From the Archives: Transatlantic Fantastic (by crunchy.dk 25. April 2005)

The alternating diary of the alternative diarists Mikkel ‘epo-555’ Max Hansen and Powersolo’s Bo ‘Atomic Child’ Jeppesen. The journey was set for the size XXXL music fair, South by South West (SXSW), in Austin, Texas. Stops were made in Iceland and New York and it all in all included showcases, three different climates and just business as usual r’n’r frenzy. Read on.
Mikkel: Allright, this is how it is. We were going to Texas to convince the American fur traders that epo-555’d be the pelts to bet on at the SXSW in Austin. And while we were at it we might as well check out the hotspots on Iceland.

I can’t remember much; the trip we were on now lies is in a state of blur of furry animals and gaps of seemingly illogical events. I’ve have found some help in the diary written as we went along but somehow the sum of events is bigger than the details. It is that hummingbird of a sum that I’ll try to capture with my poorly functioning mind. Heck, I haven’t even introduced our noble quest…

Atomic Child: It all started pretty damn weird… As we all met up in the airport for check in, I realised that one of my fligth tickets were missing. So typical! I spent 400 minutes gettin’ me a new one and hat to put my foot in the door, to be sure to get onboard the traveltube. Anyway, we got airborn, had the usual drinks required to make any flight just a little bit comfortable and hit Keflavik Airport.
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

Mikkel: But why go alone when you can join hands with the crunchiest couple in the world and the fine troubadours in SourPolo? There are no answers to that question either. So, on the 11th March we climbed on our Icelandic airborne steel horses to find our way to Reykjavik where Thor, the man of eternal lamb BBQ invited us to invade the country of boiling sulphured egg baths.

Atomic Child: We packed the two rental cars and drove off to Thor’s place in Reykjavik. Once again, Thor had prepared a meal worthy a king. We ate good lamb and drank heavy redwine… Well fed, we all met up at Grand Rokk, for soundcheck. The concerts went damn well, the beers tasted well and everybody was happy.
Mikkel: For this fine offer we got Thor drunk in return and played a concert that I can’t focus on, covered in regrets of lost gear as it is for me. That’s right. Some evil Viking stole my sweet guitar pedal, my cables, my power supply and my dignity. Arghh. I still feel as naked as a butter-cookie-kid and as empty as a 2 minutes old glass of vodka-lemonade from Great Jones’ in NYC.
Atomic Child: A six hours flight to New York was ahead, so we all decided to dip our pale bodies in a big pool of egg smellin’ hot water. (For those of you who haven’t visited Iceland, I’m referring to the Blue Lagoon.) Hot water from the underground travels to the surface and is indiked. You pay some money, rent some trunks, hit the water and let yourself boil slowly ‘till you’re red like a lobster… I can recommend this as the best way of recharging your batteries before draggin’ yourself up on an airplain.
Mikkel: Oh, and what better way to celebrate the greatness of mankind and meanwhile incite the labels of fables than to lay our greasy hands on the Big Apple and take a bite? That’s right, no better way, no better way…
NEW YORK CITY

Atomic Child: First night in The Big Apple!

Mikkel: Ok, the memory of New York City soothes your soul when you’re down and below. Eating and drinking in our favourite restaurant, sleeping with the city that never sleeps and getting a cold shower by the fire squad at 5 am, playing for and with the big guys at the cool spot, celebrating birthdays and having a party with a nephew. This is the recipe for a massive need for a My Bloody Mary with horseradish that only NYC bartenders know how to make. Strange fruit…
Atomic Child: Time to get liquored up – Great Jones is the place to be, so that’s where we are. Throwin’ vodka lemonades down our throats and celebratin’ Yebo’s birthday.

On our way back to the hotel, The Gimp, Camilla, Mikkel and I, jump into a stretch limo. We couldn’t get a cab, believe it or not, sometimes it’s damn hard to get a cab in NYC. Anyways, we drove four blocks, 800 meters, for $20. Money out of the window!!!

Kim ‘Kix’ and I, kidnapped Jesper ‘The Gimp’ (soundengineer) into our room at the hotel, and already hell is loose. In his enthusiasm, Kix smashes the lamp in the ceiling, with a pillow. Well brought up by our folks, we clean the whole mess up, by sweepin’ the broken glass under the bed.
At five o’clock in the morning, the firealarm goes off at the hotel. A brigt light flashes up the room and a high-pitched tone fills our ears with pain. Kix gets up in a hurry, The Gimp sleeps tight, and I jump up, tear open my guitarcase and start adjusting my guitar and effectpedal knobs. Kix asks me what on earth I’m doin’. I answer: My guitar is feedin’, I gotta do something about it!!!

Kix talks some sense into me, but I’m already standin’ under the alarm, jumpin’ up and down, waving my hand, trying somehow, to stop it. It turns out that I was sleepwalkin’, in some way dreaming that it was my guitar squeelin’ and not the alarm….

I had no idea of what was goin’ on, until we were out on the street and the firebrigade showed up at the hotel… It turned out to be a false alarm though. Lucky for us!

Mikkel: The epo-555 concert at Pianos was mighty fine. The best part for us was the fact that the nicest couple and their little puppy dog that we’d met the day before at the scummiest bar in NYC’s Mars Bar showed up and smiled and bought our CD and everything. On the business front I am told that the bats took the bait or at least sniffed at it with every intention of maybe taking a bite someday in the not to near future. I think that our companions in SoulParlour needed a little more meat on the hook, so to speak.
Atomic: The highlight of our trip to NYC, was, or should have been the showcase at Pianos. It turned out pretty bad, though. We played one of our few legendary bad shows. The crowd seemed to like it, but we had one of those days you just wanna forget about. Anyway, Jon Spencer was there and he liked it, which is cool, as we’re supporting Blues Explosion i May…
The last days in the Big Apple were spent in the usual way. Lots and lots of walkin´, talkin’ coffeedrinkin’, smokin’, nosepickin’ and….visitin’ the USS Intripid. This massive carrier, now serving as warmuseum, participated in WW2. Kix, The Gimp and I threw 18 bucks out the window, as it turned out that the ship was transformed into what resembled a livingroom. Nice thick carpet all over and plenty of ridiculous children activities, with plenty of screamin’ kids… All the interesting parts of the ship, such as the engineroom, were closed to the public. The mess (kitchen) was even turned into a freakin’ McDonalds restaurant… How cool is that?!!!?
Mikkel: However, no 4 days in la Pommes Grande last 4ever. But who cares when the next stop on the Historic Route 555 is Austin?
AUSTIN, TEXAS

Atomic: Farewell NYC, hello Austin! We’re back in Texas, we’ve come home…

Mikkel: Basically Austin is a lot of sheds for the tired gold diggers to sleep in, a lot of bars for the lucky gold diggers to get unlucky and a giant milkshake donated by the citizens of Gotham City. Due to a crushing lack of the noble metal all the gold diggers have left town to be inhabited by the nicest people in the world, NYC included. Austin is an Oasis of Knowledge in the middle of bad Bush land. And in the days of the SXSW the kettle is boiling: Hopeful stylish bands everywhere… Fancy parties with free beer and the chance to spot Frodo on each corner… Regular companies trying to throw their merchandise into the magic pot of recognition… Record companies trying to beat their competitors at seeing the right band at the right time in the right state of mind… $2 Texas size drinks… Beer and BBQ… Tacos from Heaven… Yes, Austin and its sweet inhabitants and odd ways are all you want when you’re out and about.
Atomic: Kix and I settled in at our hosts in the outskirts of Austin. Now came the time to slow down the pace and relax… Sun, warm weather, friendly people and $2 margaritas at Hickory Street Bar & Grill beats everything else…

Mikkel: We were picked up by our magnificent hosts at the airport and drove straight to a Mexican restaurant. Apparently the airline had forgotten about the concept “food” and thus, we were all close to feeling the foul stench of Death’s breath. There’s nothing a couple of tacos can’t cure and after being salvaged by sheer goodness we all went to a bar.
This I’m writing to y’all, because it is so very descriptive of our days in the southwest Texas. Texan Restaurants and Texan bars, one more plentiful than the other, the other more rich than the third. What more could you possibly want? Perhaps a visit by your oldest friend? Yessir, thank you, and welcome to Jeremy.
Atomic: We were determined to take revenge for the poor show in New York. Yebo got us all a good luck charm, to protect and guide us to the right path. It worked out fine! We blew up The Drink on 6th street with a balls out, asskickin’, R’n’R-show! The Drink was filled to the limit and we played to the limit and beyond.
There’s just something about SXSW, an unexplainable feeling, which gets out the very best in you. This is R’n’R heaven indeed! Just take a stroll down 6th street, pick a joint, and let yourself be entertained by the most cool, weird, hardrockin’ and footsstompin’ bands you’ll ever find, all gathered in one place. Yihaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, motherfucker!
Mikkel: The concert (the actual reason for being there) was being held at the Drink on 6th street, and we were part of the Nordic glue stick. Virtually all stages are made of whatevers and monkeybusiness so you can’t expect good sound. In fact, you can’t expect much at all. Massive competition from more than 1300 other bands should be enough.
However, we had a really good concert. Thanks to Jesper ‘Lydmand’ (Atomic: Aka. The Gimp), our sound engineer, everything went according to plan and people were quite happy. Camilla was being described as the new American Icon by a presumably pretty intoxicated record-something-something. How nice of him. Yes, we did feel some sort of hype…some day, some day we will conquer the world! And why not?
Atomic: No visiting Austin, without visiting the legendary Continental Club. Kix, Jacob, The Gimp and I spent our last night in Texas checkin’ out some cool siliconecountry at it’s best. It all climaxed that night when Kix and I got tattoed at Bart Willis tattoo-joint, right next to the club…
A perfect souvenir of yet another magical trip to Austin…
Mikkel: Ok, the trip across the Atlantic Ocean came to an end. All good things tend to do that. We all spend one more day in Austin, relaxing and digesting the enormous amount of input, seeing the New York Dolls, running into enthusiastic people from the day before, seeing Australians and eating their BBQ and steeling their shoes. And finally, a toast…a toast to life in the Drink with happy news and good music and good people and drunk men and beer and shots and journalists under cover and tittiebars and all that stuff that keeps Austin weird.

We can’t wait till next year!

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