SXSW travelogue: Take to the Oars checks in from the streets of Austin

Categories: SXSW

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courtesy of Take to the Oars
Mikey T (from left), Magic Cyclops, Chris Weaver and Chris's beard throwing down at Peckerheads.

There is a place somewhere in the pacific ocean that is essentially a cesspool for plastic waste and various other bits of debris and man-made trash. The rudimentary physics and science behind this collection is that all ocean currents from all over the world eventually whirlpool and cycle through the area. The plastic deposits are broken down to such small particles that they are basically omnipresent in the water.

I know what you are thinking: "Dude, you're, like, totally bumming me out, and there is not an apparent connection to whatever the hell is going on down in Austin." Fair point, but I guess what I'm trying to say -- and here comes the metaphor -- is that with over 5,000 bands descending upon Austin from all over the place, it kind of has a whirlpool effect.

No matter how big or small of a band you are, the annual Austin voyage has become an all important rite of passage. Also, it needs to be noted that this year, there are laser beams, mounted on the top of buildings, that shoot out over Sixth Street...so we got that going for us, which is nice. The scene at night feels like Blade Runner meets that weird rave-party scene in the crappy Matrix movie (not the first one; that is still pretty impressive, and i'm not a huge Keanu fan -- although he slayed in Point Break). In fact if someone from 1985 was magically transported to the heart of Austin during SX, they would seriously lose their shit. The future is now, brother!

I'm obviously a bit scattered brained and running on fumes at this point. I'm also, currently, in terrible need of a shower. Friday was yet another epic day in Austin. We played our last show at 9 p.m. at Peckerheads on Sixth Street. The great Kyle Simmons and Sarah Slaton joined us on stage for our closing song, and I think it must have been 150 degrees in the venue at that point. When is the last time you remember your knees sweating? The second annual Illegal Pete's Showcase was jam packed with not only faithful Denverites, but also industry folk and other sweaty lovers of music trying to get a front row look at the scene coming out of Colorado.

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Take to the Oars at Illegal Pete's Starving Artist Showcase at Peckerheads with Kyle Simmons.

Take To The Oars was honored to be part of such a great line up. The energy and camaraderie was uplifting and infectious. I have to give a shout out (like rappers do) to Pete Turner of Illegal Pete's, Ben Desoto, the Vinefield Agency and everyone else who made this happen. I said it last year, and I'll say it again. I've never been a part of music scene that supports each other as much as Denver does. It's pretty inspiring and makes for a great party! Fairchildren, Nathaniel Rateliff, Flashbulb Fires and the Epilogues, amongst others, weighed in with amazing, well received sets.

Before the Illegal Pete's showcase, we had quite the full day. Sarah got our brand new video for our song "Bar Talk" reviewed and critiqued by a panel of industry people, including Andrew W.K. He is famous for a few things, including hitting himself in the face with his microphone until his nose bleeds. I can't wait to see his notes.

Meanwhile the rest of us caught a set by a band called the Suicide Bitches. Seriously! -- and here's the thing -- they were pretty good and also from Chile. The afternoon really got started with a couple free beers and blistering sets by Ft. Collins band Common Anomaly, followed by Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. A text came in from a buddy that The Black Angels were playing a free-no-badge-required party nine blocks east of where we were. We hoofed it down there and caught the last twenty minutes of their reverb drenched show.

Kyle Simmons has three broken toes, so we decided to spring for a pedicab back to the heart of Sixth Street to get ready for our show. I can't believe there isn't anything doctors can do for broken toes -- it just seems odd to me with how technologically advanced we are as a society. I guess the moral of the story is: It just doesn't get much better than free music, sunshine and a cold beverage.

- Ryan Gombeski

Page down to read the previous SXSW travelogue entry

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