Peter Lyons

HonkTx 2016

April 10, 2016

Gora Gora went down to Austin, Texas for the Honk!Tx community street band festival. I worked Wednesday morning then headed over to Stephen's house to load up his Westfalia van "The Pelican" and head in to Denver to pick up Adam, Bre, and Roxie at Bre's new apartment. It was cold and as we were loading stuff at Bre's it started snowing. We loaded up the sousaphone, bass drum, some camping gear, and drove into the storm. We got out of the storm within an hour or two though.

We stopped for Chinese food for dinner and eventually made it to Palo Duro Canyon, "The Grand Canyon of Texas" where we had reserved a camp site. It was after midnight when we arrived though and the ranger station was closed and the access road gated off. We were a bit frustrated and starting to make alternate plans. Bre eventually found a welcome packet they had left for us but it didn't have the combination to open the access gate, which we needed to have called in by 4pm to get.

The driveway out of the campground was blocked by the 1-way "severe tire damage" spikes. Adam and Stephen went out to have a look. The spikes were old and many of the springs were failing, especially the spikes on the outer part where tires go. We eyeballed it for a while and decided we could just drive over it and it would be fine, which we did. At the campsite, Adam hung his hammock and got in his zero-degree sleeping bag. It was around 40 degrees and quite cold. Bre and I set up the tent I brought for Bre and Roxie to camp in with Stephen's little heater, and Stephen and I slept in The Pelican. It was pretty cold at night but not unbearable.

In the morning we packed up, made coffee, and got back onto the road. We arrived in Austin in the afternoon, took Adam to a friend's house, and made our way through rush-hour traffic to our Honk host house. Well, eventually. I had seen the address on my phone, which was on "Cherico" but when I looked it up I typed "Chicon" by mistake. Luckily, the wrong address was only 5 minutes from the correct address and we headed to the right area in East Austin.

Our host is also a musician and performer of cabaret and children's music and had a home full of art and two adorable dogs, Oscar and Pogo. Bre and Roxie took up the bungalo out back which was basically an insulated tree house. I got a futon mattress on the floor in one of the spare bedrooms and Stephen had his camper van.

After settling in we headed downtown to the pre-Honk fundraiser concert. We saw The m9, Bucharest Drinking Team, Detroit Party Marching Band, and PaKaVa It perform. Eventually the rest of the band, who had flown on the same flight, arrived and we got some food truck food before heading home.

Friday morning we had time in the schedule so we had a rehearsal outside of our other host's house. It was pretty cold and threatening to rain. JJ had left his phone in a taxi and was anxious about that and tracking it via his iPad. After rehearsal we needed to drive to Austin Yellow Bike Project to pick up our loaner bikes. The rain made this a bit of a chore but we did it anyway and James was able to hook us up with bikes with fenders. We headed out but within a few blocks I got a flat tire and had to turn back. A few minutes later Tung showed up back at the bike shop also with a flat. They repaired them for us and we were off again.

We had lunch at Gourmand then I went back to rest before our evening set on South Congress. I biked over there with Ian and Stephen managed to get an amazing parking spot directly next to the venue. We played a short set then had time to watch some other bands including The m9, School of Honk, and PaKaVa It. I was in line for coffee around 10pm when Tung and Alice joined me. The bass drummer from PaKaVa It (based in Moscow, Russia) got in line right behind us. We chatted a bit, and I asked her "Don't you have to play a set in a minute or two?" and she said yes and asked us to get her a coffee, which we did. I held it while watching their set not really seeing a way to give it to her while she was playing. Eventually I set it down near the stage and told her where to find it when they were done so we could go to Karaoke up the street.

The karaoke bar was at capacity with a long line, so we biked down to 6th street looking for another one. That one was closed entirely. 6th street is closed to cars at this time and there are huge squads of police deployed there. It was a bit off-putting. We went to east 6th which was a bit calmer and not policed like a war zone, and found a bar where the crew could meet up and drink and chat. Then it was time to bike home and get some sleep.

Saturday we biked over to the Spiderhouse and watched some sets before playing our first set at 2:15 outside. The band before us finished early and we rallied to try to start without leaving slack on the stage but not everyone was there in time. Between sets we got the last scraps of lunch and watched more bands. Our second set the band before us went ten minutes overtime. After our set, we watched more bands until the pot luck dinner at 7pm. After that we made plans to go play minigolf at a BYOB putt-putt place. That was a lot of fun. Stephen had a long streak of 2s and both Alice and I got holes in one. Alice triumphed in the end though as she usually does. Alice's crew of friends from Denver had also come down and they played minigolf with us as well, which was fun.

Sunday morning I had to bike along the river path over to Chuy's to get 2 large containers of Creamy Jalapeno sauce which Shannon had been emphatically requesting since our Kansas City trip, where I was unable to do so. I got there right when they opened at 11AM, got 2 containers of sauce and 2 bags of chips, put them into my mesh duffle bag, threw it over my shoulders, and biked over to Banger's Sausage House where we were scheduled to play 12PM-3PM. In an awesome turn of events, there was a cooler full of ice already on stage for us, and the sauce went straight in there for the duration of the gig, to be later transferred to a smaller cooler Shannon had lent me. I was grateful to have the ice since otherwise I was going to have to grab some at a gas station or something and we didn't have time for that.

The Banger's gig was really fun. Lots of people there and good weather. Ian Rictor, a GGO alumnus now stationed at the nearby Army fort, came and sat in with us, which was fun. After the 3 sets, which all went really well, we biked to Pan Am Park for the all-band review set. We had some down time and Tung, Ian, and I grabbed some of the pizza they had out for bands. It was slide into 16 narrow slices per pie and we were starving and had a bunch to do before our set, so Ian just stacked 4 slices on top of each other and ate them all at once while walking his bike to the drop-off point. We played "Jackson" with Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band then 2 songs on our own.

After that we hopped on busses to the after party at Oasis Brewery overlooking Lake Travis way out of town. This was a neat spot with good sunset views, but a weird fit for honk as it was a bunch of wealthy/fancy folks having dinner then 3 busloads of load weirdos show up.

When the busses dropped us off back in town, we had given the loaner bikes back, so I walked a ways back home, stopping to grab some fast food chicken tenders while chatting with Shannon on the phone.

Monday I got up at 6:40 AM and hopped in the outdoor shower at our host's house. We packed up The Pelican, got the Chuy's cooler packed with ice, and hit the road. Bre and Roxie had chosen to stay another day so it was just Stephen, Adam, and I. We took a break around 11AM and I drove from 11AM to 6PM or so before Stephen did the remainder. Made it back to Boulder by 11PM or so.

Overall it was a really fun Honk festival, and no major arguments and no one quitting the band! I think we are planning to forgo upcoming Honk fests so this may be our last one, and it was a good one.