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.