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Rick@SXSW: Fighting to See DRGN King.

March 21, 2013
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DRGNKINGsxsw02Our Rick Kauffman went to Texas for the SXSW showcase and didn’t sleep for three straight days. Instead, he followed Philly bands constantly as they tried to get attention, have fun and make new fans.

DRGNKINGsxsw03DRGNKINGsxsw05DRGNKINGsxsw06DRGNKINGsxsw07DRGNKINGsxsw04DRGNKINGsxsw08DRGNKINGsxsw01I was getting fucked. I mean that mostly in the figurative sense.

It was 1 a.m. in downtown Austin, Saturday night, the second to last night of SXSW, and I was in the middle of the shit. Outside of Shakespeare’s Bar, set right in the nucleus of the “largest music showcase in the world,” but right then it was more of a clusterfuck of humanity. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

That part of 6th Street is better known to locals as “dirty sixth,” as it’s the place you go at the end of the night to find a hookup and get laid. Right then, however, sex was the last thing on my mind (for once). DRGN KING was playing at 1, the very last show I would see at SXSW, and since the chances to see Prince, Smashing Pumpkins or even Justin Timberlake (don’t laugh) were slim to nil, it was fitting to see some Philly-local for once last time.

I managed to work my way into the converging, and seemingly faster moving line from the side. When I approached the velvet ropes, I managed to snake my one leg inside the post and solidified my entryway to the venue.

But that’s where shit went wrong.

“I’m not letting anybody in until 1:30,” shouted the security guard.

I was, give-or-take, one body away from enterring, given that about four people were squeezed in that space. In front of me was a huge woman (and I don’t mean that in terms of height) reaching back through the crowd and holding the hand of her friend, splitting the bodies of two people waiting in line who refused to let the girl through. The woman was practically laying on me while I’m straddling the post, being pushed by the people behind me and getting yelled at by the guard in front of me for “blocking the exit.” Actually, at that point it was “his” exit, and that post was up my ass, so you can understand when I say I was somewhat literally getting fucked.

And you have to believe me when I say I’ve been trying really hard to be patient. “Patience is a virtue,” was an expression that my parents said to me so often at a young child that it was the first full sentence I ever spoke. But that unfortunately was an ethos I’ve struggled to abide by. Nevertheless, in the middle of hell, I was calm.

Some drunk girl barged through the line and fell over the velvet ropes and made me feel better. But still, I was stuck, the same kind of stuck I was an hour earlier at VICELAND trying to see Trinidad James where my “Vice Press” card I obtained by means I won’t mention, was worth nothing. Plus, those dudes there had no idea what “capacity” meant.

I don’t even think the guard at this place was bothering me as much as the people who incessantly bitched about being stuck in that line but suggesting to the girl next to me that “maybe she should shut the fuck up,” wasn’t the nicest way of putting things. Still, I was trying to find my happy place, anywhere but playing just the tip with a steel post under a fat bitch being pushed by a mob of drunks in the busiest intersection in the world at that point. I should have taken a picture of this mess, but seriously, fuck that.

Maybe it was the fact that I could see DRGN KING frontman Dom Angelella rocking inside, or maybe it was the people, or maybe I was just knew my luck wouldn’t hold out. I blew that joint. Or maybe I busted that joint, because I kicked that fucking post over, shoved everyone out of my way and fucking bailed.

I went around the corner and just sat down. At this point, I was on about seven hours of sleep in 72 hours with having walked probably 50 miles. Some kid came up to me and asked “how tall are you, dude?” And I always humor these people (I’m 6’6”), but I almost fought him right there. He’s lucky he kept walking.

When I decided to trek down the back alley behind the venue, there was an open door and not ten feet away was Dom, Steve Montenegro, Brendan Mulvihill and Joe Baldacci still killin’ it.

Right then the guard shut the door but I asked him, “Can you open it? These guys are my friends and I want to take a photo?”

He looked around for a second and said, “I’ll just let you in, man.”

So, there I was catching the final five or six songs of Philly’s own DRGN KING, in the middle of a raucous bunch of drunks. Just a day before at Dogwood, down west 6th street, they played a show to a scant crowd (the further you are away from downtown, the fewer people trek), and now, here they were, playing in the center of the universe.

The Flaming Lips cover they played really got the crowd up and “Looking at You” really brought the house down. This 48-year-old dude was going absolutely apeshit (I wish he wouldn’t have been touching me so much but that’s South-by for you).

Maybe it was just the right amount of alcohol, the crowd, the location, I don’t know, but Dom was a verifiable rockstar. He wouldn’t want me saying so but these are my words, not his.

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  1. DRGN King @ Johnny Brenda’s – 3/29/2013 | Persistence of Vision

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