Thursday, 18 March 2010

SXSW Report: Wednesday

And so it begins.....
H-T-A is lucky enough to be receiving the inside scoop on the Austin shenanigans courtesy of music lover/writer/glutton for chaos Darci Spiker

Checking into as many of the unofficial parties as humanly possible (once caffeine intake is sufficiently satisfied.....I empathise entirely) and, presumably, conjuring innovative ways to crash those high fallutin' official ones, her unique take will allow those of us languishing back here in NYC (and elsewhere) to feel at least some of the good times. Hey, at least we're getting the Texas sunshine back here. Enough blathering, over to Darci:

"The first night at SXSW was at once a total bust and totally glorious.  Plans schmans!  I had a list of all the bands I wanted to see and with said list, hit the ground running.  Without a wristband or badge, it was laughable that I actually thought I’d even get in to Stubb’s to see The Walkmen, Broken Bells and Spoon.  

As it goes with the SX mayhem, I was on my way to catch The Minutes, from Dublin, when I ran into friends from the industry.  What do you do when you run into friends at SX?  I’ll tell you what I did: I crumpled up my plans and stuffed them into my pocket (alongside the giant remote controlled gate-opener that my hosts gave me for the week – um, thanks.), kissed my friends, had vodka and flowed with their current for a while.  Thankfully, their current included some amazing bands, my favorite of which was The Ugly Suit from Oklahoma City.  

Holy F’ing Moly.  These guys are completely amazing. I don’t care what you think of the music on their MySpace page, if you miss an opportunity to see them live, you’re plain old silly. Not surprisingly, I recognized a few A&R guys in the crowd and spoke to one after who was kind of tittering and shaking with, I’m assuming, unabashed joy. 

Now completely derailed from my plan, pitching and lurching along 6th street, but somehow keeping it on the tracks, I pass the Wave Bar where I remembered that Brooklyn's La Strada was playing.  The show started quite late because sound check took forever.   As I wait, I’m thinking “Haven’t these guys done this before? Why does sound check look so hard every time?  Why does he keep staring at and then tapping the microphone?  It’s on! It sounds the same as it did the last 99 times you tapped it. Play already!” (Sorry for the ignorant aside.  It should be said that i) I do realize that I HAVE NO IDEA what these lovely artists are doing up there and ii) that it’s all very important and iii) I’m an idiot.  I’m just giving you a little insight as to what the ‘fans’ are thinking as we chew our straws to make the game of sucking vodka a little more challenging.)  


Once the band took the stage, they also took the audience.  With a cello, a violin, an accordion, synth, drums, guitar and bass, they created a sound almost as beautiful as the Daytrotter recording that caused me to put them on my list in the first place.  Maybe it would have been just as beautiful if they had spent more time on the sound check.  La Strada has beautiful songs that take one back to those olden days in a late-afternoon, sunlit foreign country, one that none of us has actually experienced outside of our own minds.

After La Strada, I made one more attempt to see Spoon at Stubb’s, mostly because I’m a glutton for punishment, but also as I mentioned above, I’m an idiot.  It didn’t work."

Thursday begins..... 

"Here’s the other thing about SXSW, you’re always missing something.  As I type from my rented studio apartment on Riverside drive, bands are giving it to the early birds downtown.  That said, the Insound party starts in 45 minutes and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna to miss Liars, Small Black and Surfer Blood.  I have time for a shower (maybe) and a coffee, and then I’m off for another adventure.  Maybe today I’ll stick to a plan, but probably not."

Eagerly (and, yep sure, enviously) awaiting the outcome of schedule vs instinct for today's activities. Follow your intrepid reporter on Twitter if you simply can't hang on.

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