While Wendy is recounting her experiences at SXSW, like at Hype Hotel and then checking out some cool bands, we’ve also asked some artists and bands who were at SXSW to share with us their most memorable moments, experiences, interactions, what have you. We’ll be doing this again tomorrow, so keep an eye out. As always, this is in random, alphabetical order. Eight artists today!!!
1. The awesome house show vibes at our 720 Club Patio Showcase (see photo). We were a little worried all 6 of us wouldn’t fit on the stage and that one of us might lose an eye from a swinging guitar neck or falling mic stand, but we all got high off the challenge and ended up having one of our most energetic shows of the tour! Thanks to the 50 or so festival goers who crammed into this bedroom size venue! (Charlie and his guitar did spent about half the set out with the audience.)
2. Watching a tipsy Angel Olsen walk out to soundcheck at Mohawk, say fuck it, and simply crush. Easily one of the best sets of the weekend!
3. And then we saw The Zombies. Yah, that’s right. The Zombies! “This Will Be Our Year” live in our ears was collectively a bucket-list check mark and favorite SXSW moment.
Bogan Via (US)
Number 1 had to be seeing our manager, Jeremiah, ride the mechanical bull at The Trophy Club. He actually did very well and stayed on long enough to get a second free ride. I, of course, missed every opportunity to take photos or videos, but I think I was just too impressed!
Number 2 was rocking our showcase Friday night. Rocked a little too hard and blew out some speakers…
Number 3 was getting to meet one of the owners of Arts and Crafts Records! (Canadian shout-out!) Such a fan of so many great bands on the label.
The Districts (US)
1. Seeing Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders was really dope!
2. Not having to drive around with our trailer was really nice. We were able to leave it at the house we were staying at.
3. The house we rented was awesome. It was outside the city and cheap! It also had a pool, which was cool!
Freedom Fry (France & US)
Bruce: We made ‘Freedom Fry’ egg shakers that we handed out before our song “Shaky Ground” at each of the shows. Each time that was my favorite moment in the set. Just seeing the audience all smiles, playing along and dancing was the best feeling.
Marie: I was happy to see so many French speaking artists dominating Austin. The set from Stromae at Stubb’s was a huge highlight for me. Bruce dropped and shattered his phone trying to film his dance moves. Christine and the Queens’ set and dancing were quite on point as well.
Jonny: Being a Texas native, it was great to come back and perform in front of some familiar faces that haven’t got a chance to catch a Freedom Fry set in all its glory. That in addition to it being my first official SXSW run made for a pretty special experience overall.
Mexican Slang (Canada)
1. Meeting Dave Vanian of The Damned.
2. Seeing Sheer Mag for the millionth time.
3. Mike Wallace is hot!
(We think Annabelle is referring to the drummer of Viet Cong, not the wide receiver.)
Milk & Bone (Canada)
1. Our first favorite moment at SXSW is actually a business meeting, as funny as that can sound. We met the dude in some restaurant, and he ordered a Moscow Mule. It all started from there. Soon enough, we were having plenty of what became our new favorite drink, went on to buy a bottle of whiskey, went back to a hotel, drank the bottle while singing the American national anthem, did our favorite Sam Smith song a capella, and finally ended up at Hype Hotel for a Rae Sremmurd show. Best. Meeting. Ever!
2. Meeting people was awesome. Funny enough, turns out we met a lot of people from back home, whom we didn’t know before. For example, our new buddy Shash’U lives a few metro stations away from us in Montreal, but we had to go all the way to Austin, Texas to meet him. We also met up with friends like music producer Deebs (whose show absolutely blew our minds) and his manager Roland. Always nice to see familiar faces!
3. And last but not least, walking in the rain in order to find a record shop. On our only “day off”, we decided to go shopping for records with our friend Guillaume. He had heard of a place called End of an Ear. But then it started pouring. And it did not stop. And Laurence has very high maintenance bangs. So that was dramatic. But after walking for a solid half hour, running into Elijah Wood, and ending up completely soaked, we finally made it to the much talked about record shop. And so we bought records. And then we were happy.
San Fermin (US)
1. Playing with Spoon at Hype Hotel. The energy in the room was electric, right from the beginning of the night, even though they didn’t play until after 1 am. Austin loves that band! They’re awesome!
2. Torchy’s Tacos (three times!). The band is obsessed with Torchy’s. We have a large band (8 people plus a front-of-house), and it’s one of the few places we can all agree on. I get the Trailer Park trashy with queso. Heaven!
3. Our last day at the festival was absurd. We played three shows (at Scoot Inn, Central Presbyterian Church, and The Gatsby), met Bill Murray (who was at our last show and was exactly as cool in person as you would have hoped) and then drove overnight to Dallas to catch a 7 am plane. After that, I’m pretty sure I blacked out!
Troupe from SPEAK (US)
1. The Saturday before SXSW properly began, our friends Penguin Prison were playing a private, Interactive party, so we decided to get our feet wet and head downtown to brave the chaos after rehearsal. The show sounded surprisingly good considering it took place in an office building. We were having a great time — that is, until a guy rushed into the bathroom we were waiting in and started stuffing cash into our hands. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people stuffing cash in my hands, but a bathroom wouldn’t be my ideal location for a transaction of that kind. Thankfully it turned out the guy was just trying to skip the line because he had to go real bad, so we tried to give him his money back because it’s just common courtesy when someone is suffering like that. He really, honestly would not take it back though, so we had no choice but accept his cash as it messily cascaded onto the floor and he rushed into a stall. Turned out it was close to $15 in one dollar bills. I tipped well all week long!
2. Later that night, I was saying goodbye to a friend who I thought was only in town Saturday. He asked what my schedule was for the rest of the week.
“Drinking 12 hours a day and sleeping 4 with a mild anxiety attack thrown in there somewhere. Why do you ask?”
Turns out, he would be coming back in Tuesday to mix The Ting Tings! If you were making indie rock music in 2008, you could not avoid “That’s Not My Name” nor would you want to, so needless to say I was pretty pumped. Fast forward to the end of the week — we actually managed to catch a show! And The Ting Tings actually got a crowd to go CRAZY during SXSW. A truly Herculean task! And then to top it off, we ended up having a drink after the show and talking about MIDI foot pedals and the rush of triggering everything live rather than relying on tracks. Very, very cool to discover people who’ve inspired you are also musically kindred spirits — those kinds of conversations are my favorite thing about SXSW.
3. Another kindred spirit we met during SXSW is Max Frost — someone we’ve been tweeting with for ages but never actually connected with in person until now. I personally managed to catch four of his thirteen shows, and I declare him the Iron Man of SXSW. For the record, I heard him say something to effect of “I’m so tired and my voice is busted, please bear with me” at every show and never once did he sound anything other than amazing. So that was actually pretty heartening — we’re all our own worst critics and it’s nice to be reminded of that.
In the end, we actually played our final shows of the fest together along with buds The Black and the White. Never has a green room been so revelatory and so mellow. The end of SXSW is less “now let the party begin!” and more “can all parties, forever, end?”. The attached photo is a perfect summary of that day:
– The end is in sight and I am giddy with the knowledge that my voice held up through the week. I’m slamming bottles of water and have a banana in front of me.
– Max is, while technically still alive, basically dead.
– Julio from The Black and the White can finally have a drink (his voice gave out before SXSW, so he’s been on a strict routine until their final show which occurred right before this picture was taken).
I’m proud of all three of us!
We mustered the stamina to go out later that night and saw friends Big Data, Alex Winston, MS MR, and The Knocks with a little Mini Mansions and Marina and the Diamonds thrown in. Everybody killed it even though we were in the final hours of the final day of the festival. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more inspired or musically fulfilled. Can’t wait for 2016!
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