Darwin broke a string during the first song of our Emo’s set. Fortunately, we bought time with banter and kept spirits high, feeling like pros. For the first time since the band caught a buzz in the UK, we played Radar Detector as our second song instead of its classic spot, last. It felt refreshing. Having become accustomed to the long stage time of our headlining tour, our Brooklyn Vegan set flew by and, simple as that, our work in Austin was half done.
We ran into Cole again. He was almost ubiquitous in my Austin experience. Darwin and Cole reunited, and like the previous night, there was warmth and smiles. In the midst of Darwin and Cole’s moment, the whole Deez band realized that Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Juno, Super Bad, etc.) was standing next to us. Apparently, his band was playing the Brooklyn Vegan showcase, too. Darwin approached Michael Cera (who is quite tiny in person) and asked who had wrote the unfinished acoustic song in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Darwin turned back and rejoined our huddle, wincing, “he seemed pretty annoyed.” I sure felt sorry for Michael Cera, standing there so vulnerable in his checkered shirt and tight pants, just trying to be casual and enjoy the festival like all the rest of us. There wasn’t a bodyguard or an agent or manager or even bandmates in sight, and he was getting barraged with attention, photo requests, autograph requests. I know how overwhelming that stuff can be for Darwin, whose celebrity exists on a far smaller scale. I sympathized, realizing that this guy has, in many of his daily situations, forfeited a normal life. Watching Michael Cera inspired the band discussion, “what living musician would trump everyone else, as far as causing a stir and being a big deal in a room of other famous musicians?” After some minutes of speculation, the conclusion one of us came to was: Prince.
We reunited with our old tour mates, Friends. We watched Chiddy Bang, The Vaccines, and Surfer Blood. I saw another antifolk alumni, Kimya Dawson, play a small upstairs room above a bar called Paradise. Such a trip. It was only three years ago that Darwin and I watched her sell out gargantuan Webster Hall in New York City. Kimya sung many a duet with my friend Pablo Das, also from the Sidewalk Cafe scene. Endless roads, endless threads, all converging in Austin.
Darwin Deez rocked the Latitude stage, and that was it. The domino chain of concerts that began on frigid January 13 had drawn to a close, in 80 degrees Fahrenheit. No more touring until Australia. Lucky us, our band had two extra days in Austin to simply soak up the sun, the music, Imperial tall boys, Texas itself.