We were just introduced to The Forms music recently, and once we were we immediately booked them for our show in Austin last week. Singer Alex Tween kept a log of his trip for us, which you can read below.

Listen: Stravinsky.mp3

2007_03_arts_van.jpg3/9 Brooklyn, NY. I reset the trip meter to 0.0 and after the first mile have the thought that there's only 1,956 more to Austin. I am accompanied by pal/tour photographer Andreas, as the rest of the Forms fly down on Tuesday.

3/10 Atlantic City, NJ. In retrospect, it is unfortunate that this is the first stop, as most of the tour budget is squandered here at the casino.

We head to the Borgata that night, and I immediately go over to the poker tables, it being "my game." By 1am, I am down $100. By 3am, $300. I find myself overcome by a crack-like compulsion to continue playing but am ultimately dissuaded by the $4.00 ATM fee.

3/12 Next stop: New Orleans, LA.


New Orleans has long been one of my favorite cities, but I have not been there since before Hurricane Katrina and so am not quite sure what to expect. I am relieved to find it more or less how I remembered it, with perhaps a few more scars and vacant lots than before.


The cat you see above is one of two belonging to our lovely New Orleans hosts Christopher and Jarina (why do all cats look evil in photos?). Andreas had been warned by Jarina not to let the cats escape outside. Unaware of this, I go out to the van only to be followed outside by both cats. Upon my return I notice both cats on the porch and ask Andreas whether they are allowed to be outside, to which he responds "No". A wave of panic ensues as I realize I am about to be responsible for the death of my friends' cats, having been in New Orleans not even 12 hours.

I race over to the porch to try to grab them. Tordy (pictured above) is an easy target. She is visibly terrified of the outside world, meowing pitifully and cowering behind a bicycle. The other cat Clivus however runs under the house. He comes out just frequently enough to make us believe we have a chance of catching him, only to disappear under the house again.


We try every imaginable method to lure him inside (clanking food dish, making the standard "pss-pss-pss" cat sound), none of which work. Eventually he tires of this game and goes back inside on his own.


We've been privy to many debates about the quality of the public school system in America. Debate no longer my friends, for the results are in and will be issue thrus march 15.


We stop by the famed Cafe du Monde for some Beignets du Anthrax.

3/14 Austin, TX - SXSW Day 1: We finally arrive at SXSW and are rejoined by the rest of The Forms.


We play the Austinist/Gothamist show, which was fantastic (ed. note: watch The Forms at our show, right here.) Before our set, the mayor of Austin himself gives a speech about how Austin has no sports team and consequently Live Music is its sports team. I walk down the streets of Austin later in the day as music blasts from every corner and realize how inconceivable it is that this could happen in New York.


Later on, we catch the Meat Puppets. Someone yells "F#s@* Nirvana", which elicits scattered boos and hisses from the crowd. Brendan and I also stop by the Todd P party, which is characteristically in the middle of nowhere. It is a welcome break from the crush of 6th street. We watch Tiny Masters of Today, featuring the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion drummer on drums with his tween-age kids on guitar and bass. I am later shocked to find out that the guitarist/singer is a boy.


3/15 SXSW Day 2: We tape a TV show for HDNet, playing acoustic for the first time ever. It goes well. Afterwards someone tells me "I didn't realize you could sing" which strikes me as not exactly a compliment.


That night I catch one of the best live performances I have ever seen, given by The Dirty Projectors. The singer Dave used to live in an apartment on the other side of our practice space wall, and I often felt guilty because we would sometimes play at 4am, but he never complained. I had seen him play a number of times before, but never with the existing lineup he has for this show, which includes two female musicians who play guitar and bass extraordinarily well and have angelic voices that are always in key. At several points, the three of them are singing and it is just stunning. The rest of the audience clearly feels the same way, as rapturous applause follows every song.

I consider sticking around for a certain Austin-based band I like, but decide to see someone else. Or to put this another way, I Love You But I've Chosen Stars of Track and Field.

3/16 SXSW Day 3: No show today. On our way into town, I pass by David Cross on the street for a second time, and I overhear excited street chatter about Slash of Guns and Roses being sighted nearby. About 5 minutes later, a girl stops me on the street and asks me if I have seen Slash. I tell her no but that I've seen Axl, but she seems not to care and continues on to search for Slash.

I return to the Todd P party to see Rebecca Gates, formerly of the great band The Spinanes. Back in high school, I played in a band with the Forms drummer Matt, and we covered the Spinanes song "Entire". Around that time I ran into Rebecca Gates at a show in NYC and told her about the cover, and she replied that if it goes to #1 I had to send her royalties. I tell her this story now 10 years later, but she doesn't remember. She is incredibly nice, however.

Shows seen: Walkmen, Russian Circles, Pagoda, 31knots, Maritime, Sunburned Hand of the Man, and the great Pattern Is Movement.

3/17 SXSW Day 4: By now I begin to hear gripes from various people that they are overwhelmed by SXSW and wish the festival was only 3 days. Today also happens to be St. Patrick's Day, which no doubt will exacerbate that situation. Later on I watch mobs of indie rock people and green-clad revelers crisscrossing the streets, never quite intermingling.

Our showcase tonight is at a place called "Uncle Flirty's" - an enigmatic name for a venue, with its seeming overtones of incest. Uncle Flirty's has a green room with a pool table, which we happily make ample use of. The showcase itself goes well. I take the night off showhopping-wise and decide to stay at the venue to watch the other bands (Black Hollies, The Zincs, Chris Mills, Arboretum), all of whom play solid sets.

3/19 Memphis, TN: On our return home, we decide to take a slight detour through Memphis. About 20 miles outside of town we put on Paul Simon's "Graceland", for obvious reasons.

Everything in Memphis is dirt cheap except for one thing, which happens to cost about as much as Disneyland. Having blown the tour budget in Atlantic City, we decided to do our own self-guided tour of Graceland, which consisted of loitering outside its walls peering in, figuring this was more realistic anyway.

The walls of Graceland are covered with scrawled poems and declarations of love and devotion directed towards The King. Of course, some people had other ideas...


We get the van an oil change on our way out of town. The clerk asks if "the service was performed in a timely manner", a phrase I now fully intend to incorporate into my everyday speech.

3/20 Brooklyn, NY: 3900 miles and 11 days later, we return home. There's snow all around. Atlantic City seems like 3 months ago. I log into my various email accounts and find hundreds upon hundreds of unopened emails waiting for me. I contemplate ways to make my everyday life more like the past 11 days.