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Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #6

Sixth Installment of the Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014

Other entries:
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #1
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #2
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #3
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #4
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #5
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #6
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #7
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #8 – Final Episode

 

The Rooftop on 6th

The Rooftop on 6th

PART SIX

The Rooftop on 6th

6th St Pandemonium

6th St Pandemonium

It was the fifth time we had circled the block vying for our favorite parking spot, but SXSW fever was in full effect and we were obviously delusional to think we could be so lucky.  We only had a few minutes to get to the venue and check-in for our last performance at SXSW for the year.  We were all slightly on edge to make it on time because we came to play!  Not to mention, we had already been in town for five days and I hadn’t had one Korean BBQ Taco yet!  One of the highlights of my prior SXSW experiences was the discovery of culinary genius at the surrounding food trucks.  The Korean BBQ Taco defined SXSW for me now and I had been hailing it as nirvana to the rest of the guys.  They might have even been tired of hearing about the multicultural creation.

–       –

We are at the part of the Tour Beard Diaries where tedium set in long ago, and if you made it this far, I applaud you!  You may have noticed such controversial topics cropping up in my earlier posts such as the weather, or food selection.  However, while one is in the moment of being on the road, there is not much else that one can rely on other than an occasional roadside Starbucks and the good humor of one’s band mates- and the latter can be a spotty proposition dependent on the personalities involved (we are an amicable group all-in-all).  There is not a great deal to report of importance, but the following, if you wish to hang in there with me can continue to illustrate some insight as to the amount of work, energy, fun and boredom that goes into launching and completing a successful tour.

–       –

There is a Walnut Creek everywhere.

There is a Walnut Creek everywhere.

 

3 Amigos - Sometimes they let the bass player tag-a-long too

3 Amigos – Sometimes they let the bass player tag-a-long too

With guitars and cymbals strapped to our backs and drum hardware in hand the four of us set a brisk pace towards the club.  We were only 3 and a half blocks from 6th street (it could’ve been worse), and parking was paid until 11:00 PM.

The Rooftop on 6th was the type of second level bar that the Marina in SF, or Walnut Creek would love to lay claim to.  It had selectively placed flat screen TV’s on the walls with a variety of basketball games playing, a photo booth, perfectly polished wood bar, innocuous techno-music over the sound system and a punching bag parlour-game for the juiced up boys to entertain themselves in front of the Texas State girls.  All it was missing were guys in striped shirts and high collars, but maybe that was a different era.  However, what redeemed this trendy yuppie style bar was an outdoor stage on the other side of the glass and wood partition with retractable roof facing 6th Street.  Walking between the two spaces would be like transporting oneself from Cow Hollow into the Mission in one step.  The other element that immediately improved the atmosphere inside was a chance encounter with Robert and Ane.

We had arrived to the club without haste only to find out that our set had been pushed out by 40 minutes or more- welcome to SXSW.   Jeff had scoped out the seats along the brick wall and settled on the last booth if the two occupants would allow us to camp out with them.  We met Robert (a musician) and Ane (a dancer), both local college students pursuing marketing degrees and interning with one of our sponsors for the night, #SBATX.  We had to earn our keep though.  They were pouring through a series of photos from earlier in the day of SXSW performances to post onto social media and use for future promotional materials.  Every once in while, Robert or Ane would turn their laptop to us and ask, “this one or that one?”  Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try.

Ane and Robert SXATX

Ane and Robert SBATX

Robert’s involvement with #SBATX turned out to be a family affair, and if I remember correctly, we met his brother photographer, and fellow cousin intern.  As they learned more of Jeff’s story, greater and greater interest developed and they were determined to stick around long enough to catch the set and grab some shots for a little cross promotion.  Before we knew it, the booth was surrounded with new friends excited to take in our performance, and would you believe it?..Fans from our first show in town, including the Denver artist transplant and his girlfriend showed up.

Antiques at The Rooftop

Antiques at The Rooftop

Jeff finger-picked and strummed into the first few bars of  “4th Street” and by the time the rest of us came into the tune, we had the attention of a surprisingly sizable crowd.  Maybe it was that we weren’t a metal band, or hip-hop scream-core, or shoe gazing hipster band that turned the audience to take notice of us, but Jeff’s voice rang clear with strong melodies and we played with intent in command of our performance and dynamics.  Or maybe it was that Rick had more than a few stiff drinks, and we were all feeling loose and exuding attitudes worthy of Wembley Stadium, but we probably played our best set of the festival.  Even Jeff’s broken string in the middle of “Steal Your Car”, the second tune in the set, couldn’t derail us at that point.  (By the way, it was quickly decided after the set that a second guitar is going make it with Jeff to each future performance we play.)

Damn! I am stoked to be in a band with these guys!

Fast forward to the post-set blur:  grab the instruments; wrap the cables; get the hell out of the way for the next act; let Jeff sign autographs and sell merch; stow/secure the gear back in the car; get stopped by the doorman trying to get back in ‘cause the place is over capacity; finally get through; order two tall Jameson’s (one for me, one for Max); unaware that Rick was ordering two bourbons at the adjacent bar; hand a bourbon off to Jeff; get a funny look from Jeff; watch a well played set by Austin locals, The Antiques; get the sign to bounce; down a Jameson on the rocks; go find Korean BBQ tacos!!!

Sunday Best

Last Day in Austin - I am not going to tell you what Jeff is doing to Rick to make him smile so much!

Last Day in Austin – I am not going to tell you what Jeff is doing to Rick to make him smile so much!

A day off!  No driving, no shows to perform, just an opportunity to run the track at James Bowie High School and injure my left ankle to watch swell up for the remainder of the tour. “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.” No! I am not an action movie cliché (Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon).  I’m fine.  I’m young.  I just need to remind myself to not run like one has lead weights on one’s feet.  Step lightly.  (Jazz nerd reference- Blue Mitchell’s first Blue Note session in 1963, not released until 1980, with Joe Henderson on Tenor Saxophone. – okay, I lost you already, huh?)

I’ll keep this brief because it is not enthralling copy to tell you that I woke up early to go for a run, but with a house full of slumbering band members, I settled back into my sleeping bag to take a listen through the entirety of Beck’s new album, ‘Morning Phase’, that is, until Max woke up.

I loaded Pearl Jam’s ‘X’ on my iPod, injured myself after a 4.5 mile run (aforementioned), and we all headed downtown to catch a fellow Berklee alum friend of Max’s throw down on drums, Country and Western Style back under the oak at Guero’s Taco Bar.

One highlight of the afternoon was perusing the local hipster shirt and craft store, Parts and Labour, on South Congress, to find a collection of Mistaken Lyrics coasters, here are a few of the standouts:

do a little dance
make a little rum
italian ice!
italian ice!

– get down tonight, k.c. and the sunshine band

like a virgin
touched for the 31st time

– like a virgin, Madonna

hold me closer
tony danza
– tiny dancer, elton john

I wanna love you
the bear said,
the bear said I can.
-Hold my Hand, Hootie and the Blowfish

And my personal favorite:

hit me with your pet shark
– hit me with your best shot, pat benatar

After lunching on the free bottomless basket of chips, we proceeded to connect with Lead guitarist extraordinaire, James DePrato (of Megan Slankard, Chuck Prophet, & Angelo Moore) and, drummer, Vicente Rodriguez (of Chuck Prophet, & Angelo Moore) for a half-hearted, but final attempt at a toast of Austin fun times.  I was beginning to find the consumption of beer exhausting, but you can’t leave the city limits without drinking a Pearl.

Pearls!

Pearls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up:

Red Headed Stranger

 

Willie!

Willie!

Think Green

Think Green

Other entries:
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #1
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #2
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #3
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #4
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #5

Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #6
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #7
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #8 – Final Episode

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