SXSW Perspective Guy Stevenson of the Gin Riots
We here at Both Sides had the great opportunity to syndicate the South By perspective of The Gin Riots
' frontman, Guy Stevenson. With nothing but literary entertainment ahead, I send it off to Guy.
The Gin Riots arrived in Austin for Schmooze by Schmooze West with aching heads and a weekload of worry upon our shoulders. We were booked to play five shows over the festival but we weren't sure on the plane over whether our eijit guitarist would be able to make it. Y'see, despite being a bit of a genius when it comes to songwriting, Cillian Riot is none too proficient at simple day-to-day organisation and he managed to put his passport through the wash four days before he was supposed to fly.
Just a little light-headed from the Bloody Mary refills we'd hit to keep us from thinking about this on the plane, the band stumbled out into the Austin sunshine to be greeted by our hostess for the week, miss Lacey Griffin. A native Austinite and a friend of ours from myspace, Lacey had promised to treat us to 'some good ol fashioned Southern hospitality'.
First stop was the 401, a bar she tends for fifty or so drunk, shady and downright legendary characters just outside of downtown. There they stood against bar as we walked in, decked out in stetsons, bandanas and snakeskin boots, like extras from every film about the south we'd ever seen. Once we'd stopped beaming at the surrealness of the scenario, the locals got to work buying us drinks. My god...do they drink in Austin. We were pretty darn proud of our nation's binge-drinking abilities til we met you lot...fucking hell!
We moved on from this mecca of neon signs, sawdusted floor and low lit pool tables to about hundred different pubs, necking shots, leching over your pretty womanfolk and generally making embarrassing arses of ourselves ... The night ended in a fight between Tim Riot and myself that would not have looked out of place on www.bumfights.com (if you never saw this abominable website before it was banned, I strongly recommend you to steer clear - heinous rich kids run around paying homeless people in drink and junk to fight one another ... )
So, the week was built on downright messy foundations ... But everything started looking up for The Gin Riots when Cillian finally got his passport through and took the plane over on Sunday. We played loads of shows - beginning with Momo's on the Monday night and ending with our main Saturday night showcase at The Rio Grande - and saw so many bands I'm finding it hard to remember any actual names ... hmmm ... who stood out? Late of The Peer, who our drummer Jack Riot went to see twice, were apparently unbelievably tight and innovative and put on a dazzling show. Likewise, French electro kids Kap Bambino.
Peelander-Z, a Japanese punk rock band who looked like they'd stepped straight out of a kid's Manga cartoon, played pretty atrocious music but entertained their audience like consumate pros. The formula went like this: yellow lycra-clad singer with clown hair asks the audience a question (WHAT DO EVERYONE LIKE EAT IN U S OF A?, for example), red lycra-clad drummer holds up a sign with a catchword written on it (STEAK), the crowd shouts out what's on the card and the song starts. Simple, you might say, but fuck me was it effective!
The Gin Riots left America exactly ten days after we'd arrived, exhausted, schmoozed out of our skulls, but generally mighty happy indeed with the shows we'd played and the people we'd met. Good people of Austin - we fucking love your town and reckon you should be gurt proud of it. Thankin you kindly ...
Until our next encounter,
Love Love Love to your mamas,
Guy De Riot
No Otherwheres Here
Labels: Guest Writer, SXSW '09