Monday, March 22, 2010

A SXSW Summary... of Sorts

So, I'd wanted to have kept a day by day blog summary of our time in Austin for the festival but that quickly went out the window due to late nights and constant running around town.

All in all, it was a really good time.

Here's my attempt at capping things off:

Tuesday: Got into Austin, went out for Thai, went to Vice on 6th street to see Max Justus do a set. A good introduction to the festival.

Wednesday: Saw a really good and free Surfer Blood show at the excellent record store Waterloo Records (this place had some great stuff). Ate good diner food with cats from the record machine. Later that night we met some really great people from Springfield, MO at Vice who had the misfortune of dancing and drinking a tad bit too much — so we shared PB&J, water, sympathy with them and they turned out to be some of our best friends the rest of our stay in Austin.

Thursday: Slept in at the hotel, went down to the Jackalope to see our friends/label-mates Capybara and Cowboy Indian Bear play. It was a really good show and people looked stoked about the free beer. Jon and I went to 6th and San Marcos to see the Morning Benders and/or Danielson but upon arrival, the echos of "Did I Step On Your Trumpet" signified our late arrival. Still, we were just in time to see the very great Here We Go Magic who made staying on one chord never sound so good. Afterwards, we went back downtown and met up with Jon's friend from Olympia named Charlie. Charlie was really fun to hang with and so were his great friends. We headed back to San Marcos to see GZA of Wu-Tang fame. Everyone had their W's swaying from side to side. Afterwards, Scott arrived and we met up for a hot second in a crazy loud bar before heading back to the hotel. A good night.

Friday: After sleeping in, we drove to our super-friend Bill's (Scott's old buddy who we met and stayed with the last time we were in Chicago) and greeted a room filled with sleep zombies who'd been partying until 5 AM. So, we let Scott and Co. get their beauty time in and ate some good early lunch a local spot. Afterwards, we did a couple quick ultra-acoustic run-throughs before scoping out our first venue: Casa De Gallo. Which was, in fact, a casa.

Being a casa (ie: house) show, we decided to just have as much fun as possible, which, I think we succeeded in doing. Really good vibes. Later that night, we walked downtown with a herd of various people before setting our sights on Mountain Man — a three-woman group with enrapturing vocal harmonies. On the way, we conveniently met up with our old friends from Vice who were in much better health and happiness than when we last saw them. It was a trek but it was really fun walking around and the MM show was really special. Despite whatever incompetence on the part of the sound guy — feedback, etc. — the group decided to sing a cappella and it was unlike anything else I'd heard at the festival or in a long time. There's talent and then there's something that borders on supernatural. This was the latter.

We ended the night with more walking before hitting Thai Passion for a second round of eggrolls, rice and Thai Iced tea.

Saturday: Being the only ones awake before noon, Jon and I met with our friends again for some good coffee, good conversation and goofy drawing at Spider House Cafe before parting ways. We'll miss 'em. Still, we were hanging out with our great host Bill and his buddies. We went to a BBQ diner and ate some of the best food I'd had in years — breaking my vegetarian diet, if only for this moment, was well worth it. After seconds of the best tasting Pecan Pie ever made, we eyed an amazing Jurassic Park logo on the back of a jeep — pictures will be shared soon enough.

The show at Canvas that night went well, although I had a lot of trouble sound-wise — it's the chance you take when borrowing gear, I suppose. Nevertheless, it was so cool to have all our friends there to support us and even my mom — a ringleader of sorts — seemed to have a good time. Motorboater and Max Justus played after and it was seriously inspiring to hear music both bumpin' and personal.

The hardest part was splitting ways with Jon and Scott — we'd been seeing a lot of each other the last few weeks in Berkeley, San Francisco and Mill Valley. But we ended things on a good note and plans are already brewing for the springtime and summer.

So, when it comes down to it, South By isn't just a place to see a lot of good shows and events, but, for me, it's a place to encounter new people, new ideas, and most importantly, BBQ (?)

signing off,


  1. Brilliant. Happy things to report, I see - so nice. The photos will surely be humorous and happy as well.