OK, so it seemed doubtful that I would make it into the R.E.M. show at Stubb's. Lots of factors working against me: first album in four years, big preview show at SXSW, first time festival attendee who doesn't really, truth be told, know how to weild a badge.
My evening starts badly -- I gamble on a showcase located about as far away from the festival as it gets, simply because the bands come from a smaller (but major) city in Ohio. I think it's cool. And it turns out to be atrocious. Seriously, not fun. I don't want to get into it more than that. But it was not good. My first sign of danger should have been evident when a bartender spilled half my beer on me. Get out while you can, the voice whispered to me --- yet I remained.
I trudged all the way to Stubb's, where R.E.M. was scheduled to play, without much hope of getting in. And yet, with two opening bands to go, I basically waltzed in. Except I didn't waltz.
Papercranes were good, followed by Dead Confederate, who were excellent. The R.E.M. crowd wasn't into it, but they freaking rocked. And later, the bald man came on stage ...
R.E.M. bit into mostly new stuff, with an opener that was, well, heaven. I haven't heard anything on the new album besides the single -- and that's a lot, mind you -- but that first song sounded wonderful. New songs kept on coming, and I can't wait to hear the new record. Sigh ... I leave midway through the set to catch a ride, as we have another big Soundcheck on tap tomorrow.
Er, I mean today.