Oh, the best laid plans… I had such a tight schedule worked out for SXSW. Party RSVPs were sent, light transportation plans were made (and then backups were made of those), and my bag was packed with Clif Bars, extra batteries for my phone, and allergy meds. Well, as I should have expected, my plans were dashed and strewn awry by a simple email… however, awry didn’t turn out to be such a bad place for me this year.
Friday, a friend and I began on schedule and went to our already planned party thrown by Front Gate Tickets. No only were the bands fun to watch – Yellow Ostrich and J Roddy Walston and the Business stand out in my memory – but the free alcohol and food didn’t hurt the fun one bit. I was all about being healthy, though, so I made sure they mixed my vodka with cranberry or orange juice. Vitamins!
Afterwards, through a tweet and a few emails to a friend at Slacker Radio, I was offered an invite to their events Friday and Saturday afternoons. What I thought would be a party on par with what was going on all over the rest of town (a good amount of people, free booze while it lasted, distractions galore) was definitely not. What it ended up being was a private showroom where Slacker was recording audio and video to play on their station. There were 15 of us at most in the room watching the bands play, and it was amazing.
Watching a band play their songs to an audience that consists of you and a few others is a whole different experience than a regular show with the distractions of anything else around you. So, while lounging on the floor or sofa with a Shiner Wild Hare or some Tito’s (more delicious free alcohol!), I was introduced to several new acts whose music I really enjoyed, like The Stone Foxes (incidentally, who are a bunch of sweethearts), Little Hurricane (one boy + one girl = omg please keep playing!), Grace Woodroofe (what a voice this 21 year old from Australia has), Big Deal (another great 2 voice/2 instrument band), and Family of the Year (out of LA and making some great music). It was basically everything I would dare wish for at a music show – good music, free beer, no drunk person stepping on my toes, no smelly dude standing next to me with his arms up in the air saying WOOOOO. Also, I got to lounge on a couch. That’s not on my “best show ever” wishlist, but it was a total perk.
After day 2 at the Gibson Showroom where Slacker had their setup, I was able to get over to the rooftop of Whole Foods and see one of my current favorites: Quiet Company. These are the dudes who awarded me the prize of Grand Beard Champion (unofficial winner’s title) and sent me to Orlando Calling Festival, so I am forever indebted to them for that. Also, they make some pretty great music with their instruments, so that definitely doesn’t hurt in my wanting to go to their shows. After they played, a quick jaunt down to Amy’s Ice Cream for some Peach Jalapeno ice cream (I said I’d get ice cream, didn’t I?), and back up to the roof to see Rachael Yamagata. I missed her show the last time she was in Austin, and I was glad to get to see her play this time. She is just delightful to watch and hear.
After all that, I ate a chili burger at Hut’s, which was also delicious and worth mentioning. Just as the music spoke to my creative soul, that burger spoke to my big ol fatty-fatgirl burger-lovin’ belly. I did not take a photo to post, because I shoved it in my mouth pretty quickly. Nom.
The only bummer of the weekend was that Donovan was supposed to play an early set at Slacker’s SXSW digs, but it got pushed back to my Quiet Company/Rachael Yamagata time slot. Whether or not I made the “right” decision on which shows to see (a question I still haven’t figured out), it doesn’t really matter, as I had an amazing time the whole time. Good job, SXSW — let’s go again next year!