Austin Spaceships

October 20, 2008 at 10:30 am 14 comments

I’ve been delaying my write-up of Austin because there is just so much to talk about, I don’t even know where to start! If you want the short story – here ’tis:

Austin, Texas is exactly the type of town I wish I lived in, and it reminded me of how much I loved living in a “smaller big city” like Portland.

Would you like the long story? After the break, dear reader.

The circumstances of me going to Austin were part good luck/bad luck. I had originally bought a ticket to Washington to visit a friend, but when that fell through in the most heinous way possible, I was stuck with 300 dollars of credit for Southwest Airlines. Credit is the operative word here, because there was no way I could get a refund. So I began searching for a way to spend as much of that 300 dollars on a flight somewhere – a vacation to someplace I’ve never been before. New York was on the top of my list because my friend Stacy just moved there and she kept bugging me to get out there and visit, but I wanted her to be a little more established before going. The dates for the flight to Washington were coming up quick, so I just booked a flight to Austin for late July/early August.

Then Boston Spaceships announced their limited east coast tour, and by wonderful coincidence they were playing a date in Austin. I changed my ticket once again and contacted my friend in Austin and told her when I’d be coming.

So Rocktober rolls around and I flew into Austin, prepared to rent a car and get a hotel room because I’ve been living in Los Angeles for so long now that I have a warped sense of city scale. Instead, Micheala picked me up and dropped me off a few minutes later right downtown, a few blocks away from where I’d be meeting fellow Boston Spaceships fans and see the concert.

This was parked right outside the bar I first visited.

I walked around a little bit and immediately took off my flannel shirt as it was much warmer than I anticipated. The humidity has something to do with that. It was also pretty grey and it looked like rain. I decided to go and find “The Jackalope” where I would be killing a few hours before the concert. (I strongly encourage you to click that link and check out the Yelp pictures).  And by a few hours, I mean like 5 hours.

A preamble about 6th street. Micheala told me that 6th street is the “party street” that fills up with college kids at night and it sort of sucks. My heart sank. However, when I told her I was going to “The Jackalope” and eventually “The Parish” for the concert, she informed me that these were 2 of the good places. Huzzah!

“The Jackalope” is a really, really great bar. This would be a bar that I would be amazed to find in Los Angeles. However, if this bar was in Los Angeles it would be filled with a bunch of pretentious jerks wearing Ugg boots and skinny 300 dollar jeans. This was 3 in the afternoon and the place was peppered with locals and very cool bartenders. I went up and ordered a Lone Star ($2.50, thank you very much) and told the bartender I just got into town and I was looking for some good record stores. He told me where to start, but I decided to relax with my beer and order a burger.

I went back to the kitchen and the cook was playing “Search and Destroy,” but it sounded live and different. I asked him about it and it was the Hellacopters! It sounded great. I decided on the “Blackened Caeser Burger” and paid a cool 5 bucks for the pleasure. What came out 15 minutes later was one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had. And I’m president of Hamburger club. Delicious hamburger, seasoned and blackened, mixed with a Caeser salad in the burger. It was huge, it was tasty, it was awesome.

It started to sprinkle out, and I decided I had the entire next day to walk around Austin, so I decided to just stay there and drink and play pool. Everyone was insanely friendly! Maybe there were just insane? No.. that’s the cynical Los Angeles coming out… these people were genuinely good natured and friendly.

Eventually some Boston Spaceships fans started showing up and I talked with them for a few hours. I went down and picked up a pair of tickets for Micheala and her boyfriend Christopher, and eventually we sauntered down to the Parish before the show.

The show. I’ve been to a few concerts (quite a few less in Los Angeles than in Oregon), but this was the best show I’ve ever been to.

First off, the venue was small but very open – my favorite kind of venue because it allows a semi large group to get intimate with the band. The first band that went on was “The Hold Steady,” and me and Micheala agreed that the lead singer looks like Paulie Shore. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of him.

The Holdy Steady

This band was good by unremarkable. I ran to the bathroom and there was Robert Pollard along with the rest of the Boston Spaceships watching the Hold Steady. I went up and shook his hand and said “I flew in from L.A. just to see your show!” He said something like right on, and I gave a thumbs up to everyone (including Tommy Keene, if I’m not mistaken) and then went to the bathroom. I came back out and walked past them and one of the guys I met at The Jackalope said “how was that?” “How was what, the pee?” And he said “no.. shaking Robert Pollard’s hand!” and I said “like anyone else’s hand. You can probably do it too, bub. He’s about 15 feet away.”

I took the rest of the first band’s time to try and figure out the features on my new camera. Friends – here is some advice. If you buy a new camera specifically for a trip (more importantly, a concert) then take the time to figure out all the doohickeys before you dive into your 12th Lone Star of the night. Because as you are about to see… I sucked at taking pictures with this camera.

This is a guy I met, and I forgot his name. But he’s wearing an “Electrifying Conclusion” final GBV concert t-shirt, and he was awesome. We hung out most of the night. Look at my sweaty armpit… it was very hot in there. Texas!

^^ Armpit ^^

Here is one of Micheala and the liquid of choice:

Lone Star – cheap as hell and smoother than Pabst.

Micheala and Christopher

Finally, Boston Spaceships came on. I’m not going to write much about it, as it will devalue what will be sure to be the hardest rocking concert I have ever been to.

They played a lot of songs.

They encored with “Motor Away,” “Crutch Came Slinking,” and many many others. There were many Suitcase songs. There was “You Satisfy Me.” There was (excuse my language) fucking “Game of Pricks!”

Life changing.

Robert Pollard

Tommy Keene

After the show, we all went to “Lovejoys” where I miraculously drank for free. I finally decided to stumble home to East Austin. I took a few blurry pictures along the way. Can I tell you how bad I am at taking pictures?

The next morning it was raining pretty hard… a “freak storm.” I didn’t mind! I walked around all day. I went and got lunch at “The Screaming Goat,” a delicious Mexican food place. I was soaked by this point, so I took a little time to dry off and enjoy looking out at the rain.

After lunch, I walked down to two INDEPENDENT record stores, and I was absolutely floored at their selection. I picked up two CDs: The The‘s “Dusk” (a masterpiece that my first girlfriend listened to, but I never caught on to) and The Duke Spirit‘s “Neptune” (haven’t listened much to it yet). There were so many T-Bone Burnett albums in the record bin for 5 bucks, it was really hard for me to not snap them all up. But I didn’t want to carry vinyl around in the rain and on an airplane, so I passed. I will be back for you!

Eventually I met up with Micheala and Christopher and we ate dinner and checked out a couple local bars (as in they were 3 blocks from their place and they were amazing). Each bar was small and unassuming – warm and comfortable, unpretentious and full of local art. Almost every bar has a patio, unless the entire bar is outside (like one I visited the next day). This was my scene.

The next day I went on a bigger tour of Austin, and I forgot my camera. However, I did take a few pictures when me and Micheala went to a 50 year old miniature golf course where you can bring your own beer. Yes.. you read that right. Amazing.


Micheala and a bowling pin dog.

On the way to the airport, we stopped by a bar and played some pool and had a final Lone Star. Did I mention that every bar also serves High Life? And another Texas beer called “Fireman’s 4” which was an absolutely delicious blonde ale. If it sounds like I went to a lot of bars, its because every bar is also a restaurant that serves the most amazing cheap food. And these places were too good to pass up.

Caw! at the Longbranch Inn

As I got on my plane, I was very bummed to be leaving Austin. I did so much stuff there, I had to leave out half of it out of this post – and I was only there 3 days! It was very energizing to see old friends and be in a city that I really enjoyed. Best vacation ever? Probably. Will I be going back? Most definitely. Austin is the perfect sized city, the cost of living isn’t over-inflated like most west coast cities, there are rivers for swimming and deserts and mountains for exploring. The complete lack of pretension by every single person I met was refreshing and made me feel at home immediately. From the guy who I played pool with on his birthday to the bartender who showed me the Texas way to order a Fireman’s 4 to the entire group of people I met at the Boston Spaceships show:

Salut! I am honored to visit Austin, and let’s just put this out there in the open: I want to move there immediately.


Entry filed under: High Kicks, Travel.

Austin “You Satisfy Me” Live


  • 1. Charley  |  October 20, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Booooooo! Where’s the trip report?!?!? BOOOOOO!

  • 2. T  |  October 21, 2008 at 8:57 am

    You did this with the premier of Star Wars. A huge build up and then I don’t remember seeing a proper review. I want details of Austin, and I want it NOW!

  • 3. Robert  |  October 21, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Hey! That was Indiana Jones, and I’m writing this thing as we speak!

  • 4. Kiala  |  October 21, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I’m waiting.

    Not patiently.

  • 5. Robert  |  October 21, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Post updated! Now you all look like fools!

  • 6. melissalion  |  October 21, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Oh that was a great post! Where was the rib eating despite the whole “I don’t like ribs” thing.

  • 7. Jen  |  October 21, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    From this angle, that guy in The Hold Steady looks totally like “Jeremy Sisto”. Glad you had such a great time!

  • 8. Jen  |  October 21, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Boo. It didn’t work. Whatever. He’s the medical student in “Suicide Kings.”

  • 9. melissa  |  October 21, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Yay! I love hearing about good trips.

  • 10. Kiala  |  October 22, 2008 at 11:39 am

    You touched his hand! See? Aren’t GBV fans the best? They love to hug and sing and drink! I love all of those things!

    I’m so happy for you.

  • 11. Robert  |  October 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Ribs are messy and tough to eat!

    Jen – I haven’t seen Suicide Kings in a million years, but I looked up pictures are you are right. Maybe… maybe it was him. Him and Pauly Shore.

    And yes… GBV fans are the best ever. Good trip for a good band with good people in a good city with good food and some good beers and good good good good good good……….

  • 12. alex  |  October 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    You know, if you flip good around and take out an o it spells dog and it you put a shit after that it spells dog shit and that’s what I think LA is after hearing all about your rad time in Austin.

    Living the dream,


  • 13. Robert  |  October 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    You mastery of words once again leaves me in shock and awe, Alex.

    Just like Iraq.

  • 14. alex  |  October 23, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Sue me.

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