bathtub gin

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making bathtub gin:

the joker
31, Pisces
Denver, CO

Windowsill Wendy
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windowsill wendy
29, Capricorn
Denver, CO

"Music is a spiritual expression of what's in your heart. Music as a way of getting rich is a pretty new thing, and I often wonder if the mega-bucks glitzy atmosphere is making the quality of music suffer. You have to work really hard to get around that and remember why you're in it in the first place: because you have to be. It's like an addiction. You can't go a day without picking up your guitar. To me, the only commercial goals that are really valid are, 'Boy, I wish I didn't have to go to work. I wish I could do this all the time."
-Trey Anastasio

"Impose rules to make life simpler. Break them to make life more fun."
-Jon Fishman

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Austin City Limits Music Festival: Blow-by-blow

posted 3:57 PM by the joker

On the posters for the Austin City Limits music festival it advertises "15 acres of music." I didn't understand the full significance of that, but I do now. Damn my feet hurt. I must have walked 50 miles this weekend. But it was worth it. I went down there by myself and met up with different groups of friends each day. It was easier that way, but I must admit I felt a little weird going on the trip to the motel solo.

Friday I saw Topaz, Particle, a little bit of Steve Earle, The Charlie Hunter Trio, Galactic, Martin Sexton, Steve Winwood, and Spoon. Particle played past their allotted time and the PA was shut off- but they didn?t care- they kept on jamming for another 4-5 minutes and all you could hear were the instruments from the stage. Galactic was another highlight, but it seemed like they played a lot of Houseman songs. I prefer it when they just get up there and jam. It seemed like on Friday all the bands I saw did a very predictable set...solid, but predictable.

All day Friday I carried around the "I Am Happy" "Thank You" sign. It made a couple of group meet-ups much easier, and it seemed to make everyone smile. People got a real kick out of it, and I had a few interesting conversations and compliments. Even had my picture taken by some admirers, but alas, no phone numbers where exchanged. After Steve Winwood, I was walking with some friends and this scruffy-looking guy runs up to me:

Scruffy-looking guy: Hey man, you remember me?!?!?
Me: yeah, I think so?
Scruffy-looking guy: That?s right- Im the guy that parked your car this morning at the parking lot!
Me: Yeah..I remember?is it still there?
Scruffy-looking guy: Aww, Yeah man, don?t worry about that! Heh Heh Heh. I just saw your sign and wanted to say hi!
Me: Oh. Ok, cool. Have a great day.
Scruffy-looking guy: Cool, Have a great day, Dude!

Friday night I headed over to see my buddy's band play at Ego's. Ego's is a little bar that is in an apartment complex and is small, smoky and dark. Definitely a unique place. After having a couple of drinks at Ego's I felt my second wind coming on and decided to try and find the Topaz late night show that was to start aroud 1-1:30am. When I arrived at the Topaz show, there weren?t many people there, but when I was getting a drink at the bar a Frat-daddy looking guy asks: "Hey dude, you wanna take a shot?"
"Sure, why not"
"You ever had Sex with an alligator?"
"No, cant say I have."
"Well, now?s your chance. 3 shots, please."
I was somehow included in the shot purchases by this guy 4 times. He even found me in the club a couple of times cause "my buddy doesnt want to do shots with me- hes scared ckicken-shit." Quite the character- he had a camera phone and after a few drinks with him showed me pictures of his pot plants growing at home as well as a recent party with long lines of coke. I made sure to leave before he closed out his tab.

On Saturday the sky was cloudy when I woke up and it ended up raining most of the afternoon. I say rain, but it was really more like a light drizzle. It was actually pretty nice and things were nice and cool. Sat afternoon I saw the South Austin Jug Band, Old 97's, Dandy Warhols, The Tribute to Johnny Cash (Johnny Cash songs sung by Old 97's, Drive By Truckers, and N. Mississippi All-Stars, pretty cool), some of the Drive by Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and the first set of String Cheese Incident. The South Austin Jug Band kicked ass- they did a bluegrass version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" that was absolute genius- they played each section by moving around the band- fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and standup bass.

At some point on Saturday afternoon the drizzle was taking its toll on the "I Am Happy" sign and I was getting tired of lugging it around everywhere. I decided to place it up against a bench and watch to see if something happened. After about 10 minutes a woman came up and took the sign and showed her friends what she had found. I just watched them walk off and laughed.

The last band of the evening, String Cheese Incident, I keep on trying to convince myself that I like them, but they seem to just kinda bore me. I left after the first set of String Cheese and missed their flying pig- in the second set they played some Pink Floyd and flew a huge inflatable pig through the crowd. Im sorry I missed that but for me, String Cheese is snoresville.

After the fest I went back to the motel and took a much needed nap, and then headed down to Stubbs to catch Garage a Trois around midnight. Stanton Moore and Charlie Hunter kicked major ass- funky jazz all night long. After Garage a Trois I headed down to the late night Particle rave happening at the Vibe- I slipped in without paying a cover, danced for an hour, then felt I was sober enough to drive again and headed home about 3:30am. I saw a friend the next day that was at the show and he said they left at 5:45 and Particle was just starting their 3rd set...i didnt have enough drugs in me to make it all night. Probably a good thing.

Sunday was probably my favorite day of the three. It started out rainy like Saturday, but by about 3pm it was just cool and nice. I spent the whole day with the same people and we saw Bob Schneider, Soulive, G. Love and Special Sauce, The Polyphonic Spree, a little of Ben Kweller, Yo La Tengo, Jack Johnson, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Ween, Ben Harper, Yonder Mountain String Band, a little of Beth Orton, and R.E.M. I don?t think anything crazy happened on Sunday, but everything I saw was very solid. R.E.M. played "Fall on Me" and "Nightswimming", so I was happy.

One thing that I thought about as I was looking at the schedule and seeing the bands was how few of them were radio bands. I thought it was nice and a big message from Austin, where the whole town clamors against anything big and corporate. It was like Austin was celebrating their own local artists and then trying to shout to the rest of the nation: "Hey, look, you can do a great festival with good bands and people will come out and had fun." I hope they continue the tradition, and maybe Ill make it down there again next year.


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