Ice Cream Man Presents!
Friday's Flavor: Crystal Antlers
Even with more than 1,500 bands playing South by Southwest there are still plenty that don't get accepted to perform at an official showcase. Most stay home, but some make the long trek to Austin and play anywhere and everywhere they can. Bessie, the ice cream truck, and I drove almost 30 hours from Long Beach, Calif., to sling 10,000 free ice creams. One of my favorite bands in Long Beach, Crystal Antlers, decided they would drive the same route, even though they only had one confirmed gig, which was a day show at the JAXART Records/Spaceland party yesterday.
I ran into them in front of the Convention Center on Wednesday and got the low-down on their stolen van and gear. After a show last month, their van went missing along with all of their gear. Luckily, they forgot to fill up with gas before the show, and the thieves only made it a mile away before abandoning it along with all their gear, which was locked up in a cage in the back. They played some benefit shows to help them get to SXSW, then a couple of weeks after the incident, they received a call that the police had found the van and all their gear. They tried to return some of the funds they received from the benefits, but most people just told them to hold on to it and use it to get to Austin.
I asked what other shows they'd be playing so I could tip folks off and send them their way. Everything seemed a bit up in the air outside of playing on a bus today and in some empty parking lots. They have all their gear with them and a generator to keep the party going all day and night. If you're in for some high energy rock & roll, ask around, and maybe you'll get lucky. Or ... just look for a band playing inside a bus.