Fused is heading out to SXSW again in 2009 – if you want to keep updated visit our new site at www.fusedmagazine.com.
Fused is heading out to SXSW again in 2009 – if you want to keep updated visit our new site at www.fusedmagazine.com.
Swampmeat will be bringing the noize, bringing the soul, the rockabilly and everything inbetween.
Featuring Live music from
DEADLY LONG LEGS
Plus Guest COLDRICE DJ’s till the early hours.
Tickets are now available from http://www.ticketweb.co.uk priced at just £3!
FREE SHOTS TO THE FIRST 50 PEOPLE!
THURSDAY 13th MARCH – The day after the night before
So with the crowds gone and the bands packed up and the weight of expectation lifted off the mind it was time to catch up on some well earned sleep which unfortunately meant missing the British BBQ and The Ting Tings at the Fader party.
Hitting 6th Street on Thursday afternoon the atmosphere had completely transformed. The SXSW music festival was truely underway. Thursday is when the people arrive, the stages have been set up and the onslaught to the senses really kicks in.
Music comes at you from every angle: Crusties on the street (with obligatory dogs on string) playing ramshackle instruments, bars with their windows and doors flung open to reveal singer songwriters, balconies and roof tops blasting out rock ‘n’ roll – from one bar to another their is no escape.
We bumped in to Copter, Swampmeat and The Big Bang boys and opted to sit outside in the baking sun and drink Sangria at the Bowery Poetry tent. We were then hearded in to a wine tasting session and managed to escape to ‘Bourbon Rocks’ where they were serving free beer – bonus.
The Slits – Ari Up at The Typewriter Museum
It was time to go an see some bands so we headed under the Interstate and a 10 minute walk later we were at The Typewriter Museum (although I didn’t see one Typewriter – am I being stupid?). This turned out to be more like a junk yard than a Museum which had sold out of drinks (although you were welcome to bring your own). The Slits were just hitting the stage when we arrived with Ari Up sporting a natty selection of dreads and getting everyone in a party mood.
Dan Swampmeat and Dave Fused start a punch up on the way back from seeing The Slits
We didn’t see any typewriters but we liked these bikes
30 minutes later (the place was pretty smelly – what is it with crusties and deodorant?) and we moved on. The evening included:
Texas Burlesque Fest Revue at Esther’s Follies
FRIDAY 14th MARCH
The Aussie BBQ with a very long queue for hotdog’s (well the Aussie’s are renowned for their BBQ’s, lots of Vodka and Cranberry juice and some Australian bands whose names escape me.
To get out of the sun we took a walk around the Flatstock fesival, held at the Covention Centre, is a rock poster show and includes over 80 artists working in the medium – including Fused favourite Tara McPherson. The one things the American bands really take care of is their tour posters which can look amazing and this is a great place to purchase some of the work. Poster prices start from $5 upwards. We bought 4 posters and spent $38.
Next it was on to the MAD DECENT Party which was taking place in a multi-story car park. This was a really great idea – empty the car park, put in a soundsystem and a stage at either end and wait until everyone arrives. Upstairs in the pool area NYLON were having their party but we couldn’t remember if we’d RSVP’d to that one so rather than wait in the queue we took pics of Har Mar Superstar, drank more free stuff and played with our free water pistols.
After about an hour and a half being entertained (or horrified depending on how your sense of humour) by Har Mar in his pants we popped to Lamberts (a really nice restaurant) to see Herman Dune and then took a mammoth walk – taking in the Smallest Bar in Austin along the way – to the North by North East party (the Canadian version of SXSW). All the way up a steady incline in 85 degree heat is not good but was certainly worth it when we got there.
The venue was a beautiful house out towards the suburbs and away from the main drag. The Canadians were out in force and the artist we caught, Basia Bulat (above) of Ontario, had the most amazing voice and wowed the crowd with her Autoharp skills.
No rest for the wicked and my feet were really hurting by now – it was on to Buffalo Billiards to see The Watson Twins, then RTX at Flamingo Cantina and finishing the night with the Japanese to see Petty Booka (the Japanese blue-grass band who sounded like the smurfs on moonshine) at Elysum.
SATURDAY 15th MARCH
We found out our cute little dillo buses didn’t run weekends so we walked to the Congress Building and just past to go to the ‘Mess with Texas‘ party – which would really put one of the UK party in the park style events to shame. A gorgeous park, great weather, 3 stages, lots of food and drink stalls and great bands.
Next party for us to grace with our presence was Q Magazine. Now this was swanky – held at the very nice Driskell Hotel Mezzanine the champagne was on ice and the canapes – as you would expect – small. After a spell on Guitar Hero 3 we went to watch Lightspeed Champion, Kate Nash and the very impressive These New Puritans.
We even managed to squeeze in a chat with our buddies at Sony BMG and the Capsule girls.
The intention next was to go and see Spank Rock and 2 Live Crew at the Fader party but our hopes were dashed when we seen the size of the queue – no chance. So, not to be deterred, back to the hotel to freshen up and straight on out to see Andre Williams at the fabulous Continental Club.
SUNDAY 16th MARCH
Our last full day in Austin and the festival is pretty much over. The streets are back to normal literally over night and downtown looks a little sad and used. The sun is hiding behind the clouds as if it knows its all over so we hit the shops.
South Congress is great for shopping – lots of independent stores and vintage goodies to be found as well as the odd market.
Things to buy on South Congress – I have 10
We still managed to find a few shows on Sunday and finally ended up back at Buffalo Billiards with Deluka for our last margaritas.
Here is a funny video of BBC Radio 6‘s Tom Robinson trying to navigate his way to The Tap Room to see the bands play at the showcase. It is a great example of how easy it is to get lost, even within a simple grid system, in your first few hours in Austin.
We are pleased to say he managed to get there in time for The Big Bang and Trash fashion.
WEDNESDAY 12th MARCH – THE SHOWCASE
Wednesday we set off flyering and postering the streets of downtown Austin to advertise the gig – we had done some the night before but had noticed that the organisers or local officials had covered all the lamposts in clingfilm – we assume to keep them free of stickers and make them easier to clean. But every night they came along and cleared any posters off the lamposts.
Also when the bands received their showcase confirmation they were told NOT to hand out / poster / sticker the streets so we had to find other ways to get rid of the flyers. There are lots of places around the convention centre to put items and it is a great place to go and find out where things are happening.
So with that job done and the sunshine hitting somewhere in the mid 80’s we hit the Fader/Levi party. A long que and 40 mins later (not even our press credentials could help with that) and we were inside. The indoors part of the buidling incorporated a Levi store, a Ray Ban sunglasses cleaning service (sure there was more to their pressence than that but that is about all I could see), lots of Levi memorabilia and some great posing opportunities infront of some DJ decks and cardboard cut-outs of Run DMC.
Outside on the other hand was a stage with The Whip playing when we arrived (infact throughtout the week we couldn’t go anywhere without The Whip playing) and free Sothern Comfort for all who wised to partake (or a variety of cold green tea flavours for those of us suffering from the effects of the free drinks at the MTV party).
We hung around to catch The Kills who Copter had caught the night before dancing to Kula Shaker at The Long Branch Inn. The nice thing about these parties is that none of the bands seem to play for more than 30 minutes so if your boredom threshold is low or your fit are hurting from all that running from one bar to the next then you don’t have long to wait for the next band.
It was time to bid farewell to the free Sothern Comfort and go and see the how the bands were getting on at the soundcheck. A few frought faces greeted us but our designated stage manager at the venue had it all inhand. The bar tab was opened and the cool beers handed in and before we knew it Swampmeat were on stage and the place was gradually filling up.
Some of the Deluka contingent had kindly offered to go out and hand out flyers to the punters on 6th Street. Although our venue was great it wasn’t on the main drag so people had to make the effort to seek us out but lucikly for the bands they did. Infact among our visitors were:
Tom Robinson from Radio 6 (London) – check the link here before he went he put The Big Bang and Trash Fashion as his ‘under the Radar’ top tips of people to visit.
Claire – Online boss at bbc.co.uk
Representatives from Bebo
Representatives from Levi
An America record label (Somewhere in America)
Clusta’s LA office (LA via Birmingham)
The Miller Light Girls (Austin)
Vijay Kishore (Birmingham, UK)
Manager Rob McKenzie (Birmingham, UK)
Capsule (Birmingham, UK)
And a gent who introduced himself only as J.W. (very Dallas) and who claimed that if he wore his ‘official’ badge and people knew who he really was he would get ‘mobbed’ – interesting. And they are just the people that we spoke to.
All in all around 300 people came through the doors that night. It was a transient crowd who came in and stayed for specific bands but as we found out the following day – that is the nature of SXSW.
It really has taken us a week to recover from SXSW but I thought, while still fresh in mind, I would do a run down of things we went to that will give you an idea of what the event is like (hopefully).
MONDAY 10th MARCH – The travelling day
Fused set off from Birmingham at 4.15am to get to Gatwick to catch our 11am flight to Houston. We decided to go down via National Express and given the howling winds and almost torrential rain were more than happy to let someone else do the driving. However mid-way through the journey when the driver pulled over and told us the windscreen wipers had broken we started to get a little nervous. This event pretty much set the tone for the 5000 or so mile journey.
The driver eventually got us to Heathrow and put us on another coach for the final leg to Gatwick Airport. So an hour later than planned we got to Gatwick to be told that our airplane would be delayed by 2 hours as it was unable to land because of the winds. The knock on effect of this is that we would miss our connection to Austin. Great start.
Meanwhile in the South Gatwick Terminal the Copter/Swampmeat/Big Bang camp boarded their plane with no problems. But at the connecting airport – Dallas – Copter bassist Woz got ‘busted’. Now there is a sticky issue of visas when it comes to playing the US. It is a grey area and many bands don’t bother getting one especially if it is a one-off event. So after 3 hours of interagation and no way to prove that Woz was a proffessional musician or making money out of the gig (the band borrowed their guitars whilst there) he was left to continue his journey. He (and Mark Copter who stayed behind to wait for him) missed their connecting flights too and were given a flight the next day to meet the rest of the bands.
So Fused arrived 4 hours late (not bad considering the delays), Copter/Swampmeat/Big Bang almost as planned, the lucky Deluka girl and boys had been to Vegas so arrived ontime and Trash Fashion managed to squeeze in an extra gig on Monday night in Houston. So by Tuesday afternoon we had all made it.
TUESDAY 11th MARCH
So we had settled in to our B&B and woke up feeling refreshed (the delay’s with the flights meant we were pretty much in US time without suffering any jetlag). It was time to explore. Our accomodation was on 22nd street – the action takes place around 6th street so either a 40 minute walk or lucky for us a 5 minute free bus ride on the city’s ‘Dillo‘ service (cute rickety buses that look like old fashioned trams) which stopped right outside the B&B.
We went to the Convention Centre where we bumped in to Deluka and friends (where they hold lots of the talks for official badge holders) to pick up our wristbands and went to check out the location of our venue (only a 2 minuite walk from the main stretch of action on 6th).
The first thing we noticed about downtown Austin was the sheer amount of venues. Along congress, 6th Street and Red River there is a large concentration of bars. They vary in sizes and quality but it appears that most have the ability to put on a gig at the drop of a hat (or amp).
Content with the location (all be it nothing we could if we weren’t) we decided to hit our first party. The ‘Howdy Texas’ event was held at Stubb’s BBQ – Stubb’s is one of the most established venues with an outdoor area that was able to hold a large outdoor stage.
Many of the parties have free food (usually BBQ) and drinks. You usually have to RSVP beforehand to get on the guestlist but we found that as people knew we were going to the event we received lots of invites as there is a lot of competition to get people to the events.
The parties have bands and DJ’s playing too to keep you entertained inbetween ‘official’ showcases.
So after the BBQ it was getting in to the early evening – we had arranged to meet the bands at Buffalo Billiards on 6th Street (a large sports bar with table football, darts, billiards and lots more) where you can always seem to get a table and a snack (although you have to deal with rude staff and a long wait to do so). Austin based photographer Jean-Philippe Martin also popped in to say hello as he was due to take pics at the showcase.
As the bands wanted to see the venue close up we headed on down to the Tap Room and bumped in to some the Birmingham guys who were there for the ‘Interactive’ part of the festival. Pete Ashton and Stef Lewandowski were joined by someone they had met from Bebo and invited us all upstairs to an MTV party where the crowd were eagerly waiting to play the new ‘Rock Band‘ game.
So at 2am it was time for bed before the big showcase….
TO BE CONTINUED