As you may or may not know, I’m an Austinite, and I have a blessedly typical, yet nevertheless awesome, SXSW experience to share with you.
I had just wrapped up an early evening which featured seeing my girlfriend’s friend’s band Other Lives* and was biking home past Cheer Up Charlie’s on 6th Street when I heard what I assumed was two bros engaging in a dueling synthesizer space-out. It was very Emeralds-esque, and I had to circle back and see what the deal was. As soon as I rounded the block, the wash of cascading hypnosis abruptly stopped and segued into a head-spinning finger-tapping frenzy. Anticipation welled in my chest, and I got the feeling that something absolutely unexpectedly amazing was going on onstage. I rounded into view and was confronted with the sight of a dude absolutely shredding onstage, flying solo. Holy chops! I stood outside the fence cordoning off the area and watched the guy just dominate his guitar for 20 minutes. The guitarist’s face was pained, his posture contorted, as he finger-tapped blazingly intricate guitar fractals. At some point, I caught my jaw just hanging open, and I laughed to myself in sheer glee. Occasionally, I’d glance around, and everyone who was watching (probably about 40 in all) had the same ecstatic, engrossed gaze. A handful of times I’d make eye contact with a fellow traveller and we’d exchange one of those holy-shit-are-you-seeing-what-I’m-seeing glances. And yes, we’d all convey to each other, this is really happening. Affirmation was all around.
And then, after about 20 minutes of dizzyingly unleashing a torrent of harmonics and overtones, the guitarist abruptly stopped. There was a split second of silence before the audience erupted into a round of applause surprisingly enthusiastic for its modest size. I walked straight up to the guy and gave him my typical dumbstruck intro:
“Hey, man, that was awesome.”
He seemed very generous and grateful, and told me his project was called Hubble—an apt name. I left, absolutely addicted.
Once I got home, I spent an hour trying to find information on the guy. As one might imagine, a really obscure act with a name as heavily trafficked as Hubble was kind of hard to come by online. Determination conquers all, though, and I finally found Hubble’s casette online. Click the living bejeezus out of that link! CLICK IT AND LOVE IT. I also found this excellent video of of Hubble performing on a Brooklyn rooftop. Here it is:
A secondary takeaway from all this (the primary one being that Hubble is important and beautiful and transformative and that I was lucky to see him live): I have learned that Terroreyes.tv is a totally badass website.
*I would like to go on record to state that Other Lives is an absolutely phenomenal band. And don’t be suspicious: My judgment here is not clouded from relational duty or proximal taint. Their newest album, Tamer Animals, is sad, beautiful, triumphant music. Listen to them.