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My initial impression of SXSW is that it’s kind of like Burning Man, only with tighter clothes. Since I’ve never been to Burning Man, I could be mistaken, but there’s enough smelly people, people on stilts, people offering free hugs, dudes with septum piercings, that I think the comparison is a pretty safe bet.
And amid all of this excitement, it was pretty difficult to decide what to do. So I went to see a Van Pelt reunion show.
Obviously you’re asking where the Edward Droste sighting are. What, you weren’t into mid-90s emo? Neither was I. In fact, it’s likely that Terrapin Station had a lock on my stereo system in ’96, the year that Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves came out. Kind of into it now, though. There’s something to be said for a time when indie-rock records didn’t sound like Crosby, Stills and Nash. When they had a distinct and separate style that wasn’t something, like Fleet Foxes, that your mom was going to want to put on in the car (not that’s there’s anything wrong with Fleet Foxes—I own it, and I bought it for my mom)
Nobody’s parents were listening to Van Pelt, though, that’s for certain. Maybe not that many kids, either. This a wasn’t particularly crowded affair. The members of Van Pelt may not even have been that excited about it—Chris Leo hadn’t even bothered to re-memorize his lyrics, he read them off of a few pieces of paper on the floor.
But I’m a sucker for nostalgia, so if they play again, I’ll probably be there, waiting for them to crank out “His Saxophone is My Guitar.”
This guy played, too. If you’re into that kind of filth, you can read about it here.