So now that we’ve gathered ourselves and fully recovered from the Spring Break for music fans known as South by Southwest, it’s time to recap some of the bands, activities, food, fights, and freaks of this beast of a music festival.
March 16th, 2011 – I arrived in Austin, TX around 10PM and snagged a taxi to the Convention Center just in time to pick up my credentials. I did not waste anytime. As soon as I arrived I downed a bratwurst from a local vendor and headed out into the night.
Now if you’re not already familiar with SXSW; here’s a brief rundown: SXSW Music is one of the largest music festivals in the United States, with more than 2,000 performers playing in more than 90 venues around downtown Austin over four days. During the day, various parties, showcases, and VIP/RSVP-only events paint the down from noon until 6 or 7PM. Once 8PM rolls around, that’s when the wristband and badge only events begin. Wristbands can range from $165-$200 and badges, the golden ticket of the festival, can go from $565 to $750. A bit much but if you have the money to spend, I guess it’s worth walking into the Seaholm Power Plant to see Kanye West with Jay-Z and skipping all the lines.
Anyway, I decided to make my way to the Club de Ville to see the lovely and adorable Tennis. Not only is their album Cape Dory a lofty and sweet side of beach rock, but the story behind Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore’s 8-month jouney down the Eastern seaboard was interesting enough for me to check these guys out live. The performance was not unlike their music; playful, charming, and light hearted. Alaina Moore skipped and danced along as she belted out some of the best tunes off their latest album.
Next I made my way to catch the always amazing Okkervil River. Having missed them several times, I took the opportunity to finally catch one of my favorite folk-rock acts in action. While they played many songs off Black Sheep Boy, The Stage Names and The Stand Ins, Okkervil shined by performing a few off their upcoming album, I Am Very Far. At this point, lead singer Will Sheff clearly exhibited a comfortable demeanor with the crowd, letting himself explode as he swayed and yelled with the amount of enthusiasm you’d expect from the man. I stayed for a bit longer than I expected but then decided to make my way over to the #MEGABLAAG showcase across town.
#MEGABLAAG was a “private” music blogger party hosted by websites yvynyl and Ears of the Beholder. While I missed a majority of the festivities, I was able to witness Canada wack-job dance group GOBBLE GOBBLE’s utterly chaotic set. I can’t even begin to describe what I ended up seeing during this debacle. Something along the lines of hockey masks, flashing LED lights, toilet paper (?), confetti, drum circles, and synchronized dance moves. I think I spilled my beer a few times as people climbed over me to leap into the audience. Or was I pouring it everywhere in a fit of joy? I don’t know, I was having too much fun.
I closed the night around 2AM and was already feeling pretty good about my second SXSW experience. If this was only a taste of what was to come with my stay in Austin, I was definitely excited and scared shitless of what was in store for the rest of the week.