So far, being on the road with twenty-some of the most genuine and talented men that I’ve ever met in my life has been nothing short of a dream come true.
Nevertheless, not all that glitters is gold on tour. Traffic? Expected. Breakdowns? So far so good! (Knock on wood) But people – oh dear, some people. With such an eclectic group of guys it wasn’t long before we had a major mouth off and were threatened by the cops.
Soon after waking up in St. Petersburg, several of the guys informed me that we were conveniently parked right next to a laundromat diagonally opposite from the apartment we crashed at. SANCTUARY! I thought, considering that I hadn’t been able to use my blanket or my pillow in three days (to find out why, read over my first tour check-in here).
Over the course of an hour everyone’s eyes were open, jaws stretched, and arms up to the sky. I went around and collected a few of the other guys’ clothes to rack up a full load. As we were standing outside, killing time and prepping ourselves for the day ahead, an elderly woman (who we later found out is the owner of the laundromat) came out to “greet us”.
Lady: Ahem. “Can you tell me what is going on here?” as she directs her cane to our trail of cars. “Are you guys moving in? What are you doing here?”
Puzzled by her tone of voice, one of us finally speaks out.
Olivia (the only other female on the tour): “We’re on tour!” She says as sweet as can be. “We’re just getting up and putting ourselves together before we head to the beach.”
Lady: “Well you’ve been parked here since yesterday and you’re blocking the street for our customers.”
Despite being a customer ourselves, we hadn’t actually parked there until 4am.
Freddie genuinely inquires: “Isn’t this a public space?”
The laundromat lady became instantly offended and continued passive aggressively with: “Why are you getting a tone? If you don’t want to be friendly we don’t have to be. We’re in Florida, we Floridians are nice people, but you say this is public space. Fine.”
She continues to bad mouth the crew to her other customers and indirectly threatening to call the cops on us and continued to do so until our laundry was done and we left.
Meanwhile in Bored’s caravan…
…they were facing more detrimental issues to the tour. After the first stop in Augusta, GA, Flaco had already lost his voice. Forty-five minutes of ad-libbing, jumping around, and fifteen minutes of his solo set can definitely put a strain on one’s voice, but not like this. After talking to a few of the Bored guys, I learned this has been a reoccurring issue for Flaco since SXSW 2014.
A little fun fact about Flaco is that he truly does everything in his power to take care of his instrument; his voice. In every city, he goes out and runs to get his body used to the air. He practices 10 minutes of vocal stretches before every show. He’s so cautious about his body that he hardly drinks or smokes while he’s out on tour.
Yet, unfortunately for him, he is seemingly more prone to straining his voice than any of the other guys, but that doesn’t stop him. Searching for every avenue to remedy the situation, who better to come through than Ace One with his ‘Magic Elixir’. In addition to the elixir, there was talk about how Flaco damn near chugged an entire bottle of honey over the course of a couple days.
Later on, we come to find that he’s not the only one on Bored who needs the honey. Long days, extensive drives, and little to no sleep- next thing you know, Benny gets an itch in his throat and you hear Tag getting the sniffles. Despite their struggles, they just cough, brush it off, stay on top of their hustle and keep the flow goin’.
On top of that they take such good care of each other and vibe incredibly well as a group, that they simply won’t let sickness get in the way. Eight boys packed in a tiny room with wooden floors and limited blankets and pillows; Tag makes sure sleeping articles are fairly distributed. Sick Benny was looking miserable in bed the next morning then the ‘Beats by Dre Pill’ turns on and all of the sudden I look over and he’s jumping on the bed all hyped up with a few other bodies getting their sway on too.
Poised #GLIYDT A photo posted by Timothy Garza (@boredtag) on
South by South West
This tour was so DIY that despite having a couple shows lined up at designated venues, the crew had also brought a tent and a PA system to set up a renegade stage in the midst of the SXSW madness.
The first day in Austin, the Bored crew took it easy by bringing the ‘Beats by Dre Pill’ to promote their music throughout the street, only to be stopped by a cop who says that anything that is amplified will not only result in confiscation but also arrest.
With the renegade stage being the primary goal for the boys during the festival, Freddie manages to fit the crew into a few time slots for a Saturday set.
By this time we’ve been on the road for seven days and through eight cities. Nostalgia escapes the breath of some of the guys during pillow talk. Some can’t wait for their beds, or their pets to greet them at their front door. Paigedro (pronounced like “Pedro”) of Bored can’t wait to start on new music projects; Niq (aka Sirius Blvck) can’t wait to get back to his precious newborn, Khida. But Niq isn’t the only new-found father on the trip.
Father to be A photo posted by Timothy Garza (@boredtag) on
First thing in the morning on the third day of tour, Tim Garza aka Tag of Bored woke up in St. Augustine to that ‘late-text’ from his love back home with an affirmed picture of the pregnancy test. Inevitable shock strikes the 24 year old at first, later followed with pride. After getting to kick it with him one night, he shares with me that he truly looks forward to being able to shape the mind of his very own child and it’s all the more a plus that it’s with the love of his life.
So despite the nightmares we’ve faced along the road, there is a grand light at the end of this tunnel for all of us, some even more luminous than others. The Good Luck In Your Dreams Tour has been incredible, but Indy – we’re coming for you and we can’t wait to be home!
For more on the Good Luck In Your Dreams Tour, read my first tour check in and watch the video below from Bored:
Austin, Texas-based producer, Shane Madden, aka Govinda, is set to headline IndyMojo’s Altered Thurzdaze at the Mouse Trap on April 3. An avid bass music producer with an admirable following, Madden adds the unusually awesome elements of the violin and Syrian ancestral music to his productions.
Placed in violin lessons by his mother at the age of 8, Madden’s interest in the violin was sparked after hearing the song, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, by the Charlie Daniels Band.
“I had to learn how to play that song,” said Madden in a phone interview. “I wanted to play the violin.”
After graduating with a degree in music composition from the University of Texas, Madden soon discovered electronic and bass music, and began to apply his technical skills in the violin and classical music towards electronic music production.
“I blended that further with some of my ancestral music from the Middle East,” said Madden. “My family is from Syria.”
“I have that kind of Middle Eastern flavor in my style,” said Madden. “So I blended all three together and it started to sound like Govinda.”
“I’m fascinated by the futurism movement,” said Madden. “I also love things that are very old, classic and ancient.”
“So I have this kind of modern-primitive thing going on,” said Madden. “It makes for a good contrast in the art.”
Madden prefers to use a traditional wooden violin with a pickup placed on the violin’s bridge, also employing a number of effects, including reverb and wah-wah.
“It’s an acoustic violin because I like to retain the wood quality,” said Madden.
Madden has played with big names such as Thievery Corporation, Tipper, Bassnectar, Shpongle, Cheb I Sabbah and STS9. Madden has also appeared at numerous music festivals including Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle, Sea of Dreams and SXSW. This Thursday should be just as good, and Madden will surely become a seminal act to headline Altered Thurzdaze and visit the Mouse Trap.
The best piece of advice given to me before arriving at SXSW was simply to have no expectations. Don’t expect get anywhere (literally or figuratively) quickly. Don’t expect to get into high profile events. Don’t expect to get into secret shows. Don’t expect to see certain landmarks. Don’t expect to meet famous people. The event is an entirely different beast when it comes to music festivals and the best way to experience it is simply “to go” and let whatever happens happen.
Before delving into specific events of SXSW 2013, I’d like to share a few perceptions about the great city of Austin.
The people of Austin are friendly. Strangers are happy to strike up a conversation with neighbors in a restaurant or with people standing next to them in a crowd waiting for a show to start. If the strangers react positively, the conversation will transition from small to talk actual discussion. During SXSW, that discussion usually turns to hometowns, which is how I found out that most people who live in Austin are not originally from the city. By the end of my adventures there I had concluded that everyone at SXSW is a local, yet no one is a true local. And most of them have transplanted less than a year ago. Indeed, people are moving to the city at an astonishing rate.
Austin is a cultural melding pot- both for its reputation as the live music capital of the world and for its University of Texas, one of the nation’s most populous campuses. Its vibes are similar to Bloomington’s: diverse, open-minded, accepting, and inherently cool.
Not only are the people friendly to other people in Austin, they’re also thoughtful to man’s best friend. Most restaurants have outdoor patio seating and nearly all of those patios allow four-legged friends to join their owners as they dine out. Some business have dog hitching posts outside while others, like the newly opened Bangers in the Rainey Street District, have installed holding pens for dogs that lets the “kids” play with each other (sans leash) while mom and dad eat dinner and sip on brews. To some people this may seem insignificant, but to dog-lovers this is an appealing aspect of life in Austin.
The pace of Austin is comparable to Indianapolis; a little big city, if you will. Its skyline is dotted with a few notable skyscrapers and beautiful historic architecture while managing to stay modest and reserved at the same time. Unlike the flatlands of southern Texas, Austin’s streets are characterized by many hills and it’s almost as if the city’s famous downtown district sits inside of a bowl. Nearly every street is lined with a bike trail, as it’s one of Austin residents’ most favored modes of transportation.
6th Street’s popular strip of bars and shops serves as the hub of activity for SXSW, causing street shut-downs for multiple blocks. Pedestrians crowd the sidewalks and fill the road as they walk from venue to venue taking in free shows from bands too many to count. The general area is reminiscent of Indy’s own downtown nightlife, as it’s a popular year-round destination for students of the university looking to get drunk on the weekends. But the bars also play a significant role in Austin’s reputation for live music, even when it’s not SXSW season. Every afternoon they open their doors to the city’s aspiring local talent and boast live music almost every day and night of the week.
Further east, on the other side of the always-jammed highway 35, lays the seedier side of 6th Street. Imagine combining The Alley Cat or Sinking Ship’s rugged patrons with The Mousetrap’s free spirits and placing them in a dive bar on Indy’s East side and you’ll get a feel for Austin’s rocky East 6th. These bars rarely, if ever, have live music with the exception of during SXSW.
South of the river one will find the Soco District characterized food truck lots, street vendors, whimsical shops filled with handmade art, and posh dining. It has the same air as Broad Ripple in the daytime- a bohemian village grounded in art and flair.
South By Southwest
First of all, if you want to fit in, you’ll stop calling the festival by its full name and shorten it to just “South By” as soon as you touch down in Austin.
Second of all, if you want to see more than half of the sets and shows on your agenda you’ll have a better transportation plan than just walking. Shows are concentrated in the downtown district of Austin, but stretch blocks upon blocks to the east and south of the hub of activity. One could walk in any direction from 6th Street for an hour and still stumble into backyard house concerts and block parties. Leave the car at home, use the bus to get to your general destination, and hope you can catch a cab to get home at night. Pedicabs (small carts for 2-3 people pulled and driven by bicycles) are everywhere and best used for a quick transport of 10-15 blocks, give or take. If you have a bike and can get it to the festival, it’s the fastest and most economical mode of transportation.
SXSW is different for everyone and the details of one’s experience will vary depending on whether you’re a local who knows about private parties, a musician who’s playing five gigs in three days, a member of the music industry listening to panels at the convention center during the day and networking in bars at night, or a general fan of music who’s just there to catch some free shows. You get out of it what you put into it.
In the blog posts that follow, I’ll detail my own adventures in a great city of Austin over the course of seven days. Here’s a video preview of what’s to come: