The sixth and final installment, in which our intrepid reporter won a prize, enjoyed some fine audio engineering and also photographed a clean and tidy toilet. It was apparently that kind of day.
Last post I wrote about youthful energy and the fact that SXSW will truly kick your ass. Despite the fact that I’m somewhere just south of 30 myself, I was well and truly dragging by that Saturday. Forget making it downtown by noon: I called it a success that I was out of bed and dressed in real clothes, much less getting coffee near the day’s first venue, by 1pm.
Though it helped to know I was on my last day of festivities, it helped even more that I was seeing Kan Wakan again. As much as I’d liked the band before SXSW, I grew to like them expontentially more after seeing them a few times. That’s something I find hard to say about many bands, much less fairly new bands which have been thrown into the pressure cooker of a festival.
Like most performers, Kristianne Bautista is appreciative of as much support as fans can offer and will openly admit to stage jitters, … Continue reading
In which our intrepid reporter finds out SXSW really is as exhausting as everyone says it is, but rallies to attend more shows.
By day three, I had personally confirmed what we’ve all been told: SXSW kicks your ass. I managed to drag myself downtown before noon only by promising myself a cup of coffee at Mellow Johnny’s, where Wye Oak was playing a 12pm set.
The band was already playing as I bought my coffee, but I couldn’t tell if they were playing an old song or a new one. Like mr. Gnome, Wye Oak hasn’t changed their sound very much between albums #3 and #4. Jenn Wasner has switched from electric guitar to electric bass, and Andy Stack has added an electronic drum-pad to his kit, but at SXSW they were quite recognizably the same band. Wasner even managed to make her bass sound light and silvery at times, which was the most unexpected thing to jump out at me from their performance.
Ultimately this is unsurprising, considering the lyric-based character of Wye Oak’s previous records. Now as before, listeners should expect to make the music into a contemplative experience in order to really … Continue reading
Our intrepid reporter goes to see some (more) live music. Also a mechanical bull.
On Thursday, I woke up to more than a dozen text messages asking if I was okay. Until I saw a news story about the night’s fatal accident, I had no idea why so many people would be concerned and wondered if I’d been sleeping for more than one day.
Once I read about what had happened, I debated skipping the day’s festivities out of respect, but eventually came to a conclusion: those who could party should get on with the partying in honor of all those who cannot party. I waited for the downtown bus with a spirit of gratitude.
That spirit started to fade after three city buses, from two different routes, passed our stop with partygoers packed inside to legal capacity. Everyone who could party definitely seemed to be partying, and I found myself wishing they had timed things a little more conveniently for us old people.
The bus ride, when I finally got one, was appropriately interesting.
I made it downtown just in time to miss several shows. While trying not to miss the final Doe Paoro show of … Continue reading
Our intrepid reporter has been somewhat delayed by travel and technology, but has continued undaunted. Below is her report from her first show-filled day.
After spending numerous protracted coffee breaks trying to figure out the SXSW schedule, I finally hiked deep into the heart of No-Man’s Land — past the endless blocks of band parking, through a sea of Econoline vans and long-haired skinny-jeaned men lugging instrument cases — to The Echoplex SXSW Throwdown at Red 7. The bill featured a number of up-and-coming Los Angeles bands, but I only had ears for my new musical supercrush: Kan Wakan.
Determined to stake out a spot in front, I arrived early. But I needn’t have worried: Brandon the Swag Man still had a whole table full of free swag and the venue was far below capacity. Only a few hardcore festival-goers lingered in the courtyard, and I ran into singer Kristianne Bautista practically right away. She, too, was recovering from a fever and general travel fatigue, but was excited to meet a new fan. We chatted about her band’s rising fame while they set up, since a seven-piece act needs a little extra preparation.
Unfortunately, that … Continue reading
Joy’s first dispatch from Austin is about having fun without spending all of your money.
You have probably just read the title of this piece and laughed out loud. You’re right: there are many ways to empty your checking account at South By Southwest. But with a little creativity, the experience doesn’t have to end with tears and debt. Here is my list of tips on how to attend this festival as inexpensively as possible.
1. Book in advance.
Don’t be that person who gets stuck sleeping on someone’s floor for $50 a night while cursing those who booked better accommodations ahead. Be the person who gets cursed at. One can find really reasonable prices on decent places to stay through AirBnB — I saw a renovated Airstream in a good location, basically a hotel room, offered for $35 a night. But you must do your searching and make your arrangements at least a month in advance, if not in January. Otherwise you will be S.O.L.
Better still, know someone who knows someone in town who will put you up for free. If you don’t know anyone in Austin, go there some time that is not SXSW and … Continue reading
While I cannot be in Austin this year, NTSIB friend Joy is, and she has graciously agreed to be a roving reporter. Below is her first dispatch. If you want to follow her adventures live, you may do so on Twitter and Instagram.
This year, I am pleased to be NTSIB’s correspondent-at-large in Austin. It’s my first South By Southwest, and I have thrown myself directly into the deep end. Swim along with me here on the blog, with live updates on Twitter!
Since SXSW can be an impenetrably overwhelming mess of day parties, showcases, special sessions, and free shows, I’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff according to my own personal preferences. In reverse order, here are my most-anticipated acts of 2014.
7. Deap Vally
They’re loud. They’re crass. They’re women. And they crochet. This Los Angeles duo has found success in the UK and is on the verge of making it big in America. NTSIB friend Geordie McElroy describes them as “two-thirds of a girl gang” who should be “basically every teen girl’s role models”, and I am inclined to agree. Enjoy a sample of their balls-to-the-wall sound with “Hobo Playa”, off their single … Continue reading