It seems like each year SXSW takes for ever to come around. Then the day before it kicks off you cannot believe that it has arrived. Day one you get off to a running start like the kid in the proverbial candy store; wanting to soak it all up. You almost can't take it. It all seems to run past in a blur with music, people, booze, food, music, music, people booze, music whirring by. You always meet great people from all around some who you've known virtually for some time and others you just bump into as you wait in yet another line.
Today is the last day of SXSW for me. There are some shows tomorrow but to be honest I think its gonna take a day of mostly silence sitting at home to get my ears to stop ringing before reality bites with work on Monday!
Yesterday was a super day. I got started at around pm and managed to see Delorentos from Dublin playing for about 30 mins. I really enjoyed the set and I was happy to see that there were some industry people there. Also bumped into Jim Carroll and we exchanged some tips and stories (nice to meet you again Jim). Off to the Fadar Fort to meet with Covert and to grab a beer. I missed The Knux who apparently had a great set. Got to see The Fashion who I enjoyed reasonably well as a way to get my day going. I am back to Fader Fort today for the following: Santagold, Spankrock and 2LiveCrew! Bring it!
From there I went off to get my wristband for the iheartcomix vs mad decent party. Picture this: a 20 thousnd square foot parking garage that is rented out just for this party. The rooftops have sound stages set up around the place, a swimming pool, shuffle board and a free scotch bar with some of the friendliest bar staff I have met at a free bar in 90 degree weather. Oh yeh, yesterday was hot!
Hanging out in the sun, drinking free scotch at 3 in the afternoon and listening to El Remolon from Argentina play his beautifully hypnotizing sounds is a wonderful experience. After writing about him almost a year ago it is amazing to get to experience him live and he has a great set. The Zizek North American tour is going well according to Grant and they have two more dates in NY on March 17th and Chicago on March 21st. Check out info. here. There is also a compilation of tunes released by Zizek Records that I will write about seperately.
Back to SXSW. Myself and Covert hung out at the garage for about an hour or so but you can imagine the struggle we went through in leaving a free scotch bar. Needless to say that struggle took three scotches to work through.:)
We split up from their and I went to see Darondo play a few songs and it was amazing to see. His voice captures you from the moment you hear it. Much thanks to Ice Cream Man for the cold treats to take the edge off the afternoon sun.
Met with up with Dev from Blog Fresh Radio for the Mercury Records showcase and got to see one of the great surprises of this years SXSW (for me). Duffy apparently is pretty successful in the UK with a number one album and single over there. I had heard absolutely nothing about this at all before I walked in and listened to David Massey make the introductions. When I bumped into him later at the venue he described Duffy as a "legend in the making". And you know what, while the music industry thrives on hype I think that he may be onto something. I was completely enamored by Duffy who, along with her superb backing band, came on an wowed the audience with 5-6 songs. While the show was very much a performance, ,contrived perhaps(?), Duffy's voice reminded me of Alice Russell but is warmer and richer in some way. Perhaps its the Welsh in her. Either way it was great stuff.
There comes a time during all this running about that you have to make the call to eat or else you leave it too late and end up skipping a meal and for this endurance test that is SXSW you can't really afford to skip a meal. So, we ran off the Ruby's BBQ for a feed. I highly recommend it. As one of the people at dinner has two kids we ran across to Toy Joy. Little did I know that the kids were in fact with me and the guys spent quite a while digging through the mass of stuff that is in that store. Success came in the form of cowboy hats and some other fun stuff.
Taxi'd back to town for a party on the east side that turned out to be a non-party. I managed to get their early and had expected to see South Rakkas Crew. There was nothing being set-up, the organizer (who will remain nameless for now) wasn't around and no-one at the venue seemed to know what was happening. Weird. At this stage it was me and Covert again and we wanted beats!
Back to the iheartcomix vs mad decent party which we got into just in time to grab some beers and to catch Blaqstarr laying down some serious Baltimore beats. The place was hopping and he kept on cranking it up.
I spent a little time speaking with Chai from Hearts Challenger who I had seen on CurrentTV a while back. Very nice bloke and these guys are bringing their unique experience around the world one party at a time. Would love to see them bringing the love to Electric Picnic later this year and they would love to be a part of it. Anyone got an 'in' for them?
Simian Mobile Disco kicked off on the opposite end of the garage so as Blaqstarr cranked up serious bass SMD was getting into some serious acid fueled, four to the floor beats that got the crowd going just a little crazy. After 4 years in Austin I was thoroughly delighted to experience something close to the fun we had back when we were largin' it. A great set from them and I was chuffed to have gotten to check them out after a few failed attempts.
Amanda Blank is a force to be reckoned with. Amazing stage presence and she sure can spit out some rhymes over seriously funky beats and bass. I think I'm in love. Check her out.
I gotta admit that I dropped out of the party before Diplo/Switch/Drop The Lime hit the stage. Kinda regret that now but had heard that the party was shut down the night before and wasn't up to leaving the garage down one flight of stairs with 1500 other people while the cops watched from the side. Getting too old for that shit.
Today starts off with Cathy Davey at 12.30pm and then off to Stubbs to check out Digitalism and Chromeo. As mentioned above I am back to the Fort at 6pm through 8.30pm or so and then I get to wander to the Fool Gold showcase night which I reckon is gonna be a fun one.