This energy is contagious.
I’m now in my bed. I’ve been lying in my bed all day today because I have not had a decent night’s sleep in what seems forever, but it’s only been a mere week. I’m a little irritable and semi hungover. I’ve decided to take this time to write about last week’s adventure, at least what I can remember. Here’s (hopefully) a short reflection on traveling and performing at SXSW, an internationally known music and film festival, and coming back home on time for a friend’s wedding.
I am in the band Circles that consist of myself, Kyle Baker, Andy Thornton, and Jeff Collier. We pack a van full of our instruments, clothes and merchandise and leave Sunday March 10th at 3pm from Fresno, CA. Our destination is to Austin, TX to perform two nights at SXSW. This is the indie portion of SXSW, ergo we performed at no cover charge bars/venues. The drive was about 24-30 hours long. We covered California, Arizona, and New Mexico before entering Texas, then driving the better part of the state before arriving to Austin. We arrive on Monday March 11th at 9pm.
We go to downtown Austin to 6th street, the street that SXSW is held on. The entire street is shut down for this festival, and it’s nothing but bars/venues and restaurants to the left and right of you with occasional food carts set up that sell EXCELLENT food. We check out our venues, grab some food and drinks, and get some sort of idea of what is to be held for tomorrow and the next day.
We perform on March 12th at 10pm at Chuggin’ Monkey, a popular bar/venue probably because of it’s intimate ambience with enough room to not feel claustrophobic with its outside and inside coinciding nicely with each other, both offering their own second decks. The Austin night sky was big and warm. The youth and diversity were flooding the streets with their excitement. The beauty of this festival is that you just walk from place to place and the stages at these bars are set right next to the entrance. You can literally just look through the window and watch a show. We set up our equipment, face technical difficulties, successfully overcome those humps the best we can, and play our hearts out. It wasn’t a great way to start SXSW, it was an even better way to start SXSW. We can take your shit, SXSW. Bring it on.
March 13th I veer off to hang out with my brother, his wife, and their two energetic twin boys Ethan and Gavin. We eat fantastic food cart Mexican food and Thai food for dinner. Lovely seeing them. From their hotel we walk the bridge, a unique bridge that during dusk you can see bats fly in their packs from underneath. And what do you know, I pass by a familiar face, do a double take, and ask this person,”are you an actor?” It ends up being Milo Ventimiglia, probably best known for playing that “dude that flies” in the series “Heroes” (I’ve told people about this encounter and I guess not a lot of people know this show, let alone this actor, so whatever).
That night we played again at 10pm but this time at a different venue called Bourbon Girl, a newly opened venue on 6th street. The stage was actually set up more in the middle of the venue with a huge lit up American flag as a backdrop. The venue was much more open and spacious, probably meant more for a dance scene, with a long bar and a separate square bar filling in its spaces. With much more confidence, we play our hearts out once more, and absolutely play an amazing show. Faced no problems, and even got to play an even longer set than originally planned. We may or may not have went over our set time, but at this point we were just like “fuck it.” This was an excellent way to end our last show at SXSW. We packed up the instruments, we bought a round (or 2 or 5 or 10) and had one last hoorah with SXSW. Its been real, Austin. Cheers.
March 14th, with only 3 hours of sleep, we take the road back to California at 10am. The drive was absolute insanity, depressing, exhausting, flat out mentally destructive (do not worry, a lot of resting and stopping was absolutely necessary), but Jeff and I had to be back to Fresno, CA by Friday March 15th for a wedding rehearsal, then be in the actual wedding the next day (16th). We arrive to Fresno, CA by 1pm on Friday. Jeff and I pick up our tuxes, go home and take a quick shower, and head straight to the church by 5pm. Immediately after that, we have dinner at a chinese restaurant, then only a few drinks because by the later evening, Andrew (the groom) looks at Jeff and I and says, “We could all use some rest.” He couldn’t have been more right.
We awake at Andrew’s house on March 16th, and the day immediately begins from getting breakfast, looking the flyest we’ve ever looked, and having the limo drive us from stop to stop. Our first stop, along with the bride and bridesmaids, was to a bar (obviously not a traditional wedding). The bride and groom see each other for the first time and make a grand entrance. We celebrate with a drink, take some pictures, and go on our way to the church.
The wedding was simple and nice. The bride especially looked the best I’ve ever seen her, and the day was definitely hers and hers alone. But shit, it was hot as balls standing on the alter. I was sweating my ass off. Luckily I wasn’t the only one. The other groomsmen agreed. Second wedding I’ve been in and second time I’ve sweated while standing up there. Shit ain’t cool.
They say “I do,” they kiss, we applaud, and now we’re off to the reception. A nice collaboration of old faces and good friends are under one roof for the night and it couldn’t have worked out any better. The laughs, the “dramas,” and dancing all were alcohol influenced, but that’s why we have a limo people. The night was an 11 out of 10. It was an absolute blast. The groomsmen, excluding myself and another, and the maid of honor made awesome (and thankfully) short speeches that, inevitably, made me cry. I can’t be any more happier and congratulatory towards Andrew and Katie Hernandez. They deserved that night and each other. Cheers you two. Enjoy Disneyworld.
March 17th. Sunday. Awake (again) at Andrew’s house. What do you know. It’s St. Patty’s Day. The bride and groom don’t leave till Monday, so let’s keep this celebration going? Neighbors Bar and Grill it is. Then Livingstones I suppose. What idiots we are. This is what we call piling (verb): to intake copious amount of commodities, usually relating to fun and exciting circumstances, resulting in feeling like a Pile the following day (see also hangover).
It is now Monday March 18th. I have not been on my bed for a week, nor have gotten a decent night’s rest. This bed is fantastic. I don’t care if I’ve been eating all day and just lying here. I need this. Tonight’s sleep will be excellent. Ugh. Tomorrow is work. Tomorrow is school. Fuck that shit. I’ve been tested on a different lifestyle. To do music. To be on the road. To play shows. To be on a wobbly schedule. To figure finances. To encounter people. To get to know people. To know this and that. I won’t lie, it’s hard. It really wears on you. Bands do this for months upon months. But thinking about what I have to do tomorrow, I really, really, really DO NOT want to do any of it. I fucking despise it. Give me the road. Let me do what I love. Let me be a part of that world.
Coming back home I was starting to notice the little things, figuring what it is to really stop and smell the roses. I love my family. They’re my core. My support. I love music. Home looks smaller compared to what I’ve experienced. I’m grateful for those who have taken to where I’ve gone and where I’m going. Love is something beautiful. Find it and don’t lose it. I don’t know… I’m fucking tired. But that was it.
An honorable mention to bands we saw at SXSW:
Hank and Cupcakes played in the later night on Tuesday night and they were awesome. blew my mind!
The Goodnight played Wednesday during the day. We’ve played a couple of shows with them way way back in the day. They sounded even more solid than ever before and once again are awesome dudes to party with.
if it’s drama you want
then ready set action
You’re in my head in my head in my head in my head before I wake
The feeling’s same all the same all the same all the same in any place
But I can see rather not see a damn thing of where you were (or where we were)
At a hear of your name or a thought of the same can’t ever assure (that our past can burn)
I never meant to hurt you
or run away and desert you
to give you pain that exerts you
I’m now a part in your cursed views
I wrote the script for our chase scene
Burn the page to erase me
now kiss a man to replace me
I cannot stand you to face me
This villainy has been useless
I’ve caused the swell and the bruises
I should be held by the nooses
I never meant to lose it
I see the weak in your eyes
You see the devil in mine
We’re gonna leave it all behind
and give it to time. it doesn’t seem right.