First-Ever Grasshopperpalooza Swarms the Ten Eleven
Published: July 17, 2013
I’d put it this way: Imagine a climber on some snow-smothered mountain, trudging ever upward, hearing the rumble from the angered peak above, then glancing up to see the inevitability of his own doom: cascading countless tons of hard-packed ice, broken boulders and shattered trees. He closes his eyes, knowing there is no escape, nods his head to the crushing fury and accepts a good death.
The first time I saw/heard The Grasshopper Lies Heavy was at the Ten Eleven and I was crushed by their aural avalanche. I’m sure that night the very river behind us rippled violent black waves. Their music is that loud. Perhaps avalanche metaphors in the middle of summer aren’t your thing. We could go with volcanoes billowing fire and poisonous fumes upon unsuspecting villagers, asteroids hurtling down and decimating entire species, or some other unstoppable destructive force of your choice. And here we are, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy (TGLH) is finishing up a new album, and are putting together a rather ambitious two-day festival at the Ten Eleven called Grasshopperpalooza. Day one on Saturday includes: TGLH, The Rich Hands, Lonely Horse, Trip the Light, Discretions, Búho, Signalman, The Zukinis and Jared Harville. Sunday brings TGLH, Boyfrndz, Ghost Police, Slo-Poke, Murdered Out, Modern Monarchs, Heat of the Sun and Mount Sherpa.
I meet James Woodard, guitarist for the band, in an overly air-conditioned café (perhaps the source of the questionable avalanche metaphor) to discuss the new album, the upcoming show, San Antonio’s music scene vs. Austin’s, health insurance, the death of the art scene at Blue Star, teaching, cult film soundtracks from the ’80s, Republicans and almond milk. My breakfast burrito arrives just as I ask the first question, adding an awkward tension: Why put on a show like this? It seems like a massive undertaking.
“The scene has seemed really segregated lately, the past two years especially,” Woodard says. “This is an attempt to get all different types of music fans under one roof for two days.”
We talk about the scene and sometimes lack thereof while, between nods and brief statements, I attempt to unobtrusively nibble on my potato, egg, sausage and cheese burrito. I ask why younger people aren’t going to more local shows.
He thinks for a moment. “Maybe it’s because there aren’t any younger bands that are really good,” then quickly adds, “I don’t know, I’m getting old. I do know that getting younger people to local shows is crucial for a good scene though.”
I become slightly distracted and start picking through my food. There is too much egg on one side, not enough bacon on the other, and the cheese is missing. Whoever prepared this thing scooped the ingredients on haphazardly, with little care to the correct ratios of burrito fixings. Woodard, undeterred by my nonsense, continues. “Just think back at how important music was to you when you were 17 or 20. Those kids have a passion for music that jaded bar hoppers lack.”