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.