So back in early March I headed out to SXSW with a band called "The Blackout Party". I had previously worked with them on a music video and my impression of them was they seemed like a cool rowdy bunch. While in Julian we had discussed me going to south by with them, over many drinks I might add. The subject was pretty much dropped after the trip and I figured the offer was more token than serious, then in late February I got a call from the boys asking if I would still be interested in making the trip, I jumped at the chance.
Fast forward a few weeks and I was piling myself, a back pack full of clothes, and some gear into a 15 passenger van filled with all they boys and their gear! And settled in for the 24 hour drive to Austin. Needless to say a lot of talking, bonding, and goofing around took place over the next 22 hours.
If you've never driven from San Diego to Texas its certainly and interesting experience, West Texas is essentially a wasteland devoid of any signs of civilization although there's not much to see as you're zipping through the state at 80mph (the speed limit, even the state of Texas knows people are just trying to get the hell thru the Western end of the state).To be honest other than a few funny stories (which I won't get into here) the entire drive was just a blur of gas stations and truck stops where everyone would seize the opportunity to get out of the van and stretch/pee, and of course stock up on the ever important "road snacks"
Ultimately there's not that much to do when you're stuck in a van for 22 hours, and sleep happens eventually (sorry guys)
We rolled into Austin at about 11am (Austin time) and after making a quick (and much needed) stop at a liquor store we headed to a friend of the bands house to relax.
That evening friend of the band Ian Kasnoff showed us around to a few of the local spots where we took turns retelling crazy road stories from the drive out.
Honestly a lot of the trip is a blur, even sitting down to write this post now with all the photos in front of me SXSW just seems like a whirl wind so lets skip ahead to my favorite parts shall we?
By far one of my favorite venues of the trip was a bar called the luster pearl, the bar is located on a block just outside of downtown Austin called Rainey St. which consists exclusively of bars that are converted 1940's era houses. Saying that the Luster Pearl has character is to say the ocean is moist, the entire bar is something out of a dream so needless to say after the boys performed there we stuck around just taking it all in (the pearl by the way would become our go to spot, not only for the amazing atmosphere but also the awesome people we met there.
The Blackout Party also had the privileged to play a bar called The Continental Club located in South Austin which is widely regarded as one of the top 10 venues to see live music in the united states (don't believe me? Look it up, seriously).
Somewhere in the mix there was a house party they boys played at, it was a day show and things had just been getting started when the blackout boys took the... uh... livingroom for their performance, on a playbill that consisted mostly of folk bands and singer songwriters nobody quite knew what heading for them. The boys cranked up their amps and jammed out an awesome set which included a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", many of the party goers observed the spectacle slack jawed, although its hard to tell whether it was from the crazy tunes being laid out before them or from the gigantic leap from easy listening folk acoustic to what I refer to lovingly as dirty swamp rock; all I can say is there were about 7 guys from the thrasher skate team that mobbed the band after their set practically demanding CD's.
Finally the time had come for they boys last show of the tour which was to be the coup de grace of the trip, the Sector 9/Transworld Skate party at Wahoo's on 6th street in Austin, right smack dead center in all the madness which was SXSW. Upon a arrival we saw a line out the door of patrons waiting to enter and as we loaded in the gear you could sense a strange energy in the air, things were about to go nuts. The blackout boys took the stage and put on, what I can honestly say, one of the craziest performances I have ever seen,
during one of the songs guitarist Daniel Crawford snapped the neck of his guitar bouncing it off a cymbal and without missing a beat used the splintered remains of the head stock to beat said cymbal into submission until it too was broken. Crazy.
I'll probably be telling stories from this trip til the day I die, I can honestly say that agreeing to go on this trip was one of the best decisions I have ever made and that I now regard the boys from the blackout party as family, its just gonna be hard to explain to my family who the 5 random guys are at Christmas dinner, thanks for reading for more photos please visit www.armonvahidi.com .