Archive for the 'Road Trip' Category

SXSW 2008 Day 4 Recap

SXSW 2008 - Austin

03/24/2008 – SXSW Day 4 Recap – Saturday is the last big day of the music festival and in years past it’s been one of the most intense as you try and see every band you’ve missed all week, and check off all those final “must-do” items. One of the first things that I wanted to check off my list was Flatstock. Flatstock is a fantastic concert poster showcase featuring around 100 artists. I could have spent $1000 in there, but I managed to get out of there with just two great Spoon posters and a few buttons.

SXSW 2008 - Film School

From there I headed briefly over to the Paste party for some food and drinks before heading up to the Mohawk to see Film School rock the crowd with their My Bloody Valentine sound.

SXSW 2008 - Big crowd!

SXSW 2008 - Brian and Eugene

SXSW 2008 - Atlas Sound

Day 75 - 3/15/2008 - Brian Posehn

SXSW 2008 - Matt & Kim

SXSW 2008 - The Breeders

Super Deluxe was sponsoring a huge day party called Mess With Texas 2 at Waterloo Park, and that’s where I spent the remainder of the day before the night shows. There were a million cool bands and hilarious comedians. I got to see Atlanta’s own Atlas Sound, Kimya Dawson, Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman, Aziz Ansari, Reggie Watts, Tig Nataro, Hard ‘n Phirm, Paul F. Tompkins, Brian Posehn, Human Giant, Matt & Kim, and The Breeders!

After a long sunburnt day spent under the Texas sun I was ready for the final night shows to get started. I didn’t really have any “must-see” shows tonight so I just winged it all night. First up was a nice set by Georgie James at the Dirty Dog. The band was quiet and the club was loud so I was straining to really catch everything. Next up was Neva Dinova, they had a nice guitar heavy sound and I stayed for most all of their set before heading over to the Parish to try and catch Los Campesinos!

SXSW 2008 - Los Campesinos!

There was a big line outside but it quickly moved inside and I made it upstairs just in time to watch the band set up for 30 minutes. They tore their set and played my favorite “Tonight I Have to Leave it” to finish out the night. Well, the end of the evening was quickly approaching and I was done. I stuck my head in a few bars on the way back to the car and picked up a big slice of pizza for the walk. Every year I want the festival to last one more day, yet I’m totally exhausted by this point. One more short day in Austin and I’d be home.

SXSW 2008 - Sixth Street

Day 4 in the books. (Photos)

SXSW 2008 Day 3 Recap

SXSW 2008 - Obama 08

03/21/2008 – SXSW Day 3 Recap – By Friday morning I was finally in the swing of things. It always takes a few days to get your schedule lined up with your endurance. This is a marathon, not a sprint after all. I slept in a little bit and then headed down to the convention center to grab some food and drinks at the Australian BBQ and then headed over to the Paste party to start the day of rock.

When I arrived Lightspeed Champion had already started his set. I really enjoyed his stage presence and his original songs. He’s made a challenge to himself to play a different Weezer cover at every show, and today he played Perfect Situation off of Make Believe.

SXSW 2008 - The Weakerthans

After their set I was ready for my second show by The Weakerthans in about 14 hours. Yes, they we’re up next and I couldn’t wait. I positioned myself right in the middle and rocked out the entire time. They played a slightly different set, and it was great. NPR was there recording the show. You can stream it HERE.

Next up I headed back of to the Australian BBQ and caught The Vines before heading over to check out the Spin party at Stubb’s and She & Him at the Yaris outside stage. That was completely packed so after a song I went over to Emo’s a got to see a fun set by Bon Iver.

SXSW 2008 - Vampire Weekend

Back at Stubb’s I got to see a handful of songs by Vampire Weekend, and while I really like their new CD I was not blown away by the live show. Maybe 4pm on a hot and dusty friday afternoon is not ideal view conditions.

SXSW 2008 - Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman was playing across the street at Club Deville, a place I played in 2004, so I hoofed it over there for his set and bumped into Kim. Really dug his set as did the entire patio full of people.

I made it back over to Stubb’s just in time to catch X rock the crowd. They brought the rock and Billy Zoom’s smile never left his face the entire time.

SXSW 2008 - Franz Nicolay

Super Deluxe was having a night party so I swung by there and helped put up a few posters and fold some shirts. Putting up posters, we spotted Franz Nicolay from The Hold Steady parked on a corner playing some tunes on his accordion. Very inconspicuous my fiends, what a cool idea.

SXSW 2008 - Jonah Ray and Ben

As we were watching Franz play up waled Jonah Ray and Matt Braunger. We walked it down to the Fader Fort to meet up with the guys from Human Giant where they were getting interviewed (video here).

OK, I’m tired, but the night parties are just getting ready to start. I headed to the Parish with Kim for the Merge Records showcase. I’ve always loved this label and nearly everything they sign so I knew I was in for some great music.

SXSW 2008 - Portastatic

Portastatic with just Mac solo was up first and he played a short but fun set of tunes. Wye Oak was up next and I really dug them. The drummer played drums (duh) and bass on a keyboard with his left hand while the singer also played guitar. A big sound from the two folks from Baltimore.

SXSW 2008 - Shout Out Louds

The Radar Brothers hit the stage next with some great tunes followed by a loose-but-fun Shout Out Louds from Scotland. She & Him we’re clearly the buzz band of the night and they brought a beautiful and charming set to the Parish.

SXSW 2008 - SXSW 2008 - Todd Berry

At the end of their set I headed back down to the Super Deluxe showcase. On the way I got a text message from Atlanta that said “Kirkwood has power and seems fine. Cabbage Town hit hard, Downtown hit hard.” Turns out a tornado just slammed through town and all the Atlanta folks were really concerned about home.

Several of the folks from work either lived in hard hit Cabbage Town or nearby. It was a surreal way to end the evening and I hurried back to the hotel to check the news for the latest info.

Day 3 complete. (Photos)!

SXSW Day 2 Recap

SXSW 2008 - Lou Reed Keynote

03/20/2008 – SXSW Day 2 Recap – Thursday started out with a very cool keynote speech by the godfather of punk, Lou Reed. He had a million great quotes including, “I’ve got a B.A. in Dope, but a PHD in Soul” and, “Technology makes it easier to make things worse.”

SXSW 2008 - Peter Moren

With the noon hour quickly approaching I headed over to Volume for the Paste/Stereogum party and caught My Brightest Diamond‘s quirky and fun set. Next up I was over to Emo’s Annex for Dawn Landes and Peter Moren before heading back to the Paste party to catch a fun and loose set by Nada Surf.

By this point I was starving, and despite the delicious queso at the Paste party I needed real food. Hello “Music from Spain” party. Hello free buffet.

SXSW 2008 - Thurston Moore

SXSW 2008 - The Duke Spirit

Next up was the Irish Breakfast courtesy of the Music from Ireland folks. I missed the food but I got there in time for some great tunes from Delorentos, and the best Guinness I’ve ever had. It’s usually at this point in the day that randomness takes over, I just let the wind take me to whatever I can hear. In this spirit I caught The Duke Spirit, Christine Fellows, Cloud Cult, South, Moby (playing bass in a blues band!) and a really cool set by The Blow at the trade center cafeteria!

SXSW 2008 - Islands

SXSW 2008 - Tim Fite

The night shows were up next and this was the night that I was most excited about, The Weakerthans were playing!

I headed up to Cedar Street early to take advantage of the free drinks and settled in for the night. First up was a great set by Islands and a knock-my-socks-off, best surprise of the festival, totally entertaining Tim Fite.

SXSW 2008 - The Weakerthans

Soon enough The Weakerthans hit the stage and rocked it hard. They sounded great and played a wide selection of tunes from all of their records. The crowd bopped and swayed, and sang along. This was definitely a fan show and not an industry crowd. What a fun set.

SXSW 2008 - No Age

I wanted to stick around and see Billy Bragg, but instead decided to catch No Age at the other end of the strip. I would end up seeing No Age again on saturday and really enjoy them, but tonight the PA was so loud and it was so late that I was only good for a few ear-shattering tunes.

Day 2 is done. (Photos)!

SXSW 2008 Day 1 Recap

SXSW 2008 - John McNicholas

03/19/2008 – SXSW Day 1 Recap – SXSW is always a mix of insanity, inspiration, and endurance. So it’s been customary for me to fly out there super early on Wednesday morning so I barely make it to the Yard Dog in time for my set at the BAAMO showcase. Mission accomplished. After my morning flight got delayed I arrived at the Yard Dog about 8 minutes before I was supposed to start playing.

SXSW 2008 - Ed Harcourt

I had a fun set, I played an extra song or two and then settled in for the rest of the show. The Ditchflowers sounded fantastic, as did Ed Harcourt and everyone else. It was a great time and the food was top notch as always.

Next I headed down to the convention center, picked up my badge and my big bag of swag and headed over to the Fader Fort. I caught a few cool tunes from YACHT before heading over to Stubb’s for the R.E.M. showcase.

SXSW 2008 - Johnathan Rice

It’s not typical that I spend an entire evening in one venue, but I didn’t want to miss R.E.M., so I stuck it out and checked out all the bands that were on the bill before them. Summerbirds in the Cellar were bombastic and thick with pre-recorded tracks, broken amps, and video screen behind them. Jonathan Rice was great despite a loose cannon guitar player, really enjoyed his tunes. Next up, Papercranes were OK, but the performance seemed a bit contrived. Dead Confederate, a local Georigia band with a swirling Hammond B-3, and a plodding vibe.

SXSW 2008 - R.E.M.

Finally R.E.M. hit the stage and the place went nuts. They sounded great and I loved the new tunes. I think their new CD is going to be great.

SXSW 2008 - The Lemonheads

The weather turned cold, so I headed out before their encore was over and stumbled upon The Lemonheads playing their album, It’s a Shame About Ray in it’s entirety. They sounded awesome.

SXSW 2008 - The end of  day 1

Day 1 was in the books. I checked into my crappy hotel and passed out. (MORE PHOTOS)

IPO @ the Local 506 – Chapel Hill

Day 54 - 2/23/2008 - Local 506

02/27/2008 – I’ll be honest, it’s been hard keeping up with the journal/blog/thingy lately. I’ve been so busy and the words are not spilling out. Maybe it’s the huge amount of facial hair on my face that’s weighing me down.

Last weekend the fine folks in The Yum Yum Tree did an insane amount of driving to play in Chapel Hill for International Pop Overthrow 2008 at the Local 506. We played first. We rocked all ~20 folks that saw us and then we drove home the next morning. I had a good time. My friend Marcus meet me out at the club, took some snazzy pictures of us rocking and then we headed out to see what Chapel Hill had to offer. We had some pizza, we had some beers, we had a good time catching up.

The next morning we caught up some more, and then reluctantly, with the help of a 20oz coffee, I headed home. I made a few brief stops on the way home, but I was anxious to get back. I was anxious to sleep. (Photos from the trip)

I’m very excited about tomorrow night. I’ll be playing guitar with The Good Graces in one of my favorite spots in Athens, GA. It’s called the Flicker Bar and Theater. The show starts at 9:00 PM and we go on second. If you’re in Athens and you’re so inclined, we’d love to see your smiling Face. They have Free popcorn for crying out loud!

Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC

The Yum Yum Tree - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC

Mondo Topless @ Local 506

Alex and Marcus



The Holiday Recap!

01/08/2008 – Hey everyone, long time no see. I was going to do this great big recap of my Christmas and New Year’s break, but I’m so excited about 2008 that I can’t find the energy to look back for a moment. OK, maybe just a quick recap!

John McNicholas @ The Bunker

The holidays were a ton of fun and very hectic. Liz and I drove down to Florida on 12/22, through a ton of traffic, just in time to make my solo show at Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City. I had a fantastic time playing, and it was great too see Bob Anthony, Kenny Howes, and so many great friends out at the show.

Friends @ The Bunker

After the show, we walked around Ybor City for a while, caught up with some more more friends and had a great time. The rest of the long weekend was spent at the beach, at the Dali Museum, having drinks with friends, and eating at some of my favorite restaurants in town.

Sandy Claus - Pass-a-Grill Beach, FL

Liz - Pass-a-Grill Beach, FL

Back in Atlanta for Christmas proper, presents were opened and time was spent with more family and friends.

Molly says,

New Year’s was a low-key affair, dinner in the EAV with friends, and all sort of fireworks (gun shots?) when New Year’s hit! I swear East Atlanta sounded like a war zone when the peach dropped at midnight.

OK, that’s it for a look back. (photos)

I’m looking forward now, and there’s a ton of things happening! There’s going to be lots of music, shows and recording this year, and I hope to get a fair amount of traveling in as well.

2008 = Create!

Happy New Year!

12/31/2007 – So this is the end of the year, and I always tell myself I’m going to post a list of favorite songs, or CDs, as if anyone buys CDs anymore. Well, here’s a quick and dirty list of things that made me smile this year. I’m sure I missed some things and some people. My bad.

Super Deluxe goes live and I still have a job

Jeff Tweedy @ the Tabernacle

– Playing with The Good Graces, Mary O. Harrison and The Yum Yum Tree! Great people, every one of them!

– The Atlanta music scene

SXSW 2007! A million great shows in one town.



Dean & Britta at the Variety Playhouse

ISP Space (R.I.P.)


Smith’s Olde Bar

– Hanging with Ava in Delaware

500 Songs for Kids

See-through Souls

– Working with the folks on Funny Lunch

Ben Gibbard at Center Stage

Sloan at the 40 Watt


Bright Eyes at The Fox Theater

– Memorial Day weekend with my Florida friends


– The Star Bar photo booth

– “Marry Me” by St. Vincent (answer “yes”)

Java Monkey

– The Atlanta Songwriters shows

Lenny’s Bar

Rufus Wainwright, Neko Case @ the Tabernacle

– My second annual Wisconsin holiday

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Other Sound Festival

11:11 Teahouse

– The Drunken Unicorn

KEXP & KCRW podcasts

2007 Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

– Playing Kelly’s Pub in Tampa with Lance, Rebekah & Rob and Ted

Rebekah & Rob in Atlanta

– Kent and everyone at Legend’s Guitars

Midtown Music

Eskimo Kiss and Eskimo Bliss

The Preakness

Club Awesome‘s pool party


– Thunderbox rehearsal space


– Sandra and Raleigh

– All my Super Deluxe co-workers

– Jeff Wood (R.I.P.)

The Howlies

– The Bain Mattox crew, past and present

– James and Ali

– The East Atlanta Strut

– The 88.5 WRAS interview

The Jupiter Watts

Art Bar in Columbia, SC

Two Sheds Records

– Two days in Indianapolis with friends

– The Gardner clan

Broad Ripple Fall Music Festival

Luna Music

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Eisenhower Field Day

Atlanta People With Blogs Who Get Together To Drink

– The Clermont Lounge with Liz! Peach Cobbler!

Little 5 Points Halloween Parade

– Pittsburgh to see The Weakerthans

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

– The Hushpuppy Gallery

Chomp and Stomp


– A decent car crash

– My new JamMan pedal

– My new Strat

– The 1990s, Art Brut & The Hold Steady show at the Variety

The Swell Season at the Variety


Black Lips at the Variety

Happenstance 2007, “One Great Song!”

Bain Mattox and Shot From Guns at Eddie’s Attic

– The Turner Christmas Party and a busted window

– Liz’s new house and expertly manicured lawn

– All my great new friends in Atlanta.

– Molly my doggie

Have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve everyone. I’ll catch up with everyone in the next few days!