SXSW is over. I’m on my way back to LA, back to conference calls, guitar lessons, and laundry. I’m tired. Below is a list of the rest of the shows I went to.
On Friday afternoon I headed to Fader Fort to meet up with Havis and Lance. If you’re not from Austin, nor a frequenter of SX, then you may not know that it’s really common to get free beer at the day shows. Fader continued the tradition but with Anheiser-Busch as a co-sponsor, instead of getting Shiner we got a choice between Budweiser or Budweiser’s new test-market product: American Ale, which did NOT pass this User Acceptance test case. I guess I shouldn’t look a beerhorse in the mouth.
I got there for Solid Gold, whom I liked about ten to twelve carats worth. They do have a sassy little number called “Get Over It” that I’ll download when I get back. (Btw, Havis made the observation – and I tend to agree – that it takes more energy to write bitter break-up songs than it does to just, umm, move on.) Next we watched a band from Brooklyn that I really liked – some kids called The Pains of Having a Pure Heart. By the time they finished their set, Dre showed up. We christened the first song from We Have Band with shots of Southern Comfort, which sounded like a good idea until I found myself walking three miles in 85 degree heat because driving was no longer an option. Anyway…
At night I went Cedar Street to see Pete and the Pirates (so good) and Beach House (tied for my favorite of the festival). Then I headed over to Buffalo Billiards where I caught the end of As Tall As Lions. The lead singer invited everyone up on stage for the last song to “sing along if you feel like it.” I mean, it’s his show and all, so I guess he has that right, but here’s what I want to say to the people who took him up on it: no one, besides you and maybe your mother, wants to hear you sing OVER the musicians. Fittingly, the next band was called Funeral Party. Dre and Christine met me and we hung out for a while until the songs all started to sound the same. We ended the night at Beauty Bar Backstage to watch Shout Out Out Out Outs. I’ve seen this Canadian gem on YouTube before and was like “eh.” But they killed it. Ohmygosh, their set was so much fun – a ton of energy; the whole crowd was dancing. They may not be one of those bands that translate on an iPod, so fair warning.
Btw, there’s a new late-night pizza place in town called Hoboken which I now like better than Stoney’s. I’ll say nothing of the name. (Ahem, Brian.)
On Saturday I spent much of the morning getting ready to co-host April’s shower, which transitioned into attending the shower and introducing a game to everyone that went over like pork at Hannukah. The game required everyone to list a fact about themselves that no one else knew and then you had to match the secret with the person. I found it online and it *sounded* like a great idea at the time but then it totally crashed-and-burned because a) not everyone knew each other and b) people made up dumb facts. I guess it was a better choice than my second idea of bobbing for knives. Anyway, I haven’t seen April since she was around 3 ½ months pregnant and she looked awesome. All belly.
After the shower I headed back to the convention center to catch Echo and The Bunnymen. Seriously cool. From there we went to watch some basketball (boo Texas, boo) and then off to the Parish for Merge/Barsuk night. Telekinesis kicked it off. They’re a band from Seattle where the drummer is also the lead singer. Holy shit. I can barely get two limbs going at the same time, let alone four, and vocals on top of that. We headed to Club deVille thinking that we’d need to get there early for Violens who came on at ten. Instead, The Warlocks were playing and after they were finished, the crowd cleared. I was really looking forward to Violens. They didn’t disappoint, but it was a different show than I had imagined from listening to their music online. I ended the night back at the Parish to catch The Rosebuds and Ra Ra Riot. I saw the Rosebuds a few years earlier at the same venue, but at the previous show their bass player dogged out and the sound was really lopsided. This time, they had a bass player and had since replaced Quirky Girl with Hot Girl, but I still would rather listen to them on an album if at all. By the time Ra Ra Riots came on, I was over the whole thing. I ended the night wishing I would have gone to watch Kanye instead (because Kanye is sooo indie).
So that’s it – all the shows I saw this week. I missed two bands that I wanted to see, so I’ll have to catch them when they come to LA. (The Wrens and Modern Skirts.) The upside is that I got to spend today at brunch with my friends and visit another friend’s new home, then dinner with other friends.
Bonus SWSX Observations Track:
1. This year, instead of a regular wristband, I was given a green artist's wristband. I've decided that this is the coolest distinction you can have. It way trumps badges. Dre asked me how I got one. "You're not an artist," she said. "Oh, but I am," I answered.
2. It’s WAY over-sponsored. I read in The Statemsen this morning that SXSW is the second most-promoted event in the US behind NASCAR. Really?
3. Third Eye Blind should not be anywhere near SX.
4. Free beer, including sucky beer, is still a good idea.
5. I no longer care about getting to a great after-party. I consider this a sign of growth.
6. Any time at SXSW, even if abbreviated, is rad. (Unless it’s Sunday. Then it’s not rad, it’s just over.)