Everyone's favourite punk-pop pranksters Fight Like Apes report exclusively from their recent trips to Canadian Music Week and the South By South West indie festival in Austin, Texas.
Saturday March 8, 2008.
Toronto, Canada. Day One of CMW.
After a night of flatulence and whiskey we arose at 10am and ate eight eggs. Dave informed us over breakfast that he had held hands last night with a Polish woman, who had seen too much of life but couldn’t quite seal any form of agreement. He went to bed lonely but warm.
An odd German man who didn’t realise we had booked the whole room came in, proceeded to make his bed, lay his boots in the corner and take pictures of Jamie asleep. He was removed 28 minutes later and has since been spotted skulking about the reception area looking for pills.
Delorentos and Paddy Casey’s flight has been cancelled, so unfortunately Delorentos won’t be able to make it – but we’ve just gotten word that Paddy Casey is attempting to ‘brave the weather’ (the worst snow-storm in Canada’s history) and somehow make it to the gig... on foot. A lonely guitar-toting soldier versus the world. God speed.
Fox just tried to share a shower with two girls by suggesting a ‘water-sharing agreement’. His concern for the environment is admirable. The girls unfortunately were not so concerned. The wasteful bitches.
The HideOut venue seemed very far away, especially when you’re dragging gear through the snow. Still, the gig was a laugh.
Paddy Casey didn’t show. We were all very disappointed, but we got 27 free drinks.
David held hands with a Japanese girl but again, he couldn’t form an agreement. Serious our-heads-are-sore-day tomorrow, methinks...
Sunday March 9th, 2008.
Toronto, Canada. Day off.
I was unwell today. Quite unwell. The boys went off exploring. I went to brush my teeth and when I returned my key wouldn’t work. Went down to reception to get a new one, and the lovely Delorentos boys were there. They went off to eat things.
I stayed in bed all day, listening to the Juno soundtrack. The boys returned from exploring and are now all in bed as well. We are listening to Kimya Dawson.
Not much else happened. By about 11.30 me, Jamie, Tom and Adrian had fallen asleep in the room, all quite looking forward to waking up with a fresh head the next day. Just as I fell into a lovely dream involving TV’s Patrick Duffy, Kieran and Neil Delos rammed the door, forced us out of our beds and into the bar. Kieran beat David in a jumping contest and then we all left to go to the HideOut. Free beers and shots. Mmmm. Lock-in until 7am. Bad idea.
Monday March 10, 2008.
Continental Airlines. Austin, Texas via Cleveland.
Apparently Cleveland is very like Nothingham. I don’t really know what that means. We woke around 11am to learn we had to leave the hostel. We sent that Bray lad who does our sound down to wangle a few hours extra kip. We woke again around 1pm and had breakfast with Kieran from Delorentos – a fry cooked in a wok with salad. Who cooks a fry in a wok? And more importantly who eats salad with a fry?
Serious taxi to the airport at 3. Another gruelling immigration experience. This time me and May got the grilling – May in one room, me in the other being quizzed on everything from why May had a bit of excess brown tape on one of our cases, to why I was wearing a scarf and hat and only one glove. They asked more serious questions, of course. “What band are you in, Miss?” I am not a miss! Eventually they gave up and left us alone.
The plane was delayed, as all planes are. May and I were put in row three while the rest of the lads were in row 16. Serious first class? Not quite.
To this moment I’m still convinced that the air hostess left the plane-door ajar. It was genuinely the coldest experience of my life. My lack of a right glove was suddenly worrying.
We ate pretzels half-way through the flight. At Cleveland, Tom had skittles. We arrived in Austin at about 2 am. Found our hotel. An attempt made at going out but such hopes were squashed when we found out that Texas was closed for the night. Went to bed, ate microwaved chicken sandwiches and watched The X-Files. I’m fucking mad about Scully – to this day.
Tuesday March 11, 2008.
9.30am. Our first morning in Texas. Awoken by a very excited Jamie who enquired as to whether or not I might go with him into the city to purchase a pair of swimming trunks. He’d discovered a swimming pool the night before. He then realised it was only 9.30am and went back to bed.
Approximately three hours later everyone was up, David was putting on his swimming shorts, Adrian was brushing his teeth, Tom was drying out some citrus fruits and Jamie had begun to announce that he had found in his case a ‘swimming trunk/underwear hybrid’.
And he wasn’t wrong. After a lot of excitement and an ice-cream sandwich for breakfast myself, Dave and Jamie went down to the pool. The two boys jumped in, said it was too cold and jumped straight back out.
We went looking for a bus to go to the city. There was none and David said we couldn’t hitch because we’d get shot. We got two cabs into the centre of Austin and went to register for SXSW at the Austin Convention Centre. It was simple enough, except me and Dave lost everyone else. Or they lost us. Mmmmm...
We went to Stubbs for beef brisket and, on our way, for some early drinks. Bumped into Brian Bradley (Forever Presents) and Gugai from the Roisin Dubh. That is to say Gugai accosted us on the street and made us do some flaming Doctor Peppers with him. Impressive, I must admit. Six or seven drinks later we parted ways. Gugai went to get a tattoo he’d been waiting to get done for 10 years, Brian Bradley went to drink water and we went to this really cool vinyl store called Waterloo. Rumour said it had a bar in it. Sadly, it didn’t.
I listened to the new Stephen Malkmus album. Relatively unimpressed, I didn’t buy it. I probably will later – but every $11.99 counts in Texas.
Word came in that the Von Bondies were playing an unofficial show in Emo’s down the road.
We met Jason and Don from the Von Bondies outside the venue and they hoaxed us upstairs to the VIP room. It was the strangest private party I’ve ever been at. All music was provided by Leanne Von Bondie on Guitar Hero. The drinks were free but there was no hard liquor. They had tiny hamburgers and amazing toasties and, to top it all off, there was a Camel rep there handing out free boxes of cigarettes. I took plenty.
The Von Bondies show was great. We’ve probably seen them 12 times in the last few weeks and they just keep getting better. Afterwards, inspired by a rumour that Delorentos were playing, we headed to Coyote Ugly. Unless the lads have gone through a serious change of direction and decided to dance on bars and look pretty, Delorentos certainly weren’t there. Damn that Gugai lad with his misinformation.
We headed down to Bull McCabe’s. A few drinks there and we were worse for wear. We retreated back to the place of tiny hamburgers, ate our fill and headed back to the hotel. A good first day in Texas by all accounts.
Wednesday March 12, 2008.
We woke up to find our manager sunbathing by the pool, wearing all black clothes, a pair of sunglasses and a hood. He’d arrived during the night and there was some debate as to whether or not he’d gone to his room at all.
Headed to the Austin Convention Center to check out Saul Williams – it was probably the most unrehearsed gig ever. Still, even when Saul Williams is off, he’s pretty good.
Downstairs in the Convention Center we found a huge pool of lego. Four spaceships and a pirate ship later and it was time to go to Sixth Street for happy hour. We drank Lonestar beers and mouthwash disguised as shots and the rest of the guys ate some of the crustiest tacos I’ve ever seen.
There weren’t too many gigs on the agenda, so we decided to go to Emo’s upstairs to play Guitar Hero and pool, before heading downstairs to watch Be Your Own Pet. At one stage during the gig I managed to accidentally give Zane Lowe a “knuckle supper”. Well, it was more of an elbow really. He looked unamused.
Afterwards, went to see Elf Power with the Von Bondies. I’d been a fan of them for quite some time, so I was exited. Turns out they’re really shit live. I was extremely disappointed that I’d missed Kimya Dawson to see such a car crash of a gig. We decided to take Elf Power off our influences list.
Thursday March 13th, 2008.
We had to be at the venue early so we got up at 8am. There were rumours of a serious breakfast down in B.D Riley’s, the venue we were playing.
Turns out they put fennel in the sausages here. We ate them anyway. The eggs were good. You need eggs in your diet.
Paddy Casey, we heard, was definitely gonna make it this time. Apparently, he walked all the way from Canada, through the deserts, subsisting on scorpions and peyote and sleeping in his guitar case.
The show went really well. It was probably the hottest stage I’ve ever been on. I broke a pot over a bannister during the first song. May had gone down to the hotel reception looking for a kettle and they gave her a pot. So street justice was in order.
We headed down to the Austin Music Hall to see Yo la Tengo and My Morning Jacket. But we missed Yo la Tengo – I was gutted. Austin is such a strange place, though, that missing one of your favourite bands doesn’t feel like such a big deal because there’s so much going on and you know you will be compensated.
My Morning Jacket were great – although the sound was pretty bad.
Friday March 14, 2008.
Very lazy day today. We didn’t have to be in The Soho Lounge until half-six, so we ordered Domino’s (our healthiest meal in the last 10 days) and fried our brains with wonderful American TV. I also went to the shop and was chuffed to be told I had really good English after telling a Texan I was from Ireland.
The gig went even better then yesterday’s. Jason, Don and Leann from the Von Bondies came on stage for ‘Battlestations’ at the very end, which was very cool, considering we’d spent the preceding two weeks supporting them. Aw!
Also, Ellie from Los Campesinos! emailed us to say a couple of them had come to the gig to see us, and loved it. I think that makes us friends now...
Credibility alert: It’s still a bit up in the air as to whether or not the events of the next couple of hours actually occurred or if they were just figments of our tormented and traumatised imaginations. We’ve talked about it amongst ourselves every 20 minutes or so since, just to reassure ourselves that we weren’t alone.
Essentially we had befriended a lovely waitress by the name of Mindy and naturally during the course of the conversation we named the hotel we were staying at. She seemed harmless, innocent and very sweet, so when we arrived back at our hotel to find her waiting for us, we weren’t too concerned. That was until her boyfriend and his friends arrived. In walk two neo-Nazis built like brick shithouses and sporting swastika tatoos, Iron Crosses, the works. Straight out of prison too! And with them they brought a crack addict, who we’ve since named Skrag.
How do you tell a neo-Nazi to leave your hotel without seeming rude? Serious million dollar question. You don’t. You stay in reception, you pretend you don’t have a room and you don’t let Skrag touch you because chances are she’s trying to rob your skin.
Anyway without further ado we all went to the toilet at the same time and hid in the cubicle 'til they went home. I think they may have murdered Skrag and left her in the bin – but we have no evidence of this, nor indeed any desire to look in the bin.
Fight Like Apes xx
Fight Like Apes play a BudRising gig at The Village, Dublin, on April 13 as special guests of Future Of The Left. For a full list of their April dates see What's Going On, or log on to hotpress.com
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