By the time I made it downtown and got my badge, I was lucky to meet up with Gabe Morgan. As one or zero of you may know, Morgan lived in Seattle until about a year ago, when he moved to Austin. What better way to see the city than with a local transplant? He first took me to an area called The Eastside (he equated it to Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood), and we had a few rounds at a lovely joint called the Brixton. From there it was a modest walk through a residential neighborhood of junk-filled back yards, barking dogs, and spray-painted Mayan symbolism to the twice-relocated Siiick By Southwest party, put on by CMRTYZ and the High Fives and Handshakes fellows. When we finally echolocated the second relocation address (plans had already been busted up by the Fuzz twice), Fungi Girls were on. They racked through a set of catchy garage rock in the back yard of a non-descript house while kids milled about with backpacks full of beer and happy demeanors. The going rumor proved true when, after that band's set, John Dwyer et. al. started loading in. The neighbors to one side—a middle-aged hispanic couple with two pitbulls and a giant bag of sunflower seeds—looked on from lawn chairs in the adjacent back yard, clearly ready and in full approval of the ad-hoc party.
I've seen Thee Oh Sees a number of times, and they're one of my all-time favorite bands to watch live, but when they launched into this set, the stuff seemed brand-new all over again. Maybe it was the locale, maybe it was the work it took to find the place, but Dwyer's vocals and guitar tones rang out like he'd recreated the band's enthralling material in a new but equally pleasing vision. On the porch behind them sat the usual array of amps and PA that—if you've seen them before—looks completely familiar, but down on that grass, with no barrier between band and crowd, Thee Oh Sees again vanquished any doubts of possible non-believers. People shook, danced, buzzed, and there was not a frown in the yard. Twenty-five minutes and two encores later, it was done, and even those neighbors from the next yard were cheering for more. This would never happen in Seattle.
Addendum: I have a bunch of great pictures, but I forgot the conflated adapter cord, so you'll just have to imagine. Also, more to follow as soon as I can crank it out of my hungover brain.