Like SXSW, but Gayer: Gay Bi Gay Gay Fest (Plus Saturday Chill Out with REM's Peter Buck and Steve Wynn, Meat Puppets and Roky Erickson and JEFF The Brotherhood)


photo by J. HettwerGayBiGayGay

One last post about the 2011 edition of SXSW:

In its 6th year, the SXSW spin-off Gay Bi Gay Gay Fest packs in enough merrymaking and debauchery to hold everyone over until Gay Pride in June.

While thousands from around the country and around the world descend on Austin over the week of SXSW, local Austinites might sometimes feel (sniffle) a little pushed out of their own city, but Austin's party-prone music freaks aren't the kind to sit back and feel sorry for themselves, which is why one can expect lots of backyard SXSW spin-offs, and some larger gatherings too like South By San Jose, So By So What and Gay Bi Gay Gay.

Show us a pirouette, dear?

photo by J. HettwerShow us a pirouette, dear?

Gay Bi Gay Gay is one of the biggest and most fabulous of such off-shoots with bands, booths, food, fun, hook-ups, dancing and carousing - this year, highlights included a reunion of Austin's fabled lesbo rockers Tunahelpers, and other acts like My Gay Banjo and Zoe Boekbinder.


photo by J. HettwerGayBiGayGay

Back on the SXSW trail, Steve Wynn's (Dream Syndicate, Gutterball) midday party Saturday offered an off-the-beaten-path respite from the downtown Austin vortex of incessant banging rock and sloppy revelers. In a chilled-out backyard patio behind a storefront art gallery, Wynn and guests like R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey (Robyn Hitchcock's band) executed their classic post-punk sounds with capable hands.

And further up town, Tennessee brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall (a.k.a. JEFF The Brotherhood) churned through an early evening set of their skull crunching kraut pop-grunge. Their shtick is nothing new, but these bros slaughtered their set and in the process won over the boisterous crowd, which happened to be spilling out into the street at one point as the staff turned away attendees.

JEFF the brotherhood

photo by Wendy GilmartinJEFF the brotherhood

Roky & Curt Kirkwood

photo by Wendy GilmartinRoky & Curt Kirkwood

For Roky Erickson and the Kirkwood brothers, the demons of a life lived in the raw and on the road are no strangers. The Meat Puppets just fell apart in a different decade than Roky. The guys were together because they had both won honoraries at the Austin Music Awards show - all were obviously psyched about playing this night on this stage, but Cris Kirkwood especially was visibly ecstatic to being playing with Erickson.

Cris Kirkwood

photo by Wendy GilmartinCris Kirkwood

Once onstage and plugged-in, the pairing of the trio was seemless with Curt and Cris Kirkwood serving up grimy riffs and a crunching punk foundation to Roky's sweet strumming. On "Lake of Fire," which is strangely now the Meat Puppets' biggest "hit" because of Kurt Cobain, Curt K. let it bleed and twist, then brought it down gently for "You're Gonna Miss Me," Roky's 13th Floor Elevators hit. But it was Roky's last song - his simple classic "Starry Eyes" - that hushed the rowdy crowd, and sent them off humming its chorus into the streets.