A week ago today (SXSW Day 1)
A week ago today we started on our journey to Austin, TX for SXSW, where 9o % of the coolest kids in the world would gather with their iPhones and iPads to hear the “hippest indie bands in the world.”
We, being the thrifty moguls we are, decided to fly into San Antonio and just rent a car to get us to Austin. While in San Antone we walked up and down The Riverwalk and also went through The Alamo, albeit quickly. It was all lovely, peaceful, and certain to be the quietest time of our trip.
We had a little trouble getting into “the zone” of going from show to show and being efficient with our steps. First off, I tracked down Steve Theo from Pirate! and finally got to meet the man who took my band Commerce as high as #41 on the CMJ Top 200 this year.
My wife and I then had a fancy dinner at Eddie V’s Edgewater that was topped off with our absolute favorite, flaming bananas!! Later we sorta stumbled upon J Mascis as we were walking down a street, only to hear J’s distinct voice doing only what J’s can do. We heard him play a few songs from outside the venue, the highlight of which was the classic “Thumb”.
The next little while was spent waiting in line to see The Lonely Forest, a band we’ve loved ever since we saw them at a really bizarre show in Asheville last year with Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. They were incredible playing new songs from their debut album, Arrows, that was just released this past Tues. on Chris Walla’s Trans label. No one really tops their youthful energy on stage. They’re just so tight and so much fun to watch that it’s hard not to enjoy yourself and appreciate the sounds they’re making.
We then rushed across the street, hoping to catch some of the Royal Canoe (on the first Littlest Sounds comp!) show that had already begun. From the moment we entered, there was this incredible vibe, partly due to the size of the club and the fact that there were probably only 50-60 people, but mostly due to the music being made by this 6 piece Canadian band. They drove all the way to Austin just for this one show and they totally made it count. Lots of keyboards, gang vocals, and a drum machine….all the keys to amazing music. Super nice guys, super good music.
Our last show of the night was Bear Hands, a total surprise for me that I still catch myself thinking about. I had just been introduced to them by my friend, Lynda, so we thought we’d check them out. W-h-o-a-h. They played in this amazing old hotel called The Driskill. The whole set was electric. It just had this really cool vibe that I can’t quite explain. All I can say is go listen to “Crime Pays”, “What a Drag”, and “Can’t Stick Em” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. These 3 songs were at least twice as good live. I’m really stoked that they’ll be gracing the LS April Comp., so be on the lookout!
All in all, a pretty eventful day one at South-by, especially after getting up at 4:30 in the morning and flying. We slept pretty good that night, but little did we know the next day would get even crazier and more eventful than the one before…….