Festivals, Music, SXSW, The Revue — April 7, 2017 at 5:35 am

SXSW 2017 Memories #4 – The Fairy Tale of Austin

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Since 2015, we have asked independent artists to share their favorite memories from their time at SXSW. In just a couple of years, this project has become one of our most popular features thanks to the growing interests of bands and singers from around the world. Forty-five artists participated in this year’s edition, and we’ll be sharing their memories over four days. Here are the links to the first edition, the second set of memories, and the third one.

Today’s edition features Annabel Allum, Communist Daughter, FayRoy, Hideout, Knox Hamilton, Lewis Watson, Mike Melinoe, Okey Dokey, Saro, Someday River, and Wild Rivers. These are just snapshots of what they experienced. Click on their names to view their full memories and all their photos. Of course, we’ve included a mini-playlist that includes the music of today’s featured artists and bands.

Once upon a not-so-distant time, more than two thousand artists and another several thousand buyers and merchants descended upon a mythical land called Austin. They were all searching for valuable gems, establishing new networks and re-connecting with old contacts, and hoping to leave the city with something no else could claim. Many came from locales nearby while plenty traveled from faraway places just to experience this magical and chaotic place, such as…

…singer-songwriter Annabel Alum, who took a winged object from England to Texas. She experienced all that Austin had to offer, including delicacies like moonshine and country music. It was her attendance, however, at Willie Nelson’s private festival, Luck Reunion, that left her with stories to tell for a lifetime. After dancing with cowboys and experiencing a hoedown until the wee hours of morning, her trip back to her accommodations was wrought with problems. Her transport didn’t exactly turn into a pumpkin, but it may as well have been after breaking down. To make matters worse, once they finally returned home, she realized that she did not have the key. So sweet dreams were made in the car…

 

…while not far away from she slept, Nashville-based Okey Dokey were partying at a – to use their words – “a fucking castle!” Majestic and grand it was, the castle was adorned with the finest furs, glass, and taxidermy. For one extraordinary night, Aaron Martin, Johny Fisher, and the rest of their band felt like royalty…

 

…but some others, like Communist Daughter, the simple pleasures are what make Austin great. Their hosts and fellow neighbors were among the most gracious in all of Austin, and their lands were filled with deer, horses, and the occasional tarantula. Johnny Solomon, Adam Switlick, Molly Moore, Al Weiers, Dillon Marchus, and Steven Yasgar created such a strong bond with the villagers that they performed a free show for them before leaving Austin. But the one memory they will forever remember is parking, as they secured the best stables before every show. In the words of the band, #parkingisnumber1memory, which can only occur in Austin…

 

…like getting to chat with a childhood hero in Zac from Hanson, which Oxfordshire singer-songwriter Lewis Watson achieved. The mere fact Watson recognized Zac Hanson is eye-opening to say the least, but that is part of the appeal of Austin. In addition, the learned scholar enjoyed the culinary delights of this majestic land, namely the wings from Gus’s Fried Chicken, the tacos at Torchy’s, and Java Cafe’s pancakes. He also held court at the grand St. David’s Church, where Watson performed an intimate set. But for every quiet moment…

 

…there is a time where the jester must appear, and his timing is always perfect. And fortunately for Mike Melinoe and his friend, they were saved by the antics of the lead singer of an unknown band. After the two grabbed their food – pig no less – from one of the artists’ tents, they watched a band perform. Neither were very hungry, but Melinoe’s friend wasn’t touching his food at all. Then the moment arrives – the lead singer approaches them, grabs his friend’s plate, and smashes the food over his bald head and continues on. Karma. Pure Karma. That is Austin, which is filled with those who want to be the life of the party…

 

…and those looking to crash it. Toronto, alt-folk band Wild Rivers may look innocent, seamlessly blending in with the regular folk. However, they’re really mischievous, especially when they eye something they desperately want. In Austin, their goal was to see the legendary Spoon. With their resourcefulness, the overcame the moat, snuck in through the back gate, and got in, escaping the grasps of the guardsmen – ummm… bouncers – and finding prime spots near the stage to watch their Prince Charming, Britt Daniels, perform in front of them…

 

… but Someday River didn’t have a knight-in-shining-armor but rather they had their own Joan of Arc in Katie shepherding the way for them in Austin. She not only was their host during their time in Austin, but she also finagled them into the Hotel Vegas party where SURVIVE, who had written the Stranger Things soundtrack, was performing. Talk about counting your blessings, but it seems Katie was indeed some conjurer of good fortune…

 

…because surf rocker FayRoy couldn’t stop talking about her, assuming this is the same Katie. She, too, was the band’s host while in Austin, and she arranged an impromptu show at Waller Creek Pub. Whether Katie also pulled a Merlin trick by granting the band entry into the soldout Lemon Twigs and Future Islands show is unknown, but in this fairy tale we like to think she did…

 

…but we cannot credit her for the beautiful sunset that graced Saro‘s performance during the TOMS Shoes showcase. While Austinites may take advantage of this beautiful, daily event, Saro lost himself in the sun’s rays and serenaded the trees. A person who can enjoy this simple delight shall only be rewarded with the best, and Saro secured a pair of wireless Beats By Dre headphones. What a sweet parting gift…

 

…although it isn’t as Austin as the cowboy boots that each member of Knox Hamilton received, and they have the evidence to prove it. I think this makes them honorary Austin citizens, so the next time they return we fully expect them to enter the stage with Nancy Sinatra’s classic playing in the background. That would make for a grand entrance and leave a lasting impression…

 

…and getting to play and party with Matt Vasquez would be an unforgettable memory. Not only that, Hideout were able to play in showcases with some of the land’s most respected guests in PWR BTTM, T-Rextasy, and Melkbelly. Not every party requires one to be on the list. This is Austin after all, where you will find artists of various fame and fortune mingling like old friends. A place where status is usually of little importance…

 

…because everyone – regardless if they’re from England or Nashville, Canada or Australia – is here for the same thing. They’re here to celebrate the gifts they have been granted and that is their musical craft. For one week every March, Austin is the center of music and the place where dreams become realized, redemption is achieved, memories are created, and friendships that will last a lifetime are established. It is for that moment in time where everyone lived happily ever after.

 

Thank you to the forty-five artists and their managers, labels, and publicists for taking us along on their adventure – or shall we say fairy tale. We cannot wait for next year and what stories await us.

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