Touring on a DIY circuit makes the music world seem small and interconnected. By coincidence, QUILT happened to be booked, through a friend of a friend, on the same house show in Fredericksburg, VA as Sore Eros, Pop 1280, and Cult of Youth – all of whom are playing a house show I helped coordinate at SXSW. We
all have mutual friends, but had never met before. It was a cool surprise.
On Saturday afternoon we left Philly at 4. The four-hour car ride breezed by, and we pulled up to this house in Fredericksburg by 8; Fredericksburg, as a town, was pretty spooky. While Quilt set up, I went for a walk with four kids to a gas station to buy some beer. I asked them about life and shows in Fredericksburg, and on the way to the gas station, they pointed out a Confederate cemetery. While carrying back two 12-packs of High Life, they walked me down the town's main drag and pointed out an old slave auction block. The next morning, we ate breakfast at Battlefield Restaurant, next door to a Fredericksburg Battlefield preservation site.
Spookiness and our country's historical hiccups aside, the show was great. I was originally most unsure of this stop,
because I don’t know anyone in Fredericksburg and had never heard of
anyone playing there on tour. But this turned out to be a house party
of awesome, hospitable students from the University of Mary Washington,
who are just starting to host touring bands. (Boston’s Many Mansions played the same living room on Sunday; all of the bands who Quilt shared the bill with in Philadelphia played there on Monday.) One of the kids who lives there told me the house is sometimes called "The House of Flies."
Back at the house, the bands had started playing, set up in the corner of the tiny living room, in front of a wall adorned with tapestries and paintings and posters. While Quilt played another killer set, the room filled up, with some kids sitting on the ground bopping their heads, some filing up the stairs for a better view; by the end, a dance party had began in the kitchen. It was cool to see so many kids psyched about bands they weren't familar with. (Though there were around 5 or 6 kids who came out to this show after seeing Quilt play another Fredericksburg house show last Spring.) Quilt’s new songs, most of which appear on their not-yet-released record Gome Home, are their strongest and most focused to date; my favorites of their new songs are “Cowboys in the Void” and “Penobska Oakwalk”. (Check the video above, and download an mp3 below.)
DOWNLOAD: Quilt "Penobska Oakwalk [mp3]
After Quilt, Sore Eros – a Northampton trio with a forthcoming record on Blackburn Recordings – played a hazy set of spaced-out folksy songs. Later, Cult of Youth and Pop 1280 – both from Brooklyn and Sacred Bones Recordings – burned through darker, heavier sets. The night ended with Pop 1280’s catchiest jam, “Step into the Grid,” which I think will definitely be on my “post-SXSW new music” playlist -- along with all four of these bands. If you’re going to SXSW, check them out!
Two days 'til Austin!