Late last night, internationally acclaimed rock musician Chris Lutzko and myself set off on foot from Trailer Space to try and catch the Cheater Slicks’ set at Beerland.  We were well aware we’d be running the Red River gauntlet of horrible crowds and random noise coming from all corners, but it was either that or sit around and wait for the passed out guy in the Sid Vicious tee to piss himself (trust me, it was a coin flip).

At some point around the Sheraton on 12th Street, we were accosted by a young gent who said he didn’t know the area, seemed thoroughly unfamiliar with SXSW, and claimed he’d been separated from a band that was playing somewhere downtown.

“Have you guys heard of Immortal Guardian?” No, we hadn’t.  Our new friend claimed the band in question were practitioners of “portable metal”, and were masters of the burgeoning genre known as “intense shredding”.

This was all sounding a little Faxed Head for my tastes, and when he asked if could use our phones, we both declined.

About 5 minutes later, we came upon a quintet who’d set up shop in the narrow bit of real estate between Red Eyed Fly and the Hot Dog King. Though they seemed to playing through the equivalent of an Easy Bake P.A., “intense shredding” (or at least shredding) would be an apt characterization for the path they chose to trample.  And as you might’ve already guessed, the big, light-up sign above them read, “IMMORTAL GUARDIAN”.

What can we learn from this episode?  For starters, if there’s any justice in the world, these guys passed the Red Eyed Fly audition (if not the Hot Dog King’s).  Secondly, just because a young fella is jabbering mindlessly on Austin’s busiest public thoroughfare, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to run away with your smartphone.  Or mine.