The whiteness of the whale
Austin, TX–Saturday, September 9
I wake up three hours before everyone else, in order to work—see previous entry for latest screwup.
My friend from college, an aspiring Texas politician, picks us up at the palatial digs and takes us out to breakfast at a place that Bill Clinton loves (he even has a dish named after him—El Presidente). After that we drive around Austin, which is beautiful. First, we tour the capital. The building is spectacular, bigger than the nation’s capital (Texas!). The exterior is pink and there are stars everywhere—the ceiling, the fence, the floor, the walls. You could eat off the marble floors. Next we go to Mount Bunnell to get a view of the city. The collection of beer bottles in the bushes implies that this is high school party central.
We go home and get ready for the show that night at Emo’s. As I’m getting dressed, I pull a quick phoner with a tshirt designer (see above).
We are scheduled on a cool radio show called Ear Candy, so before load-in, we hit the studio. Our friend Ramesh from Voxtrot shows up, which is good because he has more to say than we do. Any story I can think to share with the listeners is inappropriate for public consumption. Our brains are mush. An old friend of Nick’s calls in and announces she will be coming to the show. Last time Nick saw her, she was living in Montreal—he keeps asking if this is a joke.
There is a huge football game going on—UT vs OSU, which has turned the entire area of the club into a terrifying sea of orange-clad beer swillers. After load-in we try to find a place to get some food and a drink. But every bar is packed with football fans.
Finally, after wandering in circles for half an hour, we find a modest little tea house. It is creepily deserted, except for one other group of customers. “White Whale,” I say to Nick, referring to the band we’re opening for. I have no idea what White Whale look like, but have learned that bands often cross paths in a city because we’re all looking for the same two things—record albums and decent food.
The owners of the restaurant are so sweet and make us a special flavor of bubble tea that involves taro. We stay there forever, so happy to have peace and quiet and some healthy Korean food.
Back at the club, Emo’s, my new Austin friends have shown up—after drinking all day. They are totally fired up, and hilarious. The Longhorns’ loss has put a damper on the whole 6th Street corridor, so these folks’ wild energy is like a public service at this point.
The whole roster tonight is awesome, and White Whale in particular blow my mind. We meet some really great people afterwards, especially a woman named Mikele who has driven four hours to see us because she was convinced we’d never visit Texas. I buy a White Whale tshirt because a) the graphic looks like the creature from The Neverending Story b) I have no more clean clothes.
Intriguing bathroom graffiti: “Women who date married men should never wear mascara.”
Tonight is the single most hellish load out experience of my life. The Longhorns fans and a large rap concert have simultaneous discharged onto one street. The sidewalks are swarming like I’ve never seen before; this must be what Mardi Gras is like. As we carry load after load out the club and to the car–parked a black away–I’m getting shoved, blocked, yelled at. It takes us over an hour to travel the 3 miles home, but we’re alive.