Saturday, March 19, 2011

SXSW: I'm Pooped

(this was supposed to be my Friday morning post but I haven't had much luck with wi-fi. I think we're leaving Austin today, so I'm gonna go stalk Conor Oberst and I'll get back to you all later and tell you all about yesterday when I'm in the van.

Today was an amazing but exhausting day. It started off kinda overcast, then got kinda toasty pretty fast, and when you're walking everywhere, and like me, you idiotically decide to carry your 80lb backpack because you believe in the miracle of wi-fi, let's just say by the time I got home an hour or so ago, I was a smelly monkey.

Now I'm all showered, found some wi-fi, and can tell you more about my day.

It was a late start; after the crazy deadend party last night, Matt and I stayed up till the wee hours. He played some songs for me to post, which I'll do as soon as me and this wi-fi establish a more trusting relationship.

Nima and Dani dropped me off at the end of 6th around 2, so I booked it to "Wunderbar" where they were having "Lunch With Germans". It was nice to finally meet Brooke, a publicist I've worked with for a while now, and I helped myself to their spread which had amazing German food. It was nice to have some green, like cold cucumber soup, salad, steamed green beans and carrots, and this yummy stuffed beetroot something or other. I joined a couple bloggers and got some Austin insight on bars and the electronic scene, including Lulu, who went to high school at Bishop's in La Jolla, but has been in Austin for a bit. She stage produces at Elysium, which was kinda funny because since I really sucked at planning a schedule on my Blackberry, the one alert I got was from CHAPPO who were playing there at 4ish.

I hoofed over to the bar and it was pretty empty. Apparently Mr. Heavenly, the band that Michael Cera is in, had played there earlier and it was packed, but when I got there it was pretty empty and the few people who were there seemed to have been waaaayyy overserved. It was luck that after the band playing, Backdrifter, that CHAPPO was to be followed by The Silent Comedy. It was nice to dump my bag by their gear and hang out for a while. As I mentioned, CHAPPO was awesome, and thus far have been my favorite new-to-me band I've seen. Unfortunately, our attempts at finding a quiet space for an interview failed, but I promise to get one before the week ends.

After the show, I waited as the bands loaded up their vans, saw Jake who is tour managing Menomena at the moment, and waited until we were all set to wander for the night. Jeremiah from The Silent Comedy kindly took my bag in the van with their gear, and I was able to let them park it at Matt's place since they're staying a bit out of the city. I wandered around with TSC. We were on the hunt for an artist lounge with free massages and swag, but we were too late, so we wandered to a party being held on the river by their legal reps. It was nice, right next to the Four Seasons, and we drank beers on a small hill as we finally got to see the bats of Austin flying out from the bridge. Quite a unique sight, and the sound of thousands of bats whirring was pretty remarkable from the perspective of a first time witness.

After the open bar shut down, we were all starving and wandering with dozens of ideas on where to go and eat, but I checked Foursquare tips and there was a place across the street that seemed to have many positive reviews. I was afraid that Chapala Cantina would be the equivalent of a Chevy's or El Torito, but was pretty pleased with the food and the service. They bring out a bowl of salsa base to your table and ask your level of preferred spiciness and hand mix in the chiles accordingly. They also bring out this cheesy delicious bean dip. I think we went through 12 bowls at the table. (do the math) Someone recommended I try an avocado margarita if I saw it on any menus, and thank god they said so because it was delicious. We decided it kinda tasted like Yoplait's key lime pie yogurt, only way more awesome.

After dinner we wandered back to 6th and went to Habana, where Warner Brothers had a showcase. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed with the bands and I was so exhausted and sore at that point that I was kinda worthless. We saw Neon Hitch, who has some pretty amazing dance moves, though I violated my promise to myself that I'd skip all dance/electronic/DJ acts. Spank Rock came out for a song, so that was pretty cool, though I was just dreaming about a beanbag at that point. We caught the next band and despite the label hyping them to us, I wasn't really all that impressed. I wanted to stick around to wait for Josh, the tour manager of Surfer Blood, but we decided to split to Bayou to catch Fierce Creatures. Along the way, however, Josh said he was grabbing sushi, so I ended up splitting from the group to hang out with part of Surfer Blood and their crew while they had sake, plum wine and beer. Remember I did an interview with the band at Sunset Sessions and then never posted it because of some things that went a little awry? Well, we're sorting out details for a new one this weekend and after they see the old one, they might actually be okay with me posting that as well.

Eventually they split to go to the WB show to play, I wandered on to Bayou to meet back up with TSC. We hung out, I did a couple shots, and they stayed for Fierce Creatures as I wandered back to Habana to see Surfer Blood. They were awesome, and hopefully my video comes out ok because I was using the back of the speakers as my tripod. The show ended at last call, so nothing else really eventful except some lady screaming at me in Spanish that I needed to pay for beers that were swiped by the band. Oh, and I ran into Fake Problems who were adorable as ever. I searched after parties but decided not even to bother, and wandered back to where TSC were awaiting their van, running into Jarrod Palomar of Augustana on the way. Hopefully I can catch up with him tomorrow, too.
I'm back at Matt's now, the whirring of the highway, the stank of three people in a living room with smelly shoes and such, and I miss my bed, but I can definitely say I am loving South By and I will most definitely be back next year. Sometimes my friends in bands say things like "If we ever get famous" or "If we get rich" and I correct them..."you mean, 'WHEN we get famous'" or "'WHEN we get rich" I'll say it like year when I come back and when I have a showcase and when I bring my bands with me, well, this year kicks ass, but next year...

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