I didn’t take as many photos this year as I have in previous years, and I definitely saw less music than before (I went to a lot more films this year). However, this year me and my friend went to San Antonio, so that was an exciting diversion.
Next was the Tower of the Americas, and then the Alamo and the River Walk which I forgot to take pictures of.
I went to Austin with a friend for SXSW. We flew from Detroit to Austin on March 10, switching planes in Charlotte, NC.
As soon as we got to downtown Austin, we went to the convention center to see a film.
We saw a documentary about zombie movies called Doc Of The Dead, and there were plenty of zombies wandering around the lobby before the film started.
On Tuesday the 11th, we started by wandering around downtown, getting bus passes, and walking around the state capital building.
We saw a documentary about Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
We went to Thai Passion for lunch.
We went to Waterloo Records, and then went down to the river and walked around a bit.
We saw The 78 Project, a film about a traveling machine that records sound directly to 78 RPM discs, and the machine was actually present at the screening and someone recorded a song on it when the film was over.
After the film, we saw Ramesh (formerly of Voxtrot), found a food truck that was giving out free burgers and fries, then saw the reunited Coachwhips playing a free outdoor show. They played in the audience with tons of people up on stage.
We ended the night by seeing a killer set by The Octopus Project, an Austin band I never got around to seeing before.
Wednesday was more of a shows downtown sort of day, we saw DJ Spinn + DJ Rashad, Future Islands, Eternal Summers and Mirah, did a bit of walking around downtown, and took the bus back to my friend’s house, thankfully avoiding the tragic accident that occurred right near where we saw Spinn + Rashad earlier in the afternoon.
On Thursday there was a Pitchfork day show at the French Legation Museum that we stayed at for a while, then we saw SSLEEPERHOLD in the backyard of a bookstore, and then saw Giraffage at a cafe by the river.
Went to Elysium to see Lee Bannon (who actually did a tag-team set with The Range), and then went to Hotel Vegas again to see Forest Swords, who were incredibly late but did an awesome set. Before their set we saw the last few minutes of Blouse’s set, and then a mindblowing set by Bo Ningen.
On Friday, we went to the convention center for Flatstock and saw a few artists (Angelina Lucero [this time without Jerome LOL] and Pure Bathing Culture), ate lunch at Koriente, visited the Museum Of the Weird, attempted to see Basecamp who had tons of tech problems so we just left, and then we went to Red 7 for the Holodeck Showcase, which was awesome.
On Saturday, we went to WFMU’s showcase at Beerland, then we went to Flatstock to see S U R V I V E (who played last at the Holodeck showcase, but we left before they started), and then went to the Paramount Theatre and saw God Help The Girl, with Stuart Murdoch in attendance! Then we got dinner at an awesome food truck, then saw Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter.
Sunday was the day Austin went back to normal after SXSW, so we just wandered around downtown and went to museums. Everything closed at 5, though, so we just took a bus back to our friend’s house.
Monday was our last day in Austin, and we took a bus down to the south side of town and went to End Of An Ear and walked around and visited lots of cool shops, and then ended up back downtown on Congress and our friend picked us up.
This was my 7th trip to Austin for SXSW, but the first one that I actually drove down there instead of flying. It’s also the first one where I brought a camera and tried to take a bunch of photos. I just got a digital camera recently and I’m still sort of learning how to use it, so bear with me here.
We had just arrived in Austin the previous afternoon after driving for a day straight, and none of the SXSW shows really started until Tuesday, so Monday was just a driving around Austin and record-shopping kinda day. Unfortunately a bunch of cool stores have closed since the last time I visited Austin (namely Backspin Records and Cheapo Records), but my favorite store, End Of An Ear, is still there.
We walked around South Austin for a bit and looked around at some other buildings.
Not too much happened this day, mostly just wandering around downtown waiting for stuff to start happening. We went to the Texas State History Museum for a bit, went to some steampunk bar and saw ASSACRE, I went to The Hideout and saw Twigs & Yarn (whose album I reviewed for Foxy Digitalis) and then ended up at Barcelona and saw Dark Sky and Jimmy Edgar and Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum).
Lots more wandering around and taking photos of stuff. I got up early so I could see Sun Araw at 1PM (who were 2 guys this time instead of a solo project the first 2 times I saw him and a full band the last time, and had a bit more of a dancey sound this time out), saw Ducktails at the Fader Fort (who have become a full band since last time I saw him, a few years ago at a friend’s house in New Brunswick, NJ), saw Troller twice (awesome band, review of their LP coming soon), was going to see Jandek but he cancelled, so I went to Elysium and saw Andy Stott and John Talabot instead. Andy Stott absolutely killed it, he started out with the slower Luxury Problems type tracks, then accelerated to more breakbeat-heavy stuff, like the stuff he did a few years ago under the name Andrea. I only stayed for half of John Talabot’s set, but it sounded pretty good.
First thing I did this day was see ’70s Detroit proto-punk legends DEATH, who played a free afternoon show at what used to be Emo’s. They have a documentary about them now, which I hadn’t heard anything about up here in Michigan, so maybe it hasn’t been playing anywhere here, or maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. But their incredible album …For The Whole World To See was recorded in 1975 and finally released in 2009, and now they’re doing the whole reunion thing and releasing a new album soon. After that, I saw Disclosure, who played live keyboards and electronic drums, and sang one or two songs themselves, but most of the vocals were by female vocalists who weren’t present, so they were just played as samples. I also saw Destruction Unit at the suggestion of Kristin, and I also went to a juke/footwork party at a small art gallery on Congress Avenue. There seems to be a pretty active juke scene in Austin, and they have legit connections with the Chicago scene, as evidenced by this compilation and the fact that they got DJ Spinn to play at this party. There was a good circle of footwork dancing when I first got to the party, so I took a few pictures of that, but then it sort of faded away and they stopped playing footwork music until DJ Spinn got on the decks towards the end. The Bug was supposed to play two sets that night, and I went to the earlier one so I could catch the last bus back to my friend’s apartment so I wouldn’t have to stay late and catch a taxi, but he never showed up to the early set (he did show up to the later one and I wish I’d made it out for that one because Zac said it was incredible). We were also supposed to interview The Bug the next afternoon but he never showed up to that either.
Well, me and Zac were supposed to interview The Bug, but the promoter and label were having troubles getting in touch with him, so he was a no-show. So I hunted around for some grub and ended up at a day party that JD Twitch (of Optimo), Jackmaster and Rustie were DJ’ing at. JD Twitch and Optimo both played awesome sets, but the sound wasn’t always so great and the crowd wasn’t always into it. I’m not a huge fan of Rustie’s music, but his set sounded really good, and the crowd was really pumped. The main thing I was excited about Friday, however, was the Not Not Fun showcase at the Hideout. NNF has been doing at least one showcase at SXSW for a few years now, and every one I’ve been to has been amazing. In previous years I saw Ducktails, Robedoor, Sun Araw, Barn Owl, Pocahaunted, Dylan Ettinger, Umberto, High Wolf and others. This year the major draw (for me, at least) was Xander Harris, but every set was incredible.
This was the last day of shows at SXSW, the next day we started driving back to Michigan. We saw Jad Fair in the backyard of some bar, there were maybe 20 people there tops, and he didn’t like how soundcheck was going so he just played his unplugged electric guitar right in front of the crowd, and it was awesome. I saw Bernie Worrell (keyboard genius from Parliament/Funkadelic, Talking Heads, etc.) at another outdoor backyard show, and even though there were a lot of sound problems at that one too, his set was also great. He said at one point that George Clinton might show up if he made it through the traffic, but that never happened. After that I saw a bit of a set by Kid Congo Powers (who was in The Cramps, The Gun Club, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and a ton of other bands). I also saw Octant, an artist who programs robots to play instruments for his live show. I have his first album from the late ’90s and I liked it a lot, so it’s cool that he’s still around. The main thing I was excited about this night was the Moog showcase at Elysium. Austin’s synth store Switched On sponsored this, and they had demos of a bunch of newer Moog synths at the show. The first artist I saw at this show was Kontravoid, who was okay, but the second was S U R V I V E, who were mindblowing. And after that was Xeno & Oaklander, who I’ve wanted to see for a long time, and they were awesome as well.