Hi friends. We went down to South By Southwest in Austin this year and stopped along the way to play shows in Richmond and Chattanooga. Here are a few images to help tell the legendary tale of the two bands that toured to SXSW in a Subaru Outback with no trailer. You've probably already heard our tale referenced in ancient song, but if not, here are some photos.
Never challenge Gabe to a game of Tetris. He has a knack for fitting pieces of things together in a way that they maybe weren't designed for....but it worked. We fit 5 people, 3 guitars, 1 bass, 2 guitar amps, 1 bass amp, a drum kit, hardware, 2 pedal boards, merch, 5 people's luggage, 5 sleeping bags, 2 sleeping pads, and a couple of handcarts in a 2006 Subaru Outback. We win.
Oh right. Add a keyboard to the list up there. I forgot.
This is our first show in Richmond. We Were Pirates teamed up with Gabe, Kate, Pat, and Jesse's other band, The Mean Ideas and played a joint show with The Fire Tapes, from Charlottesville. We met Rob Dobson (bassist for TFP) at a show we played at The Tea Bazaar in Charlottesville. He ran sound. Also, this photo was taken by Shane the bartender at Current. Good dude.
Rob's wife Mary was kind enough to take this photo of our set. Oh and speaking of Charlottesville, our friend James from Penny Pistol was kind enough to make the trip to Richmond to see us play. I have no photographic evidence though. So, you'll have to take my word for it.....or not. Also, thanks so much to Chris from The Trillions for letting us crash on his floor and hang out with his puppies and cats. He has a dog named Jonas. I kept hoping to see a box full of his toys, but no luck. The Trillions are putting a new record out. Check them out. So good.
I took this on our way to Chattanooga. This gas station had an entire display case of pork rinds. Like a 5'x4' display case.....full. Gotta love the south.
We played at JJs in Choo Choo Chattanooga, which was a real treat. A bunch of friends of mine came out from Nashville to see us. Including John Crain, who designed this website that you are currently visiting. Also, thanks to Daniel for letting us borrow his Baby Taylor for our acoustic SXSW show. There was no way we were fitting a full-size acoustic in the Outback.
This is my friend Aaron's band, Holy Smokes! They killed it. Aaron is the bearded, suspendered singer. He used to play bass in We Were Pirates when I formed it in Nashville in 2007. Also, many thanks to my good friend Mark, who let us crash on his floor. His dog George Bailey never really warmed up to us, but I can't really blame him. Who wants a bunch of jerks piled into an Outback like it's a clown car hanging around? No one, that's who.
We stopped after leaving Chattanooga to grab tubes at a Guitar Center and somehow managed to not buy this killer axe they were selling. One of the great regrets of my adult life......Maybe someday.
This is the drive into New Orleans. We had to get up at dawn the next day, to make it to an afternoon show in Austin for SXSW, so we didn't get the full drunken, New Orleans experience. But Gabe's friend Mayaba gave us the abridged version where we did a quick walk through Frenchman and Bourbon Streets. We stopped at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop for a drink. Lafitte's is the oldest continuously occupied bar in the US. It is the real deal too. They've kept the decor about like it was in the 1700s and it was entirely lit by candlelight, when we were in. It was kind of surreal. Thanks to Mayaba for letting us crash at her place!
We tweeted this photo to Subaru to show them what it looks like when a 5-piece band takes an Outback on tour with no trailer.
We had so much stuff in the back, we couldn't fit the Baby Taylor back there, so we took turns holding it on our laps....and at one point had a 2 hour in-car jam session with the Baby Taylor, 2 iPads, an iPhone, and maybe some horn honks for good measure.
Pat and Jesse getting ready to play a Mean Ideas set. Pat is a super champ and played multiple same-day WWP and TMI shows back-to-back. I missed The Mean Ideas set because I ran up the street to try to see comedienne Aparna Nancherla, who used to MC open mic nights that we played a few years back. She now lives in LA and is melting faces all over with her hilariously hilarious comedy. No big deal, she was playing with John Hodgman, Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjiani, Kyle Kinane, and Reggie Watts. Unfortunately, I had to head back to help load out at Molotov, so I didn't get to see her perform. She was a super champ, though, and came out and heard our last song at our show the next day. It was the Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie showcase at Casa Chapala. Many thanks to Dave Mann for setting it up.
Other highlights included seeing a bunch of good friends, Mariah flying in for the day to surprise Gabe, our friend (and ex-Mean Ideas drummer) Jeff and his Mom hanging out, Dave's wife Elise coming out, Nayan and Melanie flying in to play an NRIs set, and the epic kimchi tofu burrito I ate at 2am from Chi'Lantro.
This was one of our favorite shows of the week. We hooked up with Chris Naoum and Listen Local First Mobile Venue and set up on the corner of 5th and Brazzos (street view link) by the food trucks and played a rock show on the side of the road. It was a treat. People were super respectful and hung out and listened and bought records. Very cool experience. Also, Jack Black walked by and nodded at me. Respect. Thanks to Christopher Chen for the photo.
Right after we finished playing the street show, we hopped in the car and headed over to Cherrywood for our in.gredients session. We arrived early and grabbed lunch at East Side Cafe. Definitely recommend it. They grow much of their own food and it is amazing. Plenty of local beers as well. Also, we met Jonathan from Not In The Face. He overheard us talking about looking for a kick drum head for Gabe's irregularly-sized 18" kick drum and recommended Tommy's Drum Shop (which we visited the next day). This whole meeting was especially novel since Gabe and Pat had randomly stumbled into an outdoor NITF set at SXSW our first night in Austin. They're really good. Check 'em out.
After our delicious East Side meal, we headed over to in.gredients up the street and played a few acoustic songs. It was an amazing show. The guys from in.gredients opened up their office to a bunch of bands to come in and play songs and drink beers. It was a blast. So many good bands.
Part of what made the in.gredients show such a blast was that we got to see some old and new friends and hear some great bands. The Loom is a Brooklyn-based band we've had the pleasure of playing with before. They played a couple tracks off their new record. Vio Mire was the other highlight for me. Their set was incredible.
Next time you're in Cherrywood, stop at Thunderbird Coffee for an espresso or a beer. Great decor.
Friday was our day off in Austin and we took full advantage by heading over to Frank to see my cousin Laura's band The Mynabirds. Tom is also an old friend of Kate and Gabe, so it was rad to see him too. Much like the tale of the two bands touring in one Outback, you may also have heard Tom's beard referenced in ancient song. Oh also, Richard Blais from Top Chef sat next to us. Nice dude.
In between shows, we sneaked off to Tommy's Drum Shop to ogle drums like this one. We then headed across the street to a vintage guitar shop, where Pat and I got bored after about an hour of Jesse, Gabe, and Kate playing every guitar/bass in the shop. We hung out with a dude from Macau while he waited to get in to see the animated shorts from SXSW Film. I forget his name.
The good times came to an end on Saturday morning bright and early when we had to get in a car and drive 36 hours straight from Austin to DC. Kate flew back to help Constant Alarm finish their record, so she missed out on being in a cramped car for a day and half with a bunch of sleep-deprived morons. Highlights of the trip included a stop at Larry's Pizza in Arkansas, which we lovingly (not really) renamed Typhoid Larry's. It was not.....clean.
Also, we met up with my friend Daniel in Nashville to return his guitar that he lent us in Chattanooga. He was a real sport and waited up 'til 2am when we got into town. We grabbed coffee/beer at Cafe Coco in Nashville and watched the drunkards stumble around (it was St. Patrick's Day). It was good times. Then, I nearly lost my shit in Kroger over a bottled water and Gabe had to politely tell me to calm down and exit the grocery store without getting arrested. Sleep deprivation does funny things to people.
And finally, we stopped in Harrisonburg to grab Sunday Brunch at The Little Grill. So good. It was a blast from the past for Gabe, who attended JMU way back when. After we ate, we stopped by WXJM and met Darrell. He was a super champ and played our record. We got to listen to it as we were heading back out on the road. It was novel.
As much fun as it was to be on the road for a week, it was nice getting home to my girl and my dog and eat a home-cooked meal.
Thanks for reliving our tour with us through the magic of photographs. If we didn't make it to your town, we will be along shortly. Thanks again to our friend Dave Mann and Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie, the guys from in.gredients, everyone at Listen Local First DC, Molotov, Casa Chapala, Adam from Ontology Productions, The Fire Tapes, Current, JJs Bohemia, Aaron and Rachel, Holy Smokes!, Mark, Mayaba, Chris, everyone who made the trip from Nashville to Chattanooga, and anyone else I'm forgetting.