Daniel Johnston, the cult favorite Austin singer-songwriter, celebrated his 58th birthday yesterday in grand fashion. In Johnston’s honor, the city of Austin declared it Hi, How Are You Day, a reference to his iconic frog doodle that has graced album art, T-shirts, and a mural in downtown Austin. We at Stereogum marked the occasion with a lineup of great artists covering Johnston’s songs, which is also how the city of Austin did it.
Last night, performers including the Flaming Lips, Built To Spill, Yo La Tengo, the Black Angels, Gavin DeGraw, Bob Mould, The Moth & The Flame, and Bob Schneider took the stage at Austin’s Moody Theater for the Hi, How Are You Day concert. Due to Johnston’s lifelong struggles with mental health, proceeds from the show benefitted the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit dedicated to “inspiring new conversations around mental health issues by funding and creating thoughtful media content, projects and events.”
The bands each played a short set split between Johnston covers and a few of their own originals. For instance, Yo La Tengo did their famous rendition of Johnston’s “Speeding Motorbike” plus their own “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Tom Courtenay,” and the rarity “Ashes On The Ground.” Built To Spill inserted a cover of Johnston’s “Bloody Rainbow” in a set that also included “Goin’ Against Your Mind,” “The Plan,” and “Stab.” The Flaming Lips opened up with Johnston’s “Go” and then unfurled “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt. 1,” “She Don’t Use Jelly,” and “Do You Realize??”
All four hours and 30 minutes of the event are captured for posterity on the Flaming Lips’ YouTube channel, so check it out below.