SXSW 2019 Jammies Awards!

We saw over 50 bands play in 16 venues. (Andee saw 70 in 19 but it isn’t a contest, is it? Or is it?!?)

Our favorite:

2019 Jammies Award Winner: The Artisanals

Winning with great sound, amazing performance, and also for being nice guys who talked to us before (and after) the show. These guys have professional rockism! They put it all out there on the stage for us before 3pm on a Wednesday at a bar on the corner of 5th and Congress. During their final song, shirts were taken off, glam rock knee bends were happening and we were smiling ear to ear. Our only complaint is that there are no women in the band… but that is a sad fact for most bands, although we do see it changing a little. Way to go guys! You rocked us hard!

Others in consideration:

  • Sweet Crude was a top contender! They rocked the little stage at Lucy’s Fried Chicken! And they had a woman in the band too! I wanted to give it to them, but I couldn’t get The Artisanals performance out of my head!
  • Darkbird (not eligible because Jenn didn’t see them) but a great female-led band that is reminiscent of Sweet Spirit and Heart
  • Stealing Oceans – a very close second. This was a very special find while we mistakenly tried to see a show a day early at the bar across the street. You really can stumble upon some of the very best shows at sxsw. There was angst! There was dancing! There was audience participation! They really had it all! watch the video here!
  • Illiterate Light – When did everyone decide light-theme band names were the thing this year? These guys, complete with the drummer’s bare midriff, were fantastic. They didn’t have the crowd; it was too early in the day and there weren’t enough audience members, but that didn’t mean we didn’t enjoy them with our spiked Topo-Chico’s
  • KOLARS – They won last year, but in our hearts they keep winning!!! They performed an excellent set in the Fairmont Rules & Regs bar for pretty much just us. We loved it a lot! They also performed a rocking show at Rachel Ray’s daytime party. It was phenomenal!!!
  • The Beths – sad and crying, but still rocking. This very popular band from New Zealand held it together after learning about the mass shooting back home.
  • Duncan Fellows – The crowd wasn’t there yet but we were digging this sound and hope to see more of this local Austin band.
  • Star Parks – this is another local Austin band that we would like to see more of. Jenn missed them play so we hope they make it to the Bay area soon or that she makes it back to Austin to see them.
  • Other honorable mentions would definitely include:
    • Hayes Carll — He’s amazing!!!
    • Matthew Vasquez Logan — He might have been a contender if he hadn’t taken the state directly after Sweet Crude rocked us hard!!

SXSW2019, Wednesday March 13th

Update: Congratulations to The ARTISANALS for their 2019 Jammy Award!

After seeing more than 50 bands/shows this week, it’s been decided. The Artisanals are the band you should listen to right now. Good ol’ fashioned mid-American rock sung by a guy who looks like Jesus. These guys look like they are having fun while also sounding great. They “brought” the performance with a shirt-off-on-your-knees ending, winning them this years Jammy Award! Congratulations fellows.

The Artisanals at the Shiner Saloon started us off and boy, did they!!! This was Rob’s #1 priority for the day and I’m glad we tagged along! They sounded so good and they played like the place was packed and they weren’t the opening band in a day-show line-up. With a knee dropping jam at the end, I was not sure it if it was 3am or 3pm when they were done with us. They were a really good-time and head-banging Jesus (aka Johnny Delaware) hugged me after the performance and thanked us for coming. Now if we could only get Alexa to recognize the request of playing The Artisanals.

Following The Artisanals, we got a nice surprise and got to see The Brother Brothers. This showcase was curated by a Bay Area nonprofit, Conscious Immaturity whose mission is to bring music to schools. I will say this line-up should have probably been reversed, as The Brother Brothers are quiet and mellow and beautiful (and yes, Andee, they are brothers) and The Artisanals were loud and rocking and totally brought it!

Dogs are fucking cool! Yes, dogs are fucking cool!!! Things you learn from the bartender….

Then we tried to decide about food… one of us mentioned hanger, so we ate at the food trucks and then we walked to Hotel San Jose for SXSJ2019.

On the way, we stopped at Yeti and saw Jackie Venson. I liked the Yeti store, but I didn’t like the people at the Yeti store. The crowd was there to be seen and that’s not my jam, so we moseyed onward to SXSJ.

Robert Ellis entertained us in his white suit sitting behind his piano. At some point, he sang a song about Topo Chico’s and lime and then sprayed the crowd with a Topo.  This was much preferable to the time I saw him open for Deer Tick when he sprayed the crowd with a beer. At the time, the bro crowd loved it; I did not, but I guess that’s the price you pay for liking Deer Tick. They attract the bro’s. (See Trampled By Turtles)

The Black Pumas (with Adrian Quesada)

These guys and gals jammed. We were tired but they still had us on our feet dancing.

SXSW2019, Saturday March 16th

Well, we got into the Rachel Ray party at Stubb’s. Big thanks to Lauren from KOLARS! We can’t wait to see you play.

While waiting in line for the food, we listened to Bob Schneider open one of the stages. It’s okay cause I didn’t pay for it; let’s not forget that he’s a misogynist and we don’t support that.

Now we are listening to J.S. Ondara though it’s a talky crowd and he’s not that loud so it’s a little distracting. The indoor room at Stubb’s is small and intimate, almost church-like in the light of day. Dark on the inside with sunlight streaming in the upper windows. The music was very folky and slow and J.S. Ondara wore a great outfit, complete with white patent leather shoes. This guy could have just stepped off a train in 1940 something. His story is that he moved to MN from Kenya, so that he could be like his idol, Bob Dylan.

KOLARS! And they were so rock-n-roll that they got cutoff. It was awesome! I want Lauren, the drummer to have a taller stage so that everyone can see the rhythmic passion poured out on the drum stage she is dancing on. Then I get concerned that if she did have a tall stage, Rob Kolar would knock her over with his Elvis shake, rattle n’ roll. I have nothing to worry about. These are fucking professionals. They load and unload with precision, are never too tired to bring it and would never fall down, but if they did, it would look like it was just part of the show.

Watching KOLARS is just so fun. For starters, they sound great. I’m excited to hear some new stuff from them. We had a preview of a new song at the Fairmont Hotel and although it was a little softer, it was really lovely. Second, they are great to look at. Sure, they are pretty people but they also wear shiny shiny outfits that ensure you know they are fucking rock stars!

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real. He wears a bad-ass hat to let you know that he is a fucking rock star. Check out that hat. Also, check out that tiny house on the hill. It’s been there for the last 60+ years and the condos were all built around it in the last 10 years. Ahh, Austin, you’re still cool but there’s a reason folks like the Nelson’s want to live out in the country.

Lukas was having sound issues from a bad wire, which finally got worked out mid-set and made the end oh-so-good… I always love to hear ‘Find Yourself’. I was sad to miss Billy Raffoul but Lukas was really fun to see and sometimes you gotta love the one you’re with.

Big Joanie

We arrived at SX San Jose just in time to get a coffee (dosed lightly with some whiskey to warm us on this chilly Austin day) and wait 30ish min in line to get in to SXSJ. Before we get into our arrival and the SXSJ line-up though, we need to have a quick digression to talk about our Lyft driver, Lauren, and our Lyft ride to SXSJ.  Lauren was the most fun Lyft driver we had; she had the right attitude about working SX and we had a fun, giggly ride with her. She wins the Jammie for best driver! We also saw this giant armadillo (bicycle) that was coming right for us (and looking at us!). Awesome sauce! Check out our Instagram at didwejam for that video.

Big Joanie, a 3-piece black female group, was taking the stage just as we got in (1 in 1 out). They were enjoyable and we found Rob immediately and not long after hooked up with Johnnie from Utopia Fest.

After Big Joanie, Hayes Carll took the stage. Boy do we love Hayes Carll!

This is the 3rd time I’ve seen Hayes this month so we are essentially friends, right? Each time I like him for different reasons. This time it was because he seems like he is so at ease. He’s not amused, more bemused.

Next up: Combo Chimbita. They were lively and she played a very interesting instrument.

Ben Kweller, an Austin native favorite! The crowd was just loving on him!

To close out the night and the 20th anniversary of SXSJ, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. They attracted a crowd we weren’t really jamming with. There was the overly aggressive big white guy with the tiny girlfriend who wanted to be right up front (which wasn’t the issue so much as that they also wanted to take up way more than the amount of space that was left when everyone jammed in there) and then the guy who recorded a full 20 min (at least) of the show with his thick arm in the air. We headed to the back, but my bet is that he recorded the ENTIRE show.

She was pretty, sounded good, was polished… but it wasn’t doing it for us. Even our camera wouldn’t keep focus anymore. It was a little too clean if that makes sense. Maybe it was just us that had been tattered from the long week so we headed home.

Tomorrow is the Jammies!

 

SXSW2019, Friday March 15th

Sitting around the kitchen table, talking about our day… just had our Tyson’s (and our leftover pizza).  We have a game plan… let’s see how close we get to the plan!

First up… Zilker Brewery

Turns out it wasn’t quite at Zilker Brewery. Pro tip: compare the address on the invite to the address of the actual brewery and then re-adjust.

Now that we are here, it’s perfect. The sound is amazing. Erika and band are playing just for us, or so it feels and there’s plenty of alcohol. If only the Topo-Chico’s had followed us this morning to help temper the day. The Nine Banded Whiskey followed us and that could be a problem!

I want to feel extraordinary love. A love that only comes from inside, that’s what Erika is singing to us right now. And now we have a queer rapper who’s also reminding us to love ourselves. And now we have a queer rapper, Chris Conde, who’s also reminding us to love ourselves; he was sitting with us during Erika’s show. I have a video clip of his that I posted on I/G (didwejam), but I can’t get it not to turn sideways here. I’m not that tech-y.

Bryan got to be a fan-boy with Erika.

Following that is where things get dicey — surprise!  There are three bands that we want to see at 3 pm.

  1. Andrew Bird
  2. KOLARS
  3. Hayes Carll

KOLARS is fun and we did try to go to see this show yesterday, but I don’t think we are going to make it again today. Sad face!

UPDATE: Oh, except we did! NOT!! We were too late for the performance but we did get to hug Lauren again! Also, we got to pick up the guest passes that she gave us to get into the Rachel Ray part on Saturday. Lauren is officially THE BEST!!

While we were at Little Woodruff’s, we did get to see Mystery Lights. ‘Lights’ would be the word you want to include in your band name this year or at least something that resembles light.

Hayes Carll — So want to see Hayes Carll.  Love him so much, but he’s the only one at Waterloo that I really want to see. Also…

The line-up at the Barracuda looks amazing and that’s where we’d be seeing Andrew Bird. So we’ll see where we end up for that.

The answer: The Barracuda. Cherry Glazer. The Beths. The Nude Party. Justin Townes Earle. Andrew Bird. Heart Bones. Sad to leave before Low Cut Connie, but we had a goal in mind and it included food, of the fried chicken variety. Mmmmm!

There were also two inside bands that we didn’t see, but we did walk through to get to the restrooms. One sounded fine to me (Sam Fender); the second sounded very angry (Fontaines D.C.). I don’t feel I can honestly say anything about them though; it was a short trip in and out.

UPDATE: The Current’s Day Show line-up at the Barracuda

Cherry Glazer –I wanted to like her/this band, but I couldn’t really hear her vocals and they just didn’t grab me. I went inside to try to win a trip to Bonneroo, grab some swag, give away some cards and get in position for The Beths

The Beths — This band hails from New Zealand and it was an emotional show — the morning following the New Zealand massacre. They started out with ‘Future Me Hates e’ which is the song of theirs that grabbed me months ago. There was a setlist change when lead singer, Elizabeth Stokes, got emotional trying to launch into whichever songs had been listed next. She apologized for the emotion after getting a hug from her band-mate, but there was no need; we are all human and it’s good to be reminded of our humanity in times filled with so much hate and divisiveness. I give this band a lot of credit for performing solidly albeit emotionally.

The Nude Party — This was another surprisingly fun band. Thee were some maracas; how can that not be fun? Seriously though, I thoroughly enjoyed them and they remained clothed despite their name.

Justin Townes Earle — What can I say about JTE? He wow-ed me the first time I saw him live at GAMH. I can’t even remember how long ago it was, but it was definitely before 2011 and my return to SF. I have been known to say that he isn’t as good since he got sober and while that may be true sometimes, sometimes he’s every bit as good. This for me, was one of those times. Also, he threatened someone in the audience, saying that his mother could kick the audience member’s ass. I loved his description of his mom; something about white trash. I also might have hugged him after his performance when I got to (drunkenly) tell him about my deep and abiding love for him. I wanted to offer to feed him, but I think he has someone filling that role at this stage in his life and I don’t want to interfere.

Andrew Bird — He played his flute. He whistled. He sang. He was Andrew Bird and that is why we love him!

On our way out (to head to Lucy’s for both food and music), we caught a bit of Heart Bones. I think this is a performance that you need to be able to see and I really couldn’t see.

So this is where we separate (divide and conquer) and Andee and I head to Little Woodruff’s to pick up our guest passes and the guys head to Lucy’s via Cedar Street where they stop for appetizers.

We plan to end up at Lucy’s Fried Chicken for Sweet Crude and Matthew Logan Vasquez. Achieved ✔️

We’ll update this and you can rate us on how close we stay to schedule. It’ll probably be a shitshow!

UPDATE: Andee and I hop on the bus to get to Lucy’s and arrive way before the boys. So much so that we’ve already ordered and are eating before they even arrive And the chicken there was just as good as I remembered it being last year (kinda like Tyson’s Tacos — they never disappoint!)

There’s a band on stage when we arrive, Beebe Sings Sahm. The most notable thing about them is that someone in their band stole Erika Wennerstrom’s blue suit. She definitely wore it better!

So, Sweet Crude took the stage and they rocked it. They were definitely my favorite of the day and a strong contender for the 2019 SXSW Jammies. This NOLA band is definitely a band that you’ll want to see live. They rocked my little world! I hope to see the again in the near future! My video is also sideways, so you’ll have to go to I/G to see that one too!

Matthew Logan Vasquez followed Sweet Crude and I think this was unfortunate for him and his contention as a Jammie winner because though I thought he was great (and definitely plan to see him the next time he plays SF), he could not surpass the impression that Sweet Crude had made on me!

Andee’s friend Peggy joined us and we ordered some more food and we enjoyed MLV and then we headed home! It was a long bus ride home, but it was a good day!

 

 

 

 

SXSW2019, Thursday March 14th

For today, we worked on having a plan. The plan was to leave at 9:30 for the Bloody Mary Brunch. Only 30 or so minutes behind schedule but now we are here.

We caught the end of Priscilla Renea.

Stay tuned for how the day unfolds…

Pro tip: if you lose your tickets for your Bloody Mary’s, look in the place where you go to stash drink tickets. You might just find them there!

After running into Holly and waiting in a fairly long line to get our drinks, we settled in for a little Sontalk from Nashville.

It’s a little sunny here. My excuse for pic quality.

Next up was The Strumbellas from Canada. Apparently, they are very popular right now though I hadn’t heard them before. They are anthem-y and catchy. In a different venue, I think they could have been a contender for the Jammies, but this wasn’t that venue/crowd. That said, I still have ‘spirits in my head and they won’t go’….

Following The Strumbellas (who were apparently heading directly to Europe for a tour after this performance), we got to see Erika Wennerstrom (formerly of Heartless Bastards). I love her voice and she gave what I like to think is her usual excellent performance; I’ve never seen her be less than excellent.

Reignwolf played after Erika (and before Patty Griffin — who we were really there to see along with Erika) and I have to say that whoever developed that line-up may not have done Reignwolf any favors. Wikipedia describes them as a Canadian indie/blues rock band, but I felt they were a bit harder than that and a little edgy right before Patty.

While waiting for Patty to take the stage, Andee and I ran into a man with a Topo-Chico v-neck tee that I felt I needed. I didn’t get to keep it (which is okay because it really was too big for me and I would have had to give up the sloth and the humpback to get it). Though Clark work my Front Country tee well, he work his Topo-Chico tee better than I did. Clark’s parting comment to me was ‘I can’t imagine what you’ll be like later if you are this much fun at 2 (or whatever time it was…. cause it’s all SXSW-time)

Patty was lovely! When isn’t Patty lovely? She ended with ‘River’ and it was beautiful. It was also lovely to reunite with Andee’s Austin music community. Holly shared a pic of us from last year at Whole Foods and it made me so happy that I’m posting it here.

I missed Whole Foods this year; not sure why there wasn’t music on the rooftop, but I blame Amazon (which it totally just made up but could be real). I think the loss of the WFM party contributed to not getting to Waterloo at all on this visit.

Patty closed out the bloody mary brunch and then we decided to try to catch KOLARS at Little Woodrow’s, but it turned out we were 24 hours early.  Rookie move, but whatevs. In the process of re-grouping, we ended up in a bar that does Buffalo Bills parties and saw Stealing Oceans.

They were an unexpected good time! Check our YouTube channel for an amazing longer video, but here’s a snip of why you need to go there! And go see them if you have the chance. They’re fun!

After thoroughly enjoying Stealing Oceans (who I must say deserve some sort of Jammies award, but I’m not sure which category we will create — best of the day? best surprise? best not-our-jam jammie?), I saw a little bit of Mobile Steam Unit on my trip to the bathroom after we had some delicious pizza and salad. The lead singer guy in was the same active audience participant guy during Stealing Oceans; he was awesome!

Side note: The pizza slices were bigger than your head and I’m pretty sure I got my veggie points this day — not vegetarian, but 3 servings of vegetables.

Then we walked to Flatstock where we did a little poster shopping (with no purchases) and caught a little of Juan Ingaramo’s performance.

Then we met up with Tyler and got to see his new office with the schmancy view and then he drove us up to Radio Coffee to see the David Wax Museum.

We were early enough to also catch Dana Louise (who also made some cool pom-pom earrings that she was selling at merch, modeled here) while we sat and enjoyed our beers. We were in good company, the audience included The Brother Brothers who were also enjoying the music and hanging with the other musicians. It was fun to watch! People-watching, in general, is good during SXSW. I also got to meet Andee’s friend, Shaun and hang a little bit.

David Wax Museum was a good time, starting with ‘Harder Before It Gets Easier’ and ending with ‘Guesthouse’. The start was a little sneaky; I thought they were still sound-checking so I kind of missed one of my favorite songs, but Andee and I got to dance, sing and jam to Guesthouse (I am not as quiet as a mouse just in case you want to offer your guesthouse.)  There was no jawbone though so it wasn’t complete, but it was good! This may be why they were not a Jammy winner. While Andee and I were dancing, Rob and Tyler got to overhear some quality pick-up lines back at the table. I wouldn’t have thought they would work, but apparently dude got her number and so it goes…

As we were leaving to get food, Tony Kamel of Wood & Wire took the stage.

 

 

 

 

SXSW2019 Tuesday, March 12th

The day started good, not too early, SX morning with some Tyson’s for some of the crew. They totally hit the spot though I’m still mourning the loss of the golden balls of sunshine or whatever those deep-fried egg yolks were called.

Andee missed out on the breakfast tacos because she went to the office for a few hours. Planning started in earnest on her drive home and though Shiny Ribs at The Cactus Cafe has been a strong contender, we opted for The Scoot Inn and arrived just in time to catch the Otis the Destroyer.

Outside we saw:

Otis the Destroyer

Illiterate Light (They were very My Morning Jacket-ish. It was hard because it was early, so they’re worth another listen.)

Pottery

Pink Sweat$

Duncan Fellows

Black Pistol Fire

Question for the audience: Is the drummer wearing pants? Are you?

Inside we saw:

Adam Melchor

Sego

Barrie

Ambar Lucid

This show also had some free SWAG, including unlimited Topo Chico. The day before we realized Jenn had never had a Topo. Welp, here’s a great time to try it and we stayed well hydrated and a little buzzed thanks to the samplings of Nine Banded Whiskey and Goodnight Loving Vodka.The sky was mostly cloudy with light drizzle, making the weather really perfect and we just really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere at Scoot Inn!

Next we headed over to the fancy new Fairmont Hotel’s 7th floor bar where we had a beautiful view of downtown, delicious coffee, fried chickpeas and overpriced chips & salsa followed by some great music. It was really nice to just sit in a comfortable chair for a bit!

Georgi Kay from Australia played an electronic keyboard set up and sang.

KOLARS were up next, which is who we were there to see. Watching them set up made me appreciate them even more. I mean, they are only two people, but Lauren, the percussionist, has a full drum/stage to tap-dance on and drums on stilts to bang on while she dances! Not only does it need to be mobile, set up easily, and sound good, it also has to be safe. They were set up and through sound check with professional precision in spite of the weird space, again, a rooftop bar with a pool in a swanky hotel. Next time we are bringing our bathing suits and towels. We totally blend.

The set began a bit tentatively as the band tested the atmosphere. This is good rock and roll however and after a few new songs, which we are excited to hear more of, we were rocking to this fantastic band in an unlikely space. Patrons there for networking after SXSW Interactive sessions, a family with two small kids, and a handful of us, excited fans were given a full, all out show. It could have been easy for KOLARS to take it easy and just play but they did not, they put on their shiny, shiny pants (and jacket) and sparkle fish-scale dress and rocked out. At times it felt like it was just for us and really, with the small crowd, it might have been… and we are so grateful! This will be a show that gets talked about for years to come!

Also, we both got to hug Lauren and really that may have been the highlight for one of us!

SXSW, Monday March 11th

I arrived. What more can I say? My flight landed 9 minutes early. I had my bags in hand and was walking out the door of the airport in 20 minutes at most. I caught my Lyft to the Mohawk (shared, but not shared). As we were driving on 10th toward River, I saw Andee step out and I told Oswaldo to drop me there. I could hear Sweet Spirit playing as I got my bags into Andee’s car and fished out my show necessities (ear protection, DidWeJam business cards and my raincoat), then we jumped back into line to try to get into the show that Rob was already in.

We could hear the show from where we were waiting in line and it was the best of both worlds; we got to catch up and chat without being rude (by talking through/during the performance) and we also got to dance and sing and feel “The Power” as if we were in the show. It felt so much so that I think we’re gonna count it in the official count for 2019. After Sweet Spirit ended and based on feedback from the staff, we decided that we were never getting in and so we left, though I would have loved to see The Beths. We picked up some poke on the way home and after poke and Almanac’s Plum Fairy, we hopped in the hot tub and tried (unsuccessfully) to make an actual plan for tomorrow (beyond work, which sadly is in the plans for at least two of us in the am).

 

 

SXSW2019 Sunday Funday 3/10

 

So we started out headed over to pick up a friend who needed a pick-me-up after the loss of her grandma. She wasn’t quiet ready for us so we dropped by El Chile, El Chilito’s fancier sister restaurant on Manor Rd. We each had a puffy taco and I had a delicious Watermelon Spicy Margarita. It was Sunday Funday after all!

We picked up Shaun and headed over to Hotel Vegas on E 6th St where they have combined with Volstead to offer a fun backyard atmosphere with a large stage outside and two indoor stages. Bands would rotate from side to side of the stage outside and there was always some music playing. The place operated like clockwork and shows were meticulously on time. Bravo to whoever is in charge of all that. The place operated extremely smoothly and clearly, this is not their first rodeo!

First we saw a few songs by Lowin, a lovely female artist with fun pants. We settled in and got our bearings. This place is a bit of a maze, full of hipsters, bars, and stages.

We caught the last half of Shivery Shakes (Austin), a band I have heard of but don’t recall ever seeing live. I really liked the last 30 seconds of what I saw and will try to catch another one of their local shows.

Being Dead –  a screamy bother/sister duo? It reminded me of a sibling argument, immature and angry.

Teddy Glass – A little goovy, a little jammy, and great for a Sunday Funday. I’m all for being in the groove of things and into your music but the “o” faces that the band made to each other was a little much. It seems like something I would rather listen to at home than go see live.

The Lovely Sparrows – Well, just lovely. The lead singer told us his shirt is handmade by PolitePilot (his girlfirend). Check her out on Instagram. I especially enjoyed the flute and saxophone from the female member of this band.

Darkbird – Winners of the Jammies today. I imagine that this is what it was like to see the band HEART in the 70’s… fucking awesome! This is absolutely a live show you do not want to miss. See this band.

Abram Shook – I didn’t see a lot of this show but what I did catch was nice. The Lovely Sparrows saxophonist was in this band too!

She Sir – Not to be confused by Sir Woman, which actually has women in it, this is a band of surf rocking dudes.

Quiet Company – More dudes rocking out. I have been hearing great things about this band but found it a little underwhelming. It wasn’t bad at all, just a little generic.

The Black & White Years – For me this was a little Count Dracula and Weird Al meet Emo rock but my husband loved it. It was his favorite show of the night! It was certainly entertaining and the band really put their heart and soul into it. Well done.

Moving Panoramas – These gals continue to show the boys how it is done, crowd surfing and all!

 

 

SXSW Day 1 – Friday 3/8

It’s not officially music SXSW time but there are still plenty of great free shows to try to see already!

I headed downtown to see what kind of trouble I could get into while Rob headed south to Radio Coffee where the folks from Utopia Fest were having a party.

I got into a long line at Antone’s hoping to see Duncan Fellows, Mt. Joy, and Bishop Briggs. Meanwhile, Rob headed downtown to meet me and joined me in line. We decided that it probably wasn’t going to happen for us before Mt. Joy went on, so we bailed out of line and headed toward the Barracuda for another great lineup. This is the #1 lesson for SXSW. If you have a plan, have 2-3 backup plans because sometimes (oftentimes) the line is too long, the traffic is too much, the last band was too good to leave, whatever the problem, you might have to adjust your plans. It’s okay. This is how you end up seeing the best stuff anyway. Go with the flow.

I got to the Barracuda a little before 10pm, just before the line started to build up and made it in time to see a few songs from All Eyes. I don’t know much about this band. They were okay. Honestly, compared to the rest of the night, it was a little unmemorable. They weren’t bad at all, just hard to remember against such a fantastic lineup.

The Moving Panoramas (from Austin) played outside. Being International Women’s Day it was great to finally see a female fronted band. I’ve really enjoyed the songs of theirs I have heard on the radio but the sound was a little off to really do their harmonies and lyrics justice. I am excited to see that this band is “hitting” this year and what they will come away from the sxsw marathon with. I think the festival has a special way of preparing performers to deal with bad sound, shitty schedules, stress, fatigue, you name it. Pay special attention to the bands that rock their 9th sxsw show on the last day, Saturday morning. Those are the professionals with the drive to “make it”.

Star Parks was indoors. I really like this band. They’re Austinites and sound a lot like Dr. Dog and sometimes I hear a little Paul Simon in there. It’s really great and I need more of their music in my life!

Alex Mass from the Black Angels was next. Was that thing a sort of electronic sitar? His music was rock but what was that an electronic/Indian vibe? Yeah, that was fun.

Next up, Smiile. I liked this band. Female harmonies with a lead male vocalist gave this band a similar sound to the Dirty Projectors. Shout out to my new friend Paul from Glasgow. The Baracuda has a sort of pedestal that people can stand on to watch a show. It is black and tucked in the back. However, it was really dark and I didn’t realize how close to the edge I was. As I went off the side, I grabbed Paul, who helped me not face plant into the ground. Thanks for saving my ass Paul. Also, thanks for laughing it off like it was totally normal.

Finally the Golden Dawn Arkestra… the sun worshipers from Austin. The crowd was exactly what you might expect for a 10+ person band of musicians, dancers, and performers. A couple, clearly on something like X was making out in front of us the entire time which actually was less awkward and kinda just fit the vibe. Again, it was a weird and wonderful way to end the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

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