i'm back and happy to give you a quick recap on SXSW. First of all, god damn, I fell in love with Austin, TX in 3 days time. It may just be the next town I call home. It might have been the awesome weather (sunny and 75-85 every day), might have been the friendly people, the fact that flowers and trees were blooming, but I was glossy-eyed from the moment I stepped outta the van. Every music venue has good sound guys, every venue was within walking distance of my hotel and the other venues and the free/cheap beer flowed like water - you just had to be hungry enough to find it. It was run MUCH better than the CMJ events in NYC that I've attended, the most expensive taxi ride I had (drunk back to my hotel) was $3.75 and the best damn BBQ chicken I've ever had at Stubb's. I could get into almost every show that I wanted to see just with my wristband, I just had to be there an act or two before who I wanted to see (and usually those acts were good too) and if not, 1/2 the venues were outdoors so I could sit around back and listen. The weather was gorgeous, the music fantastic and the food even better...the most packed 3 days of gorging myself on BBQ, tacos, beer, whiskey and music I've ever had, but also the most enjoyable....I think its in my top 3 roadtrips of all time for me. Worth the 20 hours one-way in the van for sure.
Here's who I got to see:
THURS (rolled into Austin about 1PM - missed Chris Lee's noon performance unfortunately)
Hit the New West Records private party (had an invite)
-saw Tim Easton, Flatlanders, Drive By Truckers & Slobberbone. drank free Lonestar beer for 4 hours. ate BBQ pulled pork. walked to Austin Music Hall: saw Jay Farrar & Michael Penn, walked to 3rd venue: saw Simian, The Rapture and BLUR!! And this is just day one people!! Fucking BLUR had a surprise performance, I heard it from a friend who is in 'the know' but I think 75% of the people at the show had no clue. First performance in 4 YEARS and first performance of all the new songs on the upcoming album. I love Graham Coxin (think he was an intricate part of Blur, loved his solo album) but the new songs are decent, a new style for Blur which rubbed me the wrong way that evening, but have a feeling they'll grow on me. I was just just dirty, drunk as all hell, sweaty and packed in to a pretty small venue for Blur, I couldn't even raise my hand to get a puff on my smoke, that packed and i get claustrophobic in those kind of situations. But they did play a few old classics and that made me smile.
-woke up about 2PM, massive hangover, took about 2 hours to get moving.
-went to Athens, GA party to see all Athens, GA bands with The Possibilities - saw Dressy Bessy & Five Eight (they were amazing!). Drank free beer, ate free munchies. Helped Possibilities load up and watched them play. They are an awesome and little-known band from Athens, GREAT songs - they are like a mellower, less in-your-face pop-y Jayhawks maybe? I love them...anyways, then went and saw Dirt Bike Annie, then over to see The Sun & Bobby Bare Jr. and Idlewild.
Grant Lee Phillips to start my day at the convention center day stage, where miller lite had a free beer post set up. nothing says good morning like GLP & MGD. Then went and saw an acoustic performance by Will Johnson & Scott Danbaum of Centromatic (will's solo stuff was my killer find of the weekend, fucking amazing if you are fans of richard buckner & damien jurado you will LOVE will's solo stuff). Then saw Grand Champeen same venue. Had some more BBQ. Went and saw the Lost Highway showcase begin, with Sally Timms & Kelly Hogan and the Mekons as their backing band. Jon Langford came out and did 2 songs with Kelly Hogan. Then I sprinted 2 blocks down the street to the Touch-n-go showcase and saw Shannon Wright and then Calexico (Neko Case came out and did 2 songs with Calexico). then I went to the secretly canadian showcase and saw Damien Jurado & Songs:Ohia and then tried to get into Supergrass, but the line was long, so I bought a 40 and sat on a curb behind the outdoor venue and listened to their whole set perfectly. Perfect end to my weekend of rock.
My observations from the weekend:
1. You can smell yourself reeking after 20 hours in a van.
2. I NEED to find Will Johnson's solo record he put out, I know Centromatic has like 17 albums, but I didn't know will had a solo one! the tunes he played were amazing!
3. Michael Penn is one funny guy - telling the audience they were with him or with the terrorists and asking who in the audience was on major labels and then telling them they were fucked.
4. Damon Albarn is still cocky as all hell. He was also swearing at the USA b/c Alex's VISA was denied and he wasn't allowed in the country to play the show!
5. I can't NOT go to SXSW ever again, well worth the hours in the van, found lots of ways to cut costs once you are down there and ways around the system.
6. The Sun did Columbus proud. Rocked a packed house at Buffalo Billiards and gained many fans, mostly of the swoony female type.
7. BBQ, cold beer and good music, does it get any better???
God damn it SXSW & Austin, TX, I miss you already!!