This guest post is by Joana Ortiz.
It was 32 degrees last Tuesday night. For the veteran Austinite, that’s “am I wearing enough layers” kind of cold. I didn’t know what to expect as my friend and I walked up towards a pretty empty E. 6th Street.
We arrived at Cheer Up Charlie’s: a familiar, friendly, and cozy spot for those who frequent the relatively new strip of bars and restaurants.
Let’s Talk Charlie
We walked into the dimly lit bar to see a handful of others hugging their beer mugs filled with homemade cider. The walls are plastered with, well, everything. Murals are accented with splattered paint and rainbow colored light fixtures.
My friend and I found a backrest against the bar (fancied by kind bartenders) in time to get a sip of the large serving of cider, spiked with a generous serving of bourbon. We turned around to face the focus of the room: the stage.
Is This 1994 and Where Are The Pixies?
After taking some time to soak in the space, I watched the band set up. It was 9:54 PM and Spider-Man t-shirt, CNN sweatshirt, Rivers Cuomo glasses, and Russian hat (aka, the Blistering Speeds) were ready to go.
With the recent release of brand new album Casablanca is a State of Mind, the Blistering Speeds have had an active tour schedule. They were obviously comfortable on stage: the audience seemed like their natural limb. The band interacted with the crowd by joking about the ticking time and the awkwardness of it all. 10 o’clock hit and their vibrating sound totally killed the chilliness of the night.
With jokes interjected in between each song and shout outs to bartenders, these guys made the vibe super comfy. I felt as though I had time-warped back to 1994 and my high school friends’ garage. I seriously wished I could quickly sneak back to my place to put on my fleece shirt and combat boots – just to complete the scene.
Hearing song after song, I heard samples of The Pixies, Blur, Weezer, and a smidge, just a smidge, of The Offspring. Lead singer Scotty Loewen’s voice mirrored Black Francis with a hint of that Rivers almost to a tee; the bassist and drummer kept up that familiar and determined 90’s beat, while them Les Pauls blurred the hell out of them strings. The boys finished with a strong tune and not a single head was still.
Setting Up Shop
The people soon dispersed after goodbyes were said on stage. I got to chat with the dudes for a hot second about their set and even snap some fancy photos. Nothing warms my heart more when bands with quality sound have matching quality spirits. They’re silly even off stage.
S’il vous plait, don’t just take my word for it: Take a listen to their sounds at their site.
Joana Ortiz is proudly a native Austinite, a social worker by day, and a music lover by eternity. You can follow her nonsensical and hoodrat thoughts on Twitter.
Photos via Flickr CC, courtesy of Jen M, and The Blistering Speeds’ website.