Tonight on this fine Mother's Day evening I found my way back to Emo's, only this time I was attending big show at their outside stage. My sister bought us tickets to go see Pennywise there along with Strung Out, Authority Zero, and local Austin punk act "The Anchor". I have seen Pennywise before, but it was over ten years ago at The Warped Tour. To tell you the truth, I couldn't remember what year it was exactly. They made many more albums since then, so I was looking forward to tonight.
We got there early and had a chance to hang out and check out the "merch" and have a pre-concert beer or two. While looking around the merch table, my sister strikes up a conversation with this bearded dude behind the Authority Zero merch section. He was a real friendly guy and was really proud of his department store shirt folding skills. Low and behold this bearded dude was none other than Authority Zero's lead singer, Jason Devore. My sister was stoked and we posed for pictures with him. My sister was stoked because she was always a big fan of theirs and is actually the one who turned me on to Authority Zero a few years back. As it turns out, the other merch guy for them at that moment was their bassist. He was cool too so I bought Authority Zero buttons from him. Yes, buttons.
The other interesting story I learned from the Authority Zero guys was that the ride for Strung Out broke down on the way to Austin. Their merch guy was the one going to pick them up and bring them back to Emo's. I was worried that they may not make it in time or may cancel. I just knew that it wasn't a good sign for them and felt bad for them.
Shortly after all of that, the show got started with an opening band from Austin called "The Anchor". They weren't bad really. Like one of their guitarists said to the crowd, "We don't suck as bad as you thought we would". Then someone yelled "You suck so good". They didn't suck. They didn't blow me out of the water but they held my attention and certainly didn't embarrass the hometown scene. I noticed from their myspace they play at Red 7 a lot. I might check them out again when they come back around to Austin.
Shortly after The Anchor was done, Authority Zero got started. To my knowledge, this was my first Authority Zero concert. I say that because they may have been a Warped Tour band back in the 90s when I would go every year it came around. memoery loss is the first sign other than gray hair that one is getting old. Anyway, their set totally kicked ass. It was a longer set than normal due to Strung Out running late. No complaints from me. At that point I already felt I was satisfied with the show.
Once Authority Zero ended their set, it took about a half hour before Strung Out began their set. People were hot from the humidity, had alcohol in their system, and were just starting to get restless. I was wondering if Strung Out was actually there or not. Well, they showed up alright. They were rushed, experienced the stress of a vehicle breakdown, and then one of the members had a glass bottle hit him. Despite that, they still gave a high energy show and showed Austin love. My only complaint was that it seemed like a pretty short set. Given the day they had, I will pardon them this once. Plus, their music is too good for me to be upset with them.
The madness really took full swing when Pennywise came on after another 20 minute wait in between sets. I was pumped and ready as I was up front right up against the stage. I knew in my head I was going to get even more sweaty and beat up than I already was from the previous sets. I snapped a couple of photos from the front before it got to crazy and I wasn't able to pull out my camera again. I lasted for five songs before I couldn't take anymore stage divers and elbows in my ribs. I could totally do that whole punk rock pit thing when I was younger, but I'm not 18 anymore. I can take it still, but my body aches now when before it didn't. One thing I dug from the Pennywise set was how lead singer Jim Lindberg he said "Austin is getting soft now with all this SXSW indie rock stuff happening". I feel the same way. Now all the hardcore stuff goes to San Antonio. Oh yeah, and Pennywise live in concert is an amazing experience.
So I left for the bar to get a beer and get out of harm's way. I then found my way back to the merch table to pick up a t-shirt from Authority Zero. I liked the shirts from the other bands, but since they were cool to us earlier I went ahead and bought one from them. I ended up talking to their drummer, Jim Wilcox.
Jim and I talked for a few good minutes. He told me the t-shirt I just bought was a Jason Devore design, the band's lead singer. Wilcox also mentioned that in regards to the shirts that he designed the others they wee selling. He says he does his graphic work mainly in Illustrator and some Photoshop. He is currently talking to the Pennywise people about designing a shirt for them and making it somewhat of a collector's edition t-shirt where only 100 or so are made. I hope that happens. I totally want one.
Designing t shirts and/or clothing is nothing new to Jim founded and designs for Ransom Apparel. Way to plug your brand Jim. Now I will eventually buy some shirts off the site and I even put a link in this blog. Finally I mentioned to him as I did to Jason Devore earlier, I wouldn't conclude my blog without griping about how they don't have any of their albums on vinyl. I told him that he would be pleasantly surprised at the results should they decide to press some high quality vinyl. It is not everyday you get to gripe to the bands you love in person. My hope is that Jim actually reads this and perhaps designs some awesome collectible art cover for the would be vinyl.
Oh, the show ended with Pennywise letting everyone and their dog come up on stage and sing with them. It was freaking nuts. The Emo's staff must have gone totally bananas after they did that. Here is what I got from that scene from my camera. Sorry about the low quality, but from what I got you'll get the idea.
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