On Friday the 20th I attended Four Square Punk Day 2 from 2-6pm, featuring Mika Miko, Finally Punk, Tyvek, the Death Set, and the Mae Shi. In my head I had been planning to attend this "Roller Rink Show." It turns out that the show was not really at/in/on a roller rink, but in an empty lot surrounded by chain-link fences, where they had built a day or two before, a small perhaps 40x40 ft wooden roller rink, along with four stages and some bleachers.
I was supposed to interview all girl Austin band Finally Punk after their show here, so Sean and I headed down to the area only to discover, this was going to be five times more awesome than we thought. It wasn't advertised on the flyer or internet, but Four Square Punk had free, pretty much unlimited Bud tall boys all three days. This was now an unexpected paradise for any 21+ attendee. Note: water was not free, but unfortunately a bit necessary while suffering in 85 degree direct sunlight for a few hours.
After sitting on the convenient bleachers that completed the circle of four stages, the show started. When all the bands set up at the same time and stood ready to play while the first band started, I knew something interesting was happening. Mika Miko played one song, then as soon as their song ended, Finally Punk started another, and after them, Tyvek, and then the Death Set. The crowd wandered like sad puppies a few feet from stage to stage in between songs, while the lazies sat on the bleachers taking in the whole scene and frying in the sun. Actually, I take that back, everyone was frying in the sun, but I had learned early on at SXSW that it was necessary to carry sunscreen. Somehow this show never got really crowded, which was awesome, and there was always a place to sit down. More beer for the attendees.
This round robin of sorts went on for a while, though I lost track of time. Each band at least played five songs by the time they had finished taking turns around the circle.
As for the bands, if you don't know about them--Mika Miko are LA venue the Smell's darling girl punk band with a phone mic. One of the girls was wearing a Germs shirt. It was a pleasent set as always. Post SXSW I have now seen them four times.
Finally Punk is an Austin all girl band. They all switch instruments every song, so I think they're pretty talented. I interviewed them after they played by the porta-potties as about ten oogles and their scruffy dogs looked on. They're some nice girls! Nicest band I talked to at SXSW.
Tyvek from Michigan was one of the bands, too. They were the only band I didn't recognize at first, because they didn't have one of their members who had quit to pursue a solo project. I had to go up and ask them inbetween songs. They're songs were ok, at least I got to hear some songs I knew! A lot of people's opinion is that they've gone down hill since their member left.
The Death Set was the last addition to the circle. In the two times I saw them I was astounded how they had upped their punk sound by more than half. I don't know if this was just for live shows or what but both times I saw them everyone loved it. Pretty much the whole crowd was singing along. They sure didn't have a drummer when I saw them a few years ago in Lawrence at the Lawrence Zoo.
Oh, but the biggest treat was yet to come. After the round robin was finished, I interviewed Finally Punk(expect a transcript of this sometime after the weekend) and then Sean, Jackie (another visitor from Lawrence), and I all embarrassingly attempted to rollerskate. I'm really glad no one broke anything, but the Austin Roller Derby Girls majorly showed us up. Funnily enough, the roller rink was sponsored by Saucony shoes, and somehow Sean and Jackie managed to win free shoes. Good job guys.
The Mae Shi finished setting up--by themselves for some reason. I was excited to simply see them live after I had loved their album HLLLYH when it came out last year. The Mae Shi do a really bad job of staying on stage. There was a lot of rolling around in the dust with guitars and mics. Even better was that at the end of their set their pulled out a rainbow parachute for attendees to hold over the perfectly shaped dusty circle space in the middle of the stages. In the least it was magical to have something like this from your childhood used almost ritualistically in a show-setting. It was so much fun. I saw the Mae Shi the next day at Ms. Bea's as well and they pulled the parachute trick again, but it didn't work nearly as well in a rectangle shaped space.
By the time the Mae Shi had finished it was nearly six and we were going to be late for dinner. What a great afternoon.
Four Square Punk for Lawrence, please...