Matador At 21 : The Lost Weekend – AUTOPSY TIME

October 6th, 2010 at 5:23 pm by Gerard

That didn’t turn out so badly
, did it? From our perspective the paying customers and bands at last weekend’s Matador 21 celebrations at The Palms (NOT SHOWN ABOVE, sheesh!) had a great time.  So did we — ridiculously so.  I think I can speak on behalf of Chris, Patrick and Martin when I say the 72 whirlwind was equal parts humbling, gratifying and inspiring — the overwhelming majority of performances were scorchers (feel free to rate ’em yourself in the comments area) and we couldn’t have been more psyched to be surrounded by such a crazy bunch of friends, old and new, from around the world.  That so many of you went to such lengths to attend this event is not something we’re gonna forget for a very long time.

We’ve got a mountain of people to thank and if I’ve left anyone out, please take it easy on me BECAUSE MY HEAD STILL HURTS FROM SUNDAY.  To our co-promoter, FYF Fest (Sean Carlson, Phil Hoelting, Mariko Jones) gracias for believing this could actually work.   To our hosts, The Palms Resort & Casino, you couldn’t have been more gracious or helpful (especially when you removed the “PRIME RIB SPECIAL” text and replaced it with “MATADOR 21 : SOLD OUT” on the marquee).  Though the auspices of MySpace Music, millions of viewers around the globe were able to see Mitch Mitchell nearly get his lights punched out some amazing shows.  Altamont – thanks for the cool tote bags (and for not cursing us, with, y’know, Altamont-esque vibes) , Incase, thanks for the iPhone cases.  Sailor Jerry, Miller and Black Star — despite nearly killing a few of us, we’re thanking you as well.

Transmission‘s Graham Williams and Johnny Sarkis performed tireless troubleshooting duties just hours after opening a new venue in Austin, TX.   David Scheid became “THE FIXER” in ways that had no impact on Sunday’s NFL schedule, but heroically assisted our efforts over the weekend in ways we can barely quantify.  I’ve already thanked Nils Bernstein, Gabe Spierer and Adam Farrell privately, so I’ll not embarrass them by citing their brilliant work in this public space. Winston Case’s excursions into the Matador video vaults might’ve exposed him to asbestos, bed bugs and VIDEO MADNESS, but such sacrifices kept us entertained between bands. Archivist Jesper Eklow and former design geniuses, Mark Ohe and Frank Longo, helped assemble many of the fantastic materials that were on dazzling display over the course of the weekend.  We thank Zia Records and Origami Records for setting up show in the lobby, and patiently answering my inquiry about that “fuck you” song I’ve heard so much about (weirdly, that record wasn’t for sale).

Our masters of ceremonies for the weekend were thrown to the lions and somehow emerged unscathed ;  Jeffrey Jensen, Bob Nastanovich, Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster, thank you so much for sparing all 2300 ticket holders the “humor” of Jay Mohr.   On the DJ front, we commend Mike Haliechuk, James McNew, Dean Bein, Rusty Clarke and Dave Martin for supplying excellent pre-recorded entertainment.   Karaoke Underground made their Las Vegas debut late Saturday and Sunday nights and with assistance from such members of the Matador roster as Ted Leo, Sandy Miranda, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, showed the Matador at 21 attendees what Austin residents have known for ages (ie. K.U.’s shows-are-tops, so thanks, Kaleb & Hannah).

An attempt to do something on this scale wasn’t gonna be without hiccups  — or wild coughing spasms.  But by the time Guided By Voices had concluded their 30 song set early Monday morning, we felt like The Lost Weekend was everything we’d hoped for and a little bit more.  You might feel otherwise, and perhaps someday there will be an open forum of some sort where you can freely express your dissent. Until that day arrives, however, everyone who wasn’t there will just have to trust me when I say Matador At 21 Was  A Blast (and now I need a cold washcloth).  To the people who care so much about our artists and label, thank you for sharing it with us.

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82 Responses to “Matador At 21 : The Lost Weekend – AUTOPSY TIME”

  1. oleus Says:

    no formal mention of jay unless i missed it, but spoon played a reatard song, and they played “it ain’t gonna save me” on the video screens during an intermission. his presence was sadly missed.

    highlights for me (excluding GBV because i’m biased, favorite band ever)

    1. sonic youth (believe the hype, it was phenomenal)
    2. belle and sebastian (far exceeded my expectations)
    3. fucked up (a revelation)
    4. yo la tengo (hadn’t seen them since 1992 and they appear to have not aged)
    5. chavez

    runner up – esben/cold cave (dark electro goth dance music with free beer works for me)

    day 1 was insane.

    the only time i was distracted was New Pornos – something was off, not sure if it was in the performance or sound but it was like a different band than i’d seen a few months ago. hard to describe

  2. Chunge Says:

    Never could get the stream to work on iphone…

  3. blahblah Says:

    My prediction of the best concert event that will ever occur in the 21st century was spot on. That was so, so, so much fun. The whole weekend – from the insanity of the Hardwood Suite to the shieky digs in my 1-bedroom suite to the amazingness of the gigs themselves to the crazy and awesome people everywhere.

    I woke up every morning exclaiming “WOW!” about the night before. I’m still floating on air that I was actually there and witnessed every band (except Shearwater).

    My favorites in no particular order:

    1) Sonic Youth (top 3 performance of 34 I’ve seen over the last 20 years)
    2) Yo La Tengo
    3) Belle and Sebastian
    4) Ted Leo
    5) Superchunk
    6) Cold Cave
    7) The Clean
    8) GBV (they played “My Impression Now” WOW!)
    9) Every other band…

    Thanks Matador! I’ll see you in 21 more years!

  4. susie Says:

    Dylan B says: “One last thing. For my sanity, can someone else please tell that since they got home, they have spent every waking hour scanning the internet for articles, photos, and videos about this show?”

    yes, yes, yes. the other 5 people i knew there have been doing the same as well. And what Sean said:

    “Although I almost feel this weird sense of loss; like nothing will be ever be as fantastic as Matador at 21.”

  5. poisonafro Says:

    THIS Vegas local was super stoked to have y’all in town for the most amazing weekend ever! Chavez absolutely killed it, what band would want to follow that set? Seeing Come for the first time in 16 years was well worth the wait. And Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo proved why they are indie legends. I was lucky enough to meet Liz Phair at the merch booth on Saturday night, she looked beautiful and sounded even better on Sunday night. Awesome awesome awesome weekend! Thank you Matador Records. Thank you:)

  6. Patrick Says:

    The box set is in memoriam to Jay (amongst others whom we have lost). RIP, Jay.

  7. Patrick Says:

    re: T-shirts – we do hope to have a few left over to sell. Please stay tuned, just waiting for returns from the West Coast.

    thanks to everyone for all the kind comments. it was the time of my life.

  8. Local Vegas Girl Says:

    Thank you Matador for the best weekend of my life thus far and for bringing this amazing event to my hometown. To the boy who I made out with at the Hardwood Suites afterparty, thank you for making me walk around all weekend with a silly grin on my face! Come back soon Matador!

  9. Mike T Says:

    Best weekend, best concert experience of my life. Just amazing to be able to walk down to within 15 feet, dead center, for any band. Some personal highlights: the faux-crowd baiting from new pornos in the “no no no” singalong (and chatting with their guitarist in the elevator directly after); B&S redeeming “Fold Your Hands…” – awesome setlist; SY laying waste. As others have said, there’s a sense of loss because it’s impossible to imagine a better event.

  10. JJ Says:

    Can’t believe no one is mentioning Cat Power. That was a real fest highlight for me, and I don’t even follow Cat Power.

  11. Shawn Says:

    What a great weekend. Made me a new fan of Chavez, The Clean, Dead Meadow, and Fucked Up. Reminded me why I love GBV and Sonic Youth. Kareoke Underground was a blast to watch – wish I’d known it continued on Sunday night too!

    For the above commenters, Jay also got a nice tribute when Fucked Up covered An Ugly Death during the band battle.

    Any chance some of the show posters will be for sale online? I really wanted to buy one but there were no tubes available at the merch stand and it would’ve gotten wrecked in transit. Also a big thanks for the lo-price Matador CD releases at the merch table – a great way to get caught up on albums I missed.

  12. Olivier Says:

    Gotta say Harlem were awesome, their short set was SO fun. It solidified my suspicion that Hippies will be my favorite album of the year.

    Girls’ set was beautiful, too bad it ended the way it did. Substance is an amazing song, can’t wait for the next album.

    My favorite moments would have to be Pavement ending their set with AT & T and Yo La Tengo with Blue Line Swinger though, my very favorite songs from both bands. Almost got pretty emotional actually! Add to the mix all those great performances from all the bands (past and current) and it went way beyond nostalgia. Thank you so much!

  13. MF Says:

    Fantastic weekend! I met some amazing people and had a wonderful time. Further, I was amazed by how every band put on what was one of their best performance. Highlights for me were: GBV (cuz it was a big party!), Jon Spencer, Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Superchunk, Fucked Up, and Come. There were certainly other great sets, but those are the bands that stick out. I really appreciate all the effort and passion that was put into making this weekend possible. Thanks Matador staff!

  14. Barabajagal Says:

    Loved it, keep thinking about it, wish I could do it over with massive amounts of stimulants so I would have been able to make all the early stuff and after-hours stuff, too. Sonic Youth was awesome, Pavement, B & S, GBV, Cat power was AMAZING (Jim White–so good)–hell, even groups I don’t like that much were awesome. So much fun! Thanks Matador, glad we could help you celebrate!

  15. susie Says:

    I can’t believe more people aren’t mentioning when Stuart Murdoch almost slipped onstage on a BANANA PEEL. total gag/cartoon moment!

  16. Kaleb Says:

    Patrick, are there any of James McNew’s posters with the Everything Flows chorus left? Kicking myself for forgetting to buy one.

    There were so many great performances, but to pick one, Chavez really blew me away. My expectations were pretty in sync with the other performers but for some reason Chavez’s records didn’t really click with me until I saw them this weekend. Hannah and I were staggering zombies singing “Unreal Is Here” all the way home to Austin.

    I’m humbled to see so many people mention Karaoke Underground as one of their highlights. We had an amazing time and we’re eternally grateful to Gerard and Matador for bringing us to Vegas. This was the best weekend ever, no doubt.

  17. Listener Greg Says:

    I can’t even begin to thank you guys for one of the most memorable weekends of my life. I was debating whether or not to pull the trigger on going because income has been spotty lately, but GOD is the credit card debt worth it. If I had known how life affirming it would be, I would’ve paid triple what I did.

  18. sonic tooth Says:

    such a ridic time. i knew i’d be bummed come monday…..but i still am. can’t that weekend just stretch out into life-size time? so. much. fun.
    my faves. 1. GBV 2. the Clean 3. Chavez 4. JSBX 5. Fucked Up 6. Sonic Youth 7. Everything else……………
    My apologies to anyone at the McCarran Intl Airport on Monday who doesn’t like drunken idiots saying “Blues Explosion!” in random bursts.

  19. humanclock Says:

    Wow! I didn’t know it was legal to pack this much fun into such a short amount of time! I echo the comments about Chavez. Both my wife and I only knew of them and they were one of the highlights. Even a relative in Arkansas who was watching the myspace stream told my wife how much he enjoyed their set even though he knew nothing about them.

    This event must have been a logistical nightmare to pull off. Question…how long before the announcement date had you all been planning and preparing for this event?

    I have to say that one of the highlights for me was actually the Karaoke Underground event. Of course I loved all the bands and everything, but it was really special to see regular people have a chance to sing songs that they truly love. (cue scene from Almost Famous with Sapphire saying “To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts”).

    Speaking of which, I have a several minutes worth of video from Karaoke Underground that I’ll get online in the next day or two a few people can see themselves in action. (this includes you Gerard!)

  20. Anne Says:

    Wow. What a weekend! We just arrived home a few hours ago after the second road trip segment for us of our Matador 21 adventure.

    First, and foremost – THANK YOU Gerard for making this all possible for Michael and I. It was great to meet you and Molly, and Michael had a great time catching up with so many people from his past. The whole weekend was surreal, and intense, and incredibly fun.

    I don’t know that I could pick any one favorite performance. I saw people I never thought I’d see – Belle & Sebastian & Liz Phair. Sonic Youth were absolutely amazing. Ted Leo was a big highlight for me, both Friday Night and everything he did on Sunday (great interview, haha!). Others I loved – Fucked Up, Superchunk, Chavez, Yo La Tengo, Come, Jon Spencer, Guitar Wolf, Shearwater…

    Jessica, the bartender in the VIP box on Friday and Sunday was awesome, and the three guys in the Hardwood were working their butts off every time I saw them. I’m glad they got to come in and enjoy the music on Sunday afternoon.

    Las Vegas is crazy – I don’t know that we’ll ever go back, unless it’s for Matador 42…

  21. Sérgio Felizardo Says:

    I would do it all over again every weekend even traveling again for 8000 km without even thinking about it twice. that was how awesome these was. fabulous concerts, extremely nice people. a total surprise to see how polite everyone was at the shows. incredible people we met. it stays deep in our hearts. thanks Matador, thanks to everyone we met during the weekend, thanks to stephen malkmus for letting me take a picture with him when I found him playing cards at Gold Coast’s casino saturday afternoon

  22. Scott Says:

    That was one for the ages, thankyouthankyouthankyou!

    And count me as one more vote for more shirts – the merch area was all packed away by the time we staggered out of GBV, sigh.

  23. Andy Says:

    Any chance any of this will be released on DVD/CD/Streaming? Just reading about this show now – too, too late… I am not as cool and “with-it” as I once was, I guess…

  24. Ken Katkin Says:

    On October 9, 2010, Trash Flow Radio aired two hours of songs and stories of Matador-at-21. Featured: live recordings of M21 performances (including some primo Scharpling & Wurster intros); tracks by Matador artists who should have been there but weren’t; and post-game review and analysis from several attendees. For a limited time, you can download all the action, ad-free, in two parts from:

    Download: Trash Flow Radio Oct 9, 2010 (Matador-at-21 Special) – Part 1 of 2 (79 mins | 73MB): .

    Download: Trash Flow Radio Oct 9, 2010 (Matador-at-21 Special) – Part 2 of 2 (45 mins | 52MB): .

    Playlist for Trash Flow Radio — Oct 9, 2010 (Matador-at-21 Special):

  25. Patrick Says:

    The segments of the show livestreamed by MySpace will appear in pieces over the next few weeks, some excellent footage is here:

    Stay tuned for further announcements (and see elsewhere on the Matablog for an excellent 15-minute fan-made doc of the weekend, including an apparently unplanned wedding).

  26. tim Says:

    I figured that the weekend would be a lot of fun, but this totally exceeded expectations. ATP’s have given me a flavor of a well-sized, insta-community ready to wallow in rock and roll excess, and this also delivered on all fronts. only next time, i’d take more 21s at the blackjack table, please.

    i’ve got all my photos and reviews done now, for those interested:

  27. question Says:

    Hey Matadorians,

    Who was the dude carry the canadian maple leaf print here:


  28. James J. Says:

    Patrick, etc.

    I’m still looking to get another M@21 shirt as mine didn’t make it home with me. Will the leftovers be available in the store or somewhere else?

    Thanks in advance

  29. Wendy Says:

    I felt like I was part of history.

  30. oleus Says:

    any rough timeable on when a video release may happen? any chance of bluray?

  31. Gerard Says:

    neither we or the bands have been provided with all of the footage yet. So we’re a ways away from even deciding if there will be a DVD / blu-ray.

  32. Raul Cachay Says:

    It happened a month ago and I still can’t believe it… Thanks again, Matador…