Lawrence’s newest label, Replay Records, threw a killer party Thursday at the Longbranch Inn during the music festival of music festivals, South By Southwest. Five Lawrence acts and three national bands made up the bill; 15 pizzas made entrance around noon; drink tickets magically appeared in palms and became, with the help of several dutiful bartenders, beer. The crowd seeped in slowly, and pooled into a good mix of Replay regulars, Lawrence ex-pats, and people no one has ever seen before.
Late to start, Dry Bonnet took the stage and played an admirable set of sometimes slick, sometimes sick garage rockers. Though the band started with the mild pulse of the early, early afternoon, the guitarist blew around onstage as if by a wind that only he could feel, flopping around, leaning on the bass player, and spinning around in the crowd, which stood mostly still.
Longhaired Brooklynites Bezoar
took the stage next, playing avant-garde metal on expensive-looking guitars. Their drummer has long arms and looked like a crazy person when he bashed the kit, which he would do without warning, in the midst of ambient bass tapping and fretboard shred. The singer’s voice was angelic and haunting, and fit well into the band's angular doom sound that hit the high ceilings of the Longbranch. Austin’s OBN IIIs
shook up the crowd with a straight-forward set of rock and rollers. Their singer could probably kick most of our asses, and so when he jumped around, stuck his face up next to other faces of the crowd, or spit at people, we let him. It didn’t take long to see some top-notch I-only-sing-in-this-band-and-haven’t-much-else-to-do antics: We watched him insert the microphone into his fly, pull it through the cuff of his pant, and lift it back to his mouth and wail like a less drugged-out mid-career Iggy Pop.
Between bands and, sure, during, people went to the porch to smoke and drink and gossip about people in town we don’t like (not you). More pictures were taken than would be normal for an evening at the Replay, but the mood and camaraderie were identical in all other regards. In the near distance, a Texas flag stuck into the sky, but the Lone Star State’s claim to that piece of land on that day is contestable — perhaps only by the technicality of population density, the Longbranch Inn belonged to Lawrence.
Up the Academy
blasted their set of reverbed-out head-nodders, playing their sneakily sexy riffs and giving birth to open-chord choruses that come just when they should. The band wore matching T-shirts, straight outta Six Flags, airbrushed with the name of the band and the Playboy bunny. After Mouthbreathers wrapped up their rather Mouthbreathersian set, Mannequin Men
tore through what might have been 10 songs of garage fury. The guitarist wiggled and writhed, sexing up his guitar in the manner of date rape. Next was Portland’s Mean Jeans
, which played punk and fast; the group's set was tight, both in terms of instrumentation and '90s slang. Most of the crowd was frothy with cheap beer at this point, and shouted out songs for them to play when they tried to quit. Mean Jeans relented, lengthening the set list two or three more songs, lowering the collective IQ to glue-binge proportions. Approach
saved the day from guitar-induced ear bleed, and got more than a few pairs of buttocks moving left and right, up and down, sometimes all at once.
Was it dark out at this point? Was there any more pizza? What time was it? Who were all those people? When did we leave? Where did we go? Did we take a nap? We need a nap.