Oh, Super Happy Fun Land. Can't live without you; can't get inside you...
Despite becoming one of our favorite weeknight music haunts, Tuesday evening wasn't the first time we'd found ourselves sitting in front of the darkened, locked doors of the venue, staring absent-mindedly into the East End and contemplating a Flakey's Pizza from the food truck out back.
Whereas Monday's installment of the venue's SXSW Overflow Festival made a respectable showing, Tuesday's event fell victim to a couple of coincidental mishaps: the cancellation of two scheduled bands -- they start to fizzle out after SXSW is over, we overhead owner Brian Arthur telling a curious attendee -- and a nonexistent crowd, which caused the doors to open a little later than expected. So at approximately 6:30 p.m., we were the only ones there -- well, us and an ear-splitting train that made its way 'round the bend every hour or so.
By 7 p.m., Tomas Sanchez, lead guitarist for The Dirty Seeds, had arrived, looking as confused as we were. Two hours later, there were only nine people in the audience watching that Houston band play, including HolySexyBastards, the Venezuelan band slated to play after them.
According to Arthur, this, sometimes, is par for the course.
"Some of the touring bands have a draw and bring in folks," he told us via email late Tuesday night. "Like tonight, the Venezuelan band (HolySexyBastards) had a bigger draw than the local supporting band; they brought out about 20 people, mostly Venezuelans who live in Houston to see them, which is pretty good for a band from another country to do on a Tuesday night.
"Actually, the Japanese band that played (Otonana Trio) had a good draw too when they played last week; they were awesome!," added Arthur. "Some nights, especially on, say, a Monday night with ten bands scheduled, there can be more people in bands than actual paying audience members, but those shows are a lot of fun too, because with that many band members, you actually can get a pretty large audience going on."
In addition to HolySexyBastards, The Dirty Seeds and others, we have found quite a few amusing curiosities at this festival, particularly during Tuesday night's prelude: a cat roaming throughout the venue, a child playing on his bike outside and a help-yourself bowl of chili, with sprinkled cheese and Frito's nearby, just in case one fancied a Frito pie.
You won't catch Garfield or Tiny Tim walking around Toyota Center, that's for sure. And you damn sure won't get free food in that high-priced place.
Sanchez, a bespectacled, burly figure rocking a Katy Perry tour tee, was funny, too, carrying a beer to drummer El Guapo before the band began its hour-long set of grunge rock (or "stoner rock," as they call it).
"Appreciate it, man," said Guapo. "Beer: It's what's for dinner."
"Yes, it is," responded Sanchez.
Super Happy Fun Land even injected some St. Patrick's Day fun into the mix last Sunday, with green beer and Irish stew to enjoy with groups like The Jarheads, The Horde and the Harem and All the Apparatus.
All of these goings-on -- the cat, the kids, the bands, the chili -- beg the question: Why the heck aren't any of you at Super Happy Fun Land? The rodeo is over, and so is SXSW, and this festival is a cheap chance ($24 for two weeks!) to hear some great music -- not only from local bands, but many national and international acts on the come-up, as well.
It's not like you wouldn't enjoy yourself.
"I think most people had a great time!" said Arthur of attendees.
It's not too late; including this evening's lineup, the 2013 SXSW Overflow Festival has three days left, which means three days to come out and support these awesome up-and-coming artists. Wouldn't you love to be the one to say you saw Houston band Vox Vocis first?
"We are looking forward to seeing Flux Bikes perform," Arthur said of Friday's final night of the festival, "but we aren't going to set off fireworks to close the festival or anything silly like that."
Visit superhappyfunland.com to view the rest of this week's acts, or check back tomorrow for an in-depth guide.
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