[In weeks leading up to and after SXSW, bands route their tours toward and away from Austin. One of these groups is St. Louis' own So Many Dynamos, a band whose spiky keyboard-rock, gnarled riffs and complex time signatures call to mind everyone from Q and Not U and Pattern Is Movement to Battles and Broken Social Scene. The quartet is playing house parties over the next two days; message 'em on MySpace to get more info. Guitarist/Riverfront Times freelancer Ryan Wasoba was kind enough to keep a diary of the band's first few weeks on the road to Austin. Here's the final installment.]
(photo by Jaime Lees)
"Search Party," from Flashlights
Visalia, California, is as close to the Midwest as you can get in California. There is nothing intrinsically cool about Visalia, but there's a pizza place and a bar and a promoter with the ingenuity to bring indie rock bands there. People like us more than they should in Visalia, and I will never understand why, unless we are appealing to their secret Midwesternhood. We play two shows, one at the aforementioned pizza place and one at the aforementioned bar, and they are both fun and are both free and are both filled with very good people and very good beer.
We are set to play two shows in Los Angeles. One is at the Knitting Factory, a reputable venue that we have played before, and one is at a place called the Purple Loft, which we know nothing about and were invited on by another band. The Purple Loft show is a private party thrown by a girl who plays drum machine party girl music (see: M.I.A., Fannypack). There are DJ's, kegs, a VIP room, bands, security, and port-a-potties. It is, as far as my perception goes, a very blatant attempt at L.A. cool. The bands are intended to be more trophy-like background music than attention-deserving performances, more "check out how cool I am for knowing these bands" than "check out how cool these bands are." Eventually two girls dance for us out of either pity or the influence of ecstasy (or perhaps both).
Earlier in the evening, a car and a van pulled up with ten mostly Asian kids in it, driven by two of their parents. They run up to our van, we roll down the windows, and they say "So Many Dynamos? We drove two hours to see you guys!" The show is 21+ and they can't get in. We feel bad, so we invite them to get food with us. We end up at a fried chicken restaurant, hanging out with these kids and eating Yuca fries. It's the fifteenth birthday of one of the kids, so his mom (who works for fucking NASA) drove him and his friends down to see us. These kids are cooler than anybody we met at the very-L.A. party we played later.
Today is our day off. We will play the Knitting Factory tomorrow and will travel to Austin for South By Southwest and will continue our tour. We are staying with Michael Davis, a former St. Louisan who now has an apartment in the Fairfax District. It's Saturday night, and we're tourists in Los Angeles. I think we should be partying or barhopping or trying to climb up the "W" on the Hollywood sign on meth or something like that, but we're not. We're sitting in an apartment, drinking Tecate, watching Saturday Night Live, discussing albums and eating pasta. We're being our little Midwestern selves, and I am very cool with that.
(posted by Annie Zaleski)