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"I was Changed By Rock and Roll"

Musings on shows and introspective resolution. Yeah right.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Another Travelling Song

Austin, TX:

I'm sitting in a dorm-type apartment with members of Steel Train and Limbeck strewn all over the floor, the destruction from an alt-country/neo-jam hoedown all over the floor. THree girls pepper the all-guy crowd -- a manager and two very young, um "band aids," who I don't think actually aided any band last night (not for lack of trying from the bands. So maybe the girls are just teases.) The apartment was given to Steel train for free in exchange for a show they're playing at the apartment complex tonight; it's a sweet deal for them and a tough decision for me, sinc it means deciding whether to watch them again or go into town and brave the SXSW crowd.

Last night, the band played at 5pm outside in Austin for a bunch of ad execs and their kids, who clapped happily along to "Road Song" even though 20 minutes earlier Jack's guitar totally shit the bed (see, Weigel, it happens to everyone.) Then -- drove to San Antonio, for a show that everyone was confused about but ended up being the best Steel Train show I've seen on this tour. The band had nothing to prove and 60-or-so-fans that were rabid and pushed to the front of the small stage at club Sanctuary. Then: Limbeck, the OC alt-country band that floored me at the Echo a few months ago. Unfortunately for them, everyone left. Jack from Steel Train sat in, I got very drunk, tried to help ST's manager pick up a girl, failed, drank more, did the electric slide and the boot-scoot during Limbeck's set, smoke an enormous joint with Evan and two girls from MySpace (one cute -- and Evan's -- one, um, not.) Drank more. Slept in the van. Came back. Slept on the couch.

SXSW starts here, in a living room in austin, with two bands and two semi-band aids. Last year, it started in a living room in ausitin on a couch with anal lube. Last year was crazy. Let's make sure this year's crazier.

More pix above.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Training Pix

More Pix:

It's gonna ride on til the end...

I've been out with Steel Train for two days now, and already I'm overwhelmed with decisions about the story, which I may or may not have more time with the band to write. Here's some of the things that are possibilities, just so I can remember them as they come up:

First night: "I love two things == Jesus And Drugs." -- homeless man ,the show, after Jack, Evan, and I give him a dollar each. Our money went to a good spot.

Jam inside, with Daniel, the tour manager writing a new song on the spot. A great example of the kind of thing that would have impressed me 5 years ago and now seems totally natural. OF COURSE the band jams with their tour manager, of course everyone plays music, of coruse it's loose. But it still sounds so sexy on paper.

Fans at that first night show: The band hasn't played florida for two years, yet 60 people still show up to see them, including two girls the band haven't seen since then (one member, unnamed, works that angle, two other work it elsewhere, and all claim "this doesn't happen much." We'll see...)I talked to one guy who saw them open for Finch of all bands, and he said he was the only person when he saw them who even liked them a little - which makes sense, I mean, that's the weirdest thing about this band is where their fans came from. We talked about that last night for a while, the label situation, and they understand the weirdness but of coruse want fans from wherever they can get them. Last night, at the hotel, five girls and a guy whe were obviously underage and obviously at langerado walked in and the guys started talking to them, trying to get them to go to the late-night show. Quote of the night: "Mom, he's not hitting on me, he wants me to see his band!" Later, Jack: "Um, isn't that hitting on you?" Gold.

After the first show, they did an outdoor two-song mini-set (Allycat, Blown Away, W. 12th St) after a comment from Jack onstage when a fan requested "AlleyCat" IT's this kind of thing that really sets this band apart -- yeah, small bands love their fans, but these guys go more than out of the way.

Right now, at this moment, Jack and Evan are sitting on the couch in our hotel room writing a song -- straight Billy Bragg/Wilco style. Not surprising, since all of today was spent talking about wilco, swimming while talking about wilco, and wathcing, well, wilco. Who were amazing tonight, 9/10 on my sliding Wilco scale. "Monday" and "Forget The Flowers!" Where did those come from?

"The Carters did it, that's why I wanted to do it." -- Matt

So much more, but I'm...under duress. I hope I have a bit more time to write. Here are some pictures.