guitars, save yer pipes and just do instrumental!
Long Hair? Check. Lightening bolt guitar? Check. Years of
lip-syncing to Metallica in the mirror at home? Check. You sir, are
ready to join the heavy metal army.
I spent a lot of $$ getting the band's name on these sticks dammit.
And I'm gonna play as hard and loud as I can.
Why stop at the wrist, lizard-man? Do the whole hand.
Whoa whaddaya know? There was a bass player. I couldn't hear
over the guitar and drums. Then suddenly "poof"! There he was. Like
My hair, much like my music, is frozen in time. Early 80's, to be
In all fairness, maybe it wasn't the band's fault. I mean, they
had Sean Lennon on the soundboard.
"I'm in the club, adjusting your sound levels. I do lighting,
Sorry guys... I'm just bagging on ya. I'm sure it was just bad
sound acoustics. If you want to send me a CD, and if I like it, I'll
reconsider the print magazine article.
Maybe I'm wrong and they sounded great. You be the judge.
What makes this ZZZlist
Kid Congo gets is not as
widely recognized as he should be for real. He has mad talent,
and he's been a fixture in the punk/psycho-billy scene since
The band Toko Ri - Get
High did not appear to be signed to a label. They should be.
Kemado should unsign The Sword and sign these guys. DO IT!!!