SXSW Day Five – March 16th
We started out our final day at an outdoor free event by the river that was in honor of the recently passed Levon Helm, though you wouldn’t know it unless you asked what the water jugs were for when you got through security. I’ve never been hassled so much by security. They made me throw out granola bars because the event featured luxurious accommodations along the lines of beers that were more expensive than any bar downtown, food that was gross, and almost no shade, even though it was 85 without a cloud in the sky. We bummed around this event hoping to catch some of JJ Grey & Mofro, Steve Earle, and if we lasted, Robert Randolph and the Family Band were set to play later. Scott and I left after walking in a circle and realizing this was the worst event we’d been to all week, and even standing in a field in front of the stage we could not hear the band. Ironically, we could hear the band when we walked across the bridge leaving. It was a sign and we took it and went to a cooler environment with better beer for less money and gathered ourselves for the evening.
Our first stop was at the Doritos Bold Stage, which was such a testament to corporate generosity that we got offered free Doritos, Cracker Jacks, Pretzels, and whatever else they could hand out in an oversized bag every time we accidentally made eye contact with anyone working there. So, don’t buy Doritos kids, just go to a show and they will give you so many that you are forced to throw out more than you can possibly eat. The show we saw was Atlanta’s up and coming dance, hip-hop, dubstep trio Watch the Duck. Not only were they all wearing boxer briefs stuffed in the front, but they had a 4th member who looked like Kendrick Lamar in a Duck costume. This probably only comes to mind because the first song was his “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”. Either way, it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever been to. From the 4 story digital screen that looked like a vending machine, to the background shots of Bernie Mac, Forrest Gump, A Clockwork Orange, and god knows what else, to the weird outfits and the brilliant MC who looked like President Camacho from Idiocracy.
We left Watch the Duck to go see local faves The Rocketboys who were blistering through the end of their set a couple blocks away. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys a few times back in Macon, but it was nice to see them on their home turf. We said our hellos and goodbyes to the boys with rockets as they wrapped up and headed to another gig. We stayed put to see who was next.
The following band was a shoe gazer outfit from New York called Dead Leaf Echo who we listened through until our sodas were empty. The sound at this place was so unreasonably loud that it really ruined the music, but from the brick and plaster walls, the open pitched ceiling, to the stone bar, the only thing that absorbed sound were bodies, so that is to be expected.
We met up with Shawty Slim who extolled us tales of his SXSW experience where we all got really jealous hearing T.I. showed up for one of B.O.B.’s sets. It was great catching up with Shawty over here in Austin, but he had to go to bed early to do a show in Macon at 2pm, which sounded insane at 10pm in Texas, but as Mr. T.I himself says, “hustle then the money, failure ain’t the plan,” so we said adieu to Shawty.
I skipped like a giddy child past the ridiculous line that was forming for the elusive Daft Punk show that had been rumored for weeks and got into Maggie Mae’s to see Aussie dance pop band Mitzi. I had Scott and Dave in tow for this one and I was probably a bit obnoxious about the set before it started. When it did start I was vindicated as they cruised through their hits off their recently released LP Truly Alive. More arm flailing and awkward dancing on my end until the set ended with their killer song “Who Will Love You Now.” I feel responsible for Scott and David becoming avid Aussie dance pop fans, so I’m sure they will thank me for years to come. Flume was playing to a packed house upstairs at the same venue, so I dragged them up there to hear some of his set while I danced (flailed) a bit more to his beats.
Our next and final stop was back at the Red Eyed Fly to see Atlanta’s Gringo Star. They were just getting started as we walked in. I was a bit too caffeinated at this and took some blurry phone pics while they rocked out. It was late and we were all thoroughly exhausted so we left near the end of their set to hail a cab and crash after one of the greatest weeks of our life.
Side note about taxis during SXSW, they’re mostly terrible. We found one guy, Johnnie Bond Sr. 512-522-8688, who is not only friendly and prompt, but he told us to lie to cabbies downtown about needing to ride really far so that they would take us, then act like we changed our mind once in the cab. We did this on the final night after a dozen cabs acted too busy to pick us up and it worked. So, if you find yourself trying to get a cab at the end of the night at SXSW, just say you’re going to Round Rock and they will pick you up. They will also be a bit peeved when you don’t go to Round Rock, so tip well and tell them sorry for partying and keep in mind, as we did, that they weren’t even going to pick you up without that little white lie.
We’ll see you next time Austin!
With Great Love,
The Blue Indian