We had an insanely fun time yesterday afternoon throwing the first ever Gimme Noise day party in Austin in partnership with First Avenue. The party was hopping from the get-go, thanks in part to the free beer offered up by Tiger, and we were thrilled to see a huge contingent of Minnesota natives come out to the party to show their support, including recent LA transplant Dan Wilson, Lori Barbero (who spends her winters in Austin and summers in her hometown of Minneapolis), and Twin/Tone founder and Replacements manager Peter Jesperson.
All of the bands on our bill put on killer shows, too. The Goondas started things off strong by playing like it was their only show at SXSW (which it was), and Brenden Green decided to celebrate by climbing up the wall on the side of the stage and falling down into slump behind some curtains, breaking his mic stand, and laying down to play dead in the middle of the stage to play dead. All while singing, of course.
Marijuana Deathsquads played a scaled-down set without their drummers, with Ryan Olson leading Stef Alexander, Spyder Baybie, Isaac Gale, and Mark McGee through two funky, stretched-out improvisational songs that were so hot they almost shorted out the club's new soundboard.
"Man, it's early," Sick of Sarah frontwoman Abisha Uhl sighed between songs. "Everyone should go get a bloody mary." The band didn't show any signs of fatigue, however, as they pummeled through a set of righteous songs about heartbreak. "I forgot what rock and roll feels like!" Jeremy Messersmith marveled from the sidelines as he prepared to take the stage.
Meanwhile, several major club bookers (Sonia Grover of First Avenue, who helped put together the day party, plus Jason Aukes from the Cabooze, former Cabooze booker Taco Martin, and Kim King from the Fine Line) convened near the back of the club. "We just get so much done here," King said, referring to the odd but true fact that Austin serves as a great bonding experience and professional catalyst for so many of the Twin Cities' music industry folks.
"If a bomb goes off today @gimme_noise party, MN will lose all its club bookers," Chris Riemenschneider from the Star Tribune tweeted . "The music critics would be easier to replace."
Messersmith brought along his full band for his performance, including a three-piece string section (which became a string quartet when Dan Lawonn switched to cello). The crowd filled to nearly capacity during Messersmith's set, and we hear that a good portion of the onlookers were industry folks and agents.
Jeremy Messersmith with guitarist Peter Sieve (who normally plays with Rogue Valley)
Next up was Sims, who worked his ass off to keep the crowd pressing forward and demanded that we all stand up and come gather around him. The Doomtree rapper was in high spirits, joking that he didn't even know what day it was anymore and playfully teasing the crowd throughout his punchy set. "He's on fire today!" Lori Barbero exclaimed. She was right.
The room started to get more crowded again during Solid Gold, who debuted a few of their new songs and kept the crowd rapt, and the venue had reached capacity with a line out the door by the time they finished their set.
Tapes 'n Tapes closed out the party, fresh off an overnight drive from San Diego, where they had a gig the night before. They played a tight set that flowed seamlessly from one song into the next, peaking with a full crowd sing-along to "Insistor."
By all accounts, our first SXSW party was a great success. Here's to next year!