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Michael Vazquez

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SXSW Flashback: Under the Iron Bridge With Sydney Wayser

Posted: 04/25/2012 3:04 pm

The sound bleed from a nearby concert forced us to decamp from the riverbed, making this an even more mobile session... So, back around the hairpin cement walkway that leads from under the iron bridge to the rest of the world we went, cramming into the van (now made even more painful for these just-off-the-road musos by the additional payload of me and my cams Bogarting the coveted front seat).

As we drove around Austin, I prattled on about the relationship between Siouxsie & The Banshees' "Monitor" and The Cabin In The Woods, and we debated whether to shoot in an abandoned house or a public park, opting for the park, in order to A: minimize the number of offenses we could be arrested for (Austin is cracking down on outdoor shoots, though the compliance officers I spoke with during a prior shoot were lovely with me, as we joked about their urban dune-buggy) and to B: maximize dispersal options, should we have to make a run for it, as it were.

After we found a lovely spot, I came up with a weird idea, and you gotta love a band that trusts you when you ask them to forego verdant, waterfront acreage, and to instead cram together again (after just getting out of an overcrowded van they'd been in for days) into the entrance of a lovely public toilet which emerged like a post-industrial objet d'art.



Bearing none of the pretentious unpretentiousness that usually over-informs post-industrial design, this outhouse was simply beautiful, its rusted slab coming up through the concrete almost painfully, like wisdom teeth, or an old settler's tobacco-stained choppers. There was also an unanticipated thematic accord twixt its rusty patina and this song's Western-ish tale of taking renegade flight amidst frenzied promises of return. The outhouse also made for a cool band shell, and its heavy metal door served as percussion instrument, giving us a final bit of improvised punctuation.

Driving around for even a short time with a band can reveal much, and when this was over, the lone wolf in me wistfully, during a moment of half-hearted nostalgia (as nostalgia always is half-hearted, hence its power) envied their solidarity, but I also felt a little extra swagger in my own solitary step, as if I'd just lived an adventure with some hard-livin', long-distance-trekkin' outlaws. Released from the van like a fish returning to water, I hit the streets of Austin dazed, before I eventually was lost in the crowd, as their caravan rolled on.

Thanks as always to the artists and hard-working publicists who teamed up with me and made these sessions so much fun. On this shoot, thanks to Beth, Sydney Wayser & Co., and Ashley and Jamie at Press Here.

A quick musical moment, stolen while the band set-up their gear...

 
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