rubber tracks

“Out of nowhere a hooded and cloaked figure emerges from the behind soundboard in the back.”

The sun is still rising. I’m somewhere in the country roughly an hour south of the city of Austin.

I’m congested and have a hangover the size of Neptune.

I must keep in mind that this is a marathon and pacing is key. I make my way onto a bus and begin the journey back to the festival. The bus ride takes me through the rural countryside and suburbs. I see cactus and bask in this unfamiliar topography so different from my home in the Northeast.

Once off the bus I’m once again walking up and down W 6th Street, declining flyers and stickers being shelled out left and right. The sun is unforgiving against my hangover, but this is not my first rodeo and it’s all part of the adventure. I’m by myself and dehydrated.

I waltz into El Sol y La Luna around 2:00 and sit at the bar. It’s a nicer place where all the servers are wearing black button down shirts that are tucked in.

I stick out like a sore thumb. It’s cool, shaded, and their waffles are exactly what I need.

I head back to Rio Rita where I was yesterday and get another one of their fantastic Bloody Marys to fight against my headache and congestion. I receive a tip to head to a small and brightly colored venue called Cheer Up Charlies where an old friend of mine is playing in an indie pop group called Social Studies.

Today Cheer Up Charlies is hosting a pop-rock showcase. The room is small, with a capacity of maybe 60 people, but there is a huge patio section. Social Studies cruises through their 20-minute set and announce their last song. “This one is a baby maker, everyone should find a partner and make a baby.” The bass player butts in to remind the crowd that “You don’t have to keep it” and everyone stops for a laugh.

Their singer is speechless. “He makes one non-funny joke a day.” she replies.

The sun has set and my party gets an invitation to hang out with our Allston film crew buddies of Loroto at the Converse Rubber Tracks Studio. They’re video cameras, wires, and film equipment everywhere. These boys have been working like dogs filming bands all day and will continue to do so for the next few days.

We walk by Converse’s Fort stage on the way to Rubber Tracks. My crew has no patience for such an outrageous wait and proceed to Rubber Tracks, which is tucked nearby in an undisclosed location. Upon arrival I’m greeted with a cold Tecate and a band called Young Dreams from Norway are deep in a video shoot.

After the third time through their song it’s stuck in my head.

After much stagnation I decide to leave my friends behind. It’s very important to wander on your own at festivals, step outside of your comfort zone and explore for your own good. I wander back the way I came down 5th once again passing the Converse Fort stage line. It’s even longer than before stretching down many blocks. I start to ask the people at the end of the line who is playing and no one has any idea.

I go back down W 6th Street, which has become swamped with people. Many venues have massive lines coming out of their doors and around almost every corner. I wind up at a bar called the Metal & Lace, a steampunk lounge that is featuring a showcase of metal bands.

At first I’m slightly confused. The schedule says that a band called Assacre is supposed to be playing but the stage is empty. No drum kit, amps, guitars, nothing.

Out of nowhere a hooded and cloaked figure emerges from the behind soundboard in the back.

He is wearing a headlamp, completely covered by a black cloak with reflectors, sunglasses, veil, and a Gibson guitar. Assacre takes to the middle of the crowd and doesn’t hesitate to get in peoples faces as he unleashes his own brand of blackened death thrash. For the first time on the trip, I’m headbanging. He wanders the floor and even leaves the venue out the front door onto Red River Street sidewalk.

It’s gotten late and I’ve forgotten one very important thing: I have no idea where I’m going to stay tonight. I booked my flight and wrongly assumed everything would work itself out as far as sleeping arrangements go. I was wrong. This fact has been hanging over my head for sometime now. It’s late. I cave in and find a hotel for the night 10 miles South of the city.

I can’t wait to stretch out in a real bed tonight, not to mention shower the fresh festy stink off.



Alive culinary pancake performance metal yogi chef from Providence RI, still not loud enough, still not fast enough, where’s my tall boy?


  1. HAHA Billy G (Bil Kwon) is killing it doing live coverage from SXSW! Always love to hear Billy’s voice out and about in the nightlife! Texas aint ready for you buddy!

  2. Pingback: REPORTING LIVE: SXSW 2013 | DigBoston