The haze of SXSW seems to have finally lifted, it’s been a week since I’ve been back to reality from the madness but I miss it like crazy because if there’s one thing we barricade girls love and that’s a concert.
My Friday morning started horribly. I got woken up to find out that my car was missing from the parking lot at the apartment that we rented for our time in Austin.
My heart dropped, I was half asleep and almost didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself.
Turns out if you stay at this particular facility and don’t park your car in the visitor parking space [which wasn’t that far from where I parked] they tow your car. I wasn’t too happy to find out I had to pay for not only a lengthy cab ride to this sketchy towing company but also $200 to get my car back.
I was not happy at all but I was determined to not let that bring my trip down. If anything I had to make sure to make this the best night it could possibly be.
Fast forward to 6:30 pm, we just finished watching the Wytches and Drenge take the stage at Sailor Jerry’s when we got word from our friend Alyssa that Albert Hammond, Jr was doing a free show at the venue she was volunteering at around 8pm that night.
For those of you who don’t know who Albert Hammond, Jr is…
(How can you not?? But in all seriousness, Albert is in a brilliant indie rock band that ignited the early 2000’s, you may have heard of them they’re called the Strokes. If you don’t know the Strokes…
1). I’m worried about you.
2). Only kidding, but do yourselves a favor and look up the Strokes and listen to their entire discography.
The Strokes influenced many of my favorite bands [for example one of my favorite bands, Arctic Monkeys] BUT that is not all Albert is known for so do yourself another favor and listen to his solo work because it won’t disappoint!
His most recent EP was AHJ and with that, Albert has been touring with Jake Bugg and now, most recently he’s been performing on his own headlining shows across the U.S.)
We head on over to the Austin Convention Center and try to find our way to the Hackathon Awards in Ballroom D. We finally found our way to the 4th floor and Ballroom D, but most of the doors were locked [because they only had 2 designated entrances] so we were just looking around to see where we can enter from and that’s when we see two guys in the corner of our eyes trying to also enter through the doors that we were trying to get into. Our backs were to these two guys because we were trying to enter the facility and when we turned around to go another way, we see who it was… We stopped in our tracks and all looked to each other and were trying to find out if that in fact was Albert Hammond Jr that just walked past us. It was.
We realized it when we saw the amazing AHJ jacket that he was wearing [we all recognized it from the tweet he sent out about it. Image courtesy to Albert’s instagram]. We all were quietly fangirling because we were now inside the Hackathon Awards and we didn’t want to make a scene… Also because Albert was still in distance of us and we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves.
The show started around 8:10ish or so because the band that performed before Albert went a little longer than expected, so that set him back but the anticipation of seeing the band come out and set up the equipment never gets old. [Most people go on about getting butterflies in their stomach when they see someone they like or fall in love, but for me it’s seeing the roadies/band roll out equipment because that means in a moment’s time the show will start.]
I look to my left and I see black and red again, that’s when I realized it was Albert waiting to go onstage. My heart starting racing and I tell my friend Alyssa, who was on my right hand side, and we got extremely excited.
Of course I was front row, there was no barricade, so it was just us and the stage. Which was amazing because you see all the equipment and band members up close, although I had to look up because I am only 5’3 but it was all worth it. I was happy I finally got to see his electric showmanship skills for myself.
As we were waiting, we were all collectively saying how we wanted to meet Albert and how awesome it was we got to see him for free. Then Brandy said aloud but to herself “please Albert, come out, we want to meet you. Please Albert!” and behind the curtain that was behind me, I heard a voice say “sure, just give me 10 minutes!” That voice was in fact Albert’s.
Our nerves started setting in. Exactly 10 minutes later, Albert makes his way to our little gang and is more than happy to sign autographs, take pictures with each and every one of us and just talk to us which was probably my favorite thing because when can you say you had a conversation with one of your favorite artists? Even if it was brief, the fact that it happened was enough.
My sixteen year old self was beyond ecstatic because that’s when I first heard Is This It in 2001 and now I can say I got to meet Albert Hammond Jr, who not only is one of my favorite bands but who is one of my favorite solo artists. He’s definitely one to watch.
What made meeting Albert even better [as if it could] was when he signed my receipt from the towing company from the fuck up that was Friday morning. Talk about epic.