Austin Trip

Here it is, the low down from my trip to Austin, TX:

The phrase I picked up on upon arrival is “Keep Austin Weird”.  It’s a quirky town that’s got it going on.  Since there is so much in Austin I’ll need to break this post into multiple sections for you interjunkies.

Good Eats:

The food was probably the biggest surprise to me.  There is awesome food on every corner in Austin.  The rage in Austin’s food scene are the food trailers.  They offer everything from exotic bratwursts to blingin’ tex mex.  The food is cooked fresh and won’t break your bank account.  Usually you’ll find the trailers in small groups of two or three all offering different types of food.  After you scarf down some tacos and you’re craving something sweet you’re still in luck.  There are dessert trailers such as “Gourdoughs” that have specialty donuts to die for. For sit-down style restaurants we ate at an authentic tex-mex joint called “Curra’s” where I had the best carnitas of my life.  Cade and Mark went to “Rudy’s” which is a legit bbq place.  If you enjoy awesome food (and who doesn’t?) Austin is worth checking out.

Bars/Music:

There is something for everyone downtown.  Whether you enjoy a low key bar with good beer or a head banging with some emo’s, Austin is the place to be.  We checked out a venue called “Emo’s” and listened to some hard rock/drone/metal which was sweeet.  We also went to a bar called “Gingerman” which hosts a impressive lineup of good brews in draught (60+) and bottled form.  If you want a local brew check out anything from Live Oak, they are a solid brewery.  In general I’d say North Carolina has a better selection of tasty brews (ex.  No Bell’s in TX, wtf??).  The scene is downtown is pretty rad and you can walk everywhere.  Crime doesn’t seem to be an issue in this blue dot surrounded by a sea of red.  Last note; beware or embrace the hipsters, they are everywhere.

Biking:

Austin is a very bike-friendly city.  There are bike lanes/bridges all over the city that cater to cyclists.  Anywhere you want to go downtown seems like it would be very manageable on a bike.  I’m not sure how the traffic is but there are tons of bikes roaming the streets of Austin.  If you’d rather ride on dirt there you’re still in the right place.  The are plenty of bike stores if you need to rent a bike or buy that accessory you’ve been saving for.  You can ride on most of the greenbelt (which runs right next to downtown).  Warning –it’s rocky as hell!  I’m not talking about a rock garden here or there…I’m saying the entire trail seems more like a rock quarry.  Plus, it’s easy to get off the trail due to the lack of trail marking or signs.  Locals say that the best place to ride is Walnut Creek for fast & smooth singletrack.

Climbing:

Last but not (well…maybe) least is the rock climbing.  Now I must say upfront that there are two sides to every story and this is one’s not exempt.  First off, if you happen to score a job in Austin or enjoy the occasional day of climbing it’s pretty damn sweet.  You can be at a crag in 5-10 minutes from the middle of downtown.  I hear there is some pretty decent bouldering around but I can’t speak for that.  I went sport climbing for a couple days around the greenbelt area (check out a local map here).  The crags I visited were “Seismic (or Maggie’s Wall)”, “Gus Fruh” and the “New Wall”.  These are 30-40 ft limestone cliffs that are scattered around downtown Austin.  It’s all bolted with each climb reppin’ 3-4 bolts with bolted anchors at the top.  To it’s defense, all of the hardware was new and well kept.  The downside to the climbing is that the routes are short, non-sustained and very well polished.  The rock is good for the most part and offers one to two cool moves followed by a big rest of some sort.  From my experience the routes were fun and super convenient but it’s definitely not a climbing destination.  That being said, there are some decent crags worth driving to.   Enchanted Rock (E-Rock) is about 1.5 hours and features some trad lines with nice cracks.  Reimer’s Ranch is a sport crag with hundreds of routes that’s about 45 minutes from Austin.  I’ve heard it’s pretty sweet.  There is some craggin’ right on the border of Texas/Mexico that is supposed to be pretty good.  For longer drives you can be at El Potrero in about 7 hours or Hueco Tanks within 9 hours.

Climbing Scene:

First off I must say thanks to my friend Rob for taking me under his wing in Austin.  We climbed a couple days and he gave me a lot of info about Austin’s climbing scene.  Thanks man!  I think there is a pretty good scene in Austin.  I think most of the people who are serious about climbing take trips to E-Rock or Reimer’s Ranch or Mexico.  I hear there is some good bouldering in the area too but some of those areas remain “hush hush” to keep the gumbos out.  The scene around the greenbelt area is super duper gumbyville.  It’s basically a bunch of twenty year old college kids who obnoxiously spray down everybody and talk about stupid shit.  They should focus more on belaying instead of drinking beer but that’s just my opinion.  Like I said, the greenbelt offers a good pump, short walk and the convenience because it’s so close to town.  Take it for what it’s worth.

Austin, TX is a damn cool town.  Check it out of you get a chance!

Bday Weekend in Boone

Sprayin' Ryan down with beta for the Horn.

First off I want to thank all of you for making my 26th bday awesome!  It was great seeing a bunch of old and new friends this weekend.  I started my bday off by going to the Drive-by Truckers show in Boone.  The event was at Legends on campus.  The band rocked but unfortunately the sound was pretty bad.  We brought several heady six packs in with us.

On Friday we went to Hob Nob Farm Cafe for breakfast.  If you haven’t been it’s worth a visit.  They sport all local ingredients with free range meat.  You can really taste the difference.  After that we headed out to Blowing Rock boulders where I saw a bunch of friends.  Ryan cruised Center 45 and worked on the Horn and Harvester of Sorrows.  I didn’t climb because my finger needs about a week or two more to be completely healed.  Friday night we had a shin dig at my dad’s house.  It was truly a great party with some very nice folks.  We sat on the deck among the fire pit sharing climbing stories and talking about inappropriate things.  Eventually we went inside to the music room and started to jam.  My dad dubbed the band name “Tongue” and the rest is history.  Surprisingly we were able to hold a couple tunes that sounded pretty cool.  The “band” members shifted instruments every song and we even saw a couple guest appearances from the audience.  Melissa rocked out on the baby grand piano and awed everybody with her talent.  I was a little worried that the party wouldn’t live up to last years festivities but it did.  Great times by all.

Jason Isbell coming back to Columbia!

Columbia Folks: I promise you don’t wanna miss this guy again.  He’s playing at The House 5 Points on October 30th (Saturday).  His albums are good but when you see him live it’s a totally different experience.  My friend Brad told me he was coming to the White Mule a few months ago and I’ve been listening to his albums religiously since.

Jason was the lead guitarist for the Drive-by Truckers until a few years ago.  He decided to go out on his own and he formed the 400 Unit.  Columbia doesn’t get good music that often so take advantage of it!  Below is a song that Jason sang for the DBT’s.  He usually plays this song live :)

Truckers in Boone!

Oct 28 -- Legends -- Boone, NC

They are coming to Boone on October 28th (my bday!). Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for everybody else. The show is on a Thursday night so you really don’t have any excuses not to go.  I’m going to take Friday off work and bring some friend up.  Get your tix here before they sell out!!  (If the site says “cookies disabled” just refresh once).  This is a pretty big name to be stopping by Boone, NC so get excited.  I will see you there for sure.

Silversun Pickups

Silversun Pickups – Kissing Families

Radiohead is King

Radiohead – Talk Show Host

Murder By Death

COMING TO COLUMBIA, SC!!!  That’s right.  Get your tickets here!  It’s April 27 @ 8:00pm which is on a Tuesday (lame).  It’s going to be an intimate show in a very small venue.  It should be a lot of fun.  I’m excited that Columbia is getting a pretty big band and hopefully Columbia’s music scene will flourish once again (remember Hootie and the Blowfish!).  I was stoked when I heard they were coming to town so I thought I would share the news with you.

Spoon / ATL

The Tabernacle - Atlanta

The Tabernacle - Atlanta

So I went down to Atlanta with Cade to check out Spoon at the tabernacle.  It took us roughly 3 hours to get to Atlanta from Columbia.  This show was my first experience at the Tabernacle.  The building is quite amazing and the acoustics were killer.  I highly recommend this venue for any concert!  It was my 3rd time seeing Spoon live and the show was stellar.  Their live effects on vocals, guitars, and keyboards are pretty amazing.  We were right next to the mixing board and the light guy which was pretty cool to watch.  I took some pretty shitty pictures with my phone just to give you an idea of what it looked like inside. We were going to hit up the FATS trails on the way back in Augusta but it was rainy today.  It probably worked out for the better considering we were both a little hungover from the show.  Hope yall are doing good.

Coming on Stage...Fist Pump!

Coming on Stage...Fist Pump!

Spoon

$10.00 - 24oz Bud Light...
$10.00 – 24oz Bud Light…

Mic Check

My buddy Ryan has a sweet ass steel band called J’Ouvert Steel Band (check em out here).  He asked me to man the sound equipment for him because his girlfriend is swamped this week. I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing but he gave me a quick lesson so I felt ready to go into battle. He had a gig at this sweet hunting club in Columbia, SC. It’s right next to this swamp which was pretty sweet. The gig was for a retirement party for this dude that worked for the forest service or something. When they finally got done talking about redneck stories (I enjoyed most of them, I can’t lie), the band was able to setup shop and play for a few hours. I didn’t have any issues with feedback or anything like that. Ryan’s setup is pretty nice and has some really cool features that I didn’t even knew existed. It’s funny because I have this (false) pride when I stand behind the mixer. I’m officially a badass roadie now. I swilled a few units and tried to blend in as best I could. I had fun and it was great learning a little about mixers and whatnot. You should really check out their music. It’s carribean music with a certain freshness to it. They even do covers of “Just Beat It”,“Stand By Me” and Bob Marley stuff. I’m going to help them out again tonight at a bar called “The Loose Cockaboose”. Should be even more fun. Saturday I’m heading down to ATL to see SPOON. Oh yea.

Swamp Next to the Hunt Club

Swamp Next to the Hunt Club

Setting Up

Setting Up

Central Mixing Station Device Thing

Central Mixing Station Device Thing

J'Ouvert

J'Ouvert

J'Ouvert

J'Ouvert

Ducks Unlimited Toilet Seat!

Ducks Unlimited Toilet Seat!

Haha...

Fishermen with short poles and hunters with short barrels, PLEASE STAND CLOSE!