After this trip, my shoes were worn out and legs a new type of sore. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a problem hoofing it to see legends like Cheap Trick and Smokey Robinson tear it up, logging 2 miles on my feet bouncing from show to show. But I now see the appeal of “pedi-cabs.” Stone Temple Pilots, although I was never a huge fan but dug their sound in general, killed it. I couldn’t tell if I was at a live show or listening to a record. That good. The same went for old Smokey and Cheap Trick.
And one thing I want to note about seeing Cheap Trick, first off, whatever venue it was, whatever park it may have been, they took care of press. We had our own section with our own bar. And free beer . Yes free beer. Shockingly to this New Yorker, everyone was nice, helping people up and down embankments, moving to the side, and saying sorry for bumping into you. Imagine that, New York, people actually apologizing for running into you. Teens, twenty-something’s, and the older crowd all sang along together; while the kids quietly played light sabers with glow sticks in the corner – probably the first and last time kid’s didn’t get on my nerves at a show. When they played their classic “I Want You To Want Me,” all I could do is smile and revel in the intoxicating nature of music, and its ability to transcend decades, generations and nationalities. Cheap Trick isn’t the first band to do this, but at this show, it was the most apparent.
As for the street that Friday night, imagine the feast of San Genaro in Manhattan, Feast of Santa Rosalia on 18th Ave in Brooklyn or any other street fair in the tri-state. Now add 70 bars, rope off six blocks, incorporate live music everywhere, and multiply it by 30. That was 6th Ave in Downtown, Austin on a Friday night. And on Saturday night. You get the idea. The place lived, breathed, sweated, and became music, everywhere, all day and night.
I could go on for days about the observations I made and experiences I absorbed, but I’m going to cut it here, and just give you a few bands I saw for the first time and recommend.
In short, two bands I HIGHLY RECOMMEND: (All which I had the pleasure of catching, and I thought they absolutely destroyed it.)
Jupiter One – Caught them at the Galaxy Room on 6th Ave – Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, this quartet is the most dynamic, engaging, and utterly magnetic stage performance I have seen in a while. Without pyro and flashy lights, this multi-talented ensemble ripped it apart. A mellow vibe in some of their tracks and a pounding rhythm in the others, it’s simply great “tune-age.” But here’s what I found to be astonishing: Both guitarists, yes both, would switch from playing their respective Strats to drop some keyboards…mid-song! And it doesn’t end there. Did I tell you the rhythm guitarist is also the singer. And he also plays violin. Yes, vio-fuckin-lin, mid-song.
The best track by far, and it was amazing seeing them close with it live, otherwise I would have thought all the layering was done post-production. This track (which you will have to buy the CD to hear because I have no idea what it is called) was a sonorous ascension, complete with out of control stage antics by everyone. Violin, keyboard, drums, bass, and two guitars being played by 4 people simultaneously. It ended in a rising crescendo, with each band mate layering and looping a chant or sung word to come together in perfect harmony. From an onlookers point of view, I was amazed, from someone versed in technology and studio gear, I was in awe. Astounding musicians, every one of them. Check out Jupiter One from Brooklyn, NY.
Fighting With Wire –Checked them out at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub. All the way from across the pond in Dublin, these dudes can wail. A little more aggressive than the previous band I told you to check out, they definitely rock. A nice blend of old Thrice and old Poison the well with a few other influences I can’t quite put my finger on. At least not until they’re CD gets here. All in all, they are a kick ass band on Photo Finish Records/Smalltown America, and you should go check them out. Period.
By: Alex ‘Stigz’ Castiglione