As Jefe and I were trying to coordinate a gameplan for our Saturday afternoon, I stumbled across the news that Okkervil River was a last minute addition to the Brooklyn Vegan party in East Austin that already included J. Roddy, Heartless Bastards, Diamond Rugs and Lucero.
By the last day, I was exhausted and the thought of running around all over the city chasing bands again was not that appealing. The thought of drinking tall boys in the sun while listening to some of my favorite bands? Very appealing, kind of like eating a chicken pot pie.
We inhaled some delicious migas from Cisco’s in East Austin and then made our way over to Hotel Vegas. The lineup started off with Field Report who I had caught the night before. It was comforting to know that they were still talented less than 24 hours later. Next up was Seattle’s Ivan & Alyosha. The five piece plays an upbeat indie-folk with some sweet four piece harmonies.
While we taking in that set, Oz and Shirk were catching Gary Clark Jr. over at the Mog party. Everyone I know that has seen him says he is the best guitarist around right now. Oz was no different; said it was like seeing Hendrix.
Next up was Father John Misty (i.e. J. Tillman). I was really hoping to hear with him a full band – partly to not have to listen to his ramblings. While I really enjoy his new album, his set was a bit of a bummer. He bitched about the corporate sponsorships, the amount of times he had to play, his name, etc. My job has problems too but I don’t sit in front of my clients complaining about them.
After that was J. Roddy Walston & The Business. I texted to the group that seeing them after Tillman was like getting an adrenaline shot to the heart. Good to hear the new stuff again. Their new one is one of my most anticipated albums of this year. Next up was Lucero. Apparently Ben had just woke an hour ago but that didn’t stop them from churning out a great hour of music. The man was even cranking out songs in effort to get his bro laid. Soon thereafter, The Heartless Bastards hit the stage – this time with power. They played a bunch of the songs from The Arrow. I’ll say this, with power / without power; there aren’t many bands rocking harder than them these days.
Next up we had John McCauley’s latest side project called Diamond Rugs. It has the guy from Black Lips, Hardy from Dead Confederate, other guys from Deer Tick, some dude from Los Lobos and countless others. It was exactly the ramshackle, rabble-rousing hour of rock and roll you would expect from this crew. The upcoming album was solid but this is meant to be seen live to really appreciate it.
By this point, I was sunburnt, drunk and starving. So I downed some free whiskey punch and got situated for Okkervil River. I was a mere 10 feet from Will as the band hit the stage. They banged out all the favorites and I sang like a drunken idiot. I high-fived Jefe about a dozen times throughout the show and at the end I went up to Will Sheff and thanked him for all the good times he provided me. He seemed to enjoy hearing that from a drunken 40-something so left it at that and I still haven’t washed my hand since.
At that point, Jefe gave serious thought to wrapping it up. However, I was hell-bend on seeing Justin Townes Earle at Stubb’s. We agree to a compromise. We stopped at a food truck he had an eye on and then we go see JTE and call it a night. A few blocks down, Jefe and I devoured the greatest breaded pork tenderloin sandwich we ever ate. The next morning in the airport, I flippantly remarked that I would cut off a finger to get another one of those sandwiches beforeeee hopping on the plane. No such luck.
After that culinary delight, mas aqua and 45 minutes on our asses; we dragged ourselves over to Stubb’s. We were beaten men at this point but managed to squeeze up tight for JTE, complete with a full-on band (including Amanda Shires on fiddle). From all the snippets I’ve heard from his upcoming album, I was really excited to see him play and he didn’t dissapoint one bit. The transition to a full band really agrees with him and his stage presence is as quality as ever. His set lasted a little over an hour and was the perfect finale to an amazing 4 plus days in Austin. Til next year. Thank you as always Austin.