At least once in the past week you’ve read who magazines, websites, radio stations, and music “experts” thought were the best acts at South by Southwest (SXSW). We even shared our views with Wendy providing a recap of the nine acts that impressed her and Gabe sharing some great photos.
But what did the artists and bands think about the whole experience? Was SXSW as thrilling for them as it was the fans and journalists? Was it the music, food, celebrities, people, or something unexpected that they’ll remember the most? Today we commence the second annual SXSW Memories – Artist Edition to share bands and individual musicians’ most memorable moments from the five, non-stop days of music.
As we have more than fifty (50) acts, we will be sharing two articles a day for a total of ten by the end of the week. We’ll also have one specific to podcasters who attended the festival and will offer different insights.
Avec Sans (UK)
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We’d tried and failed to see Jack Garratt twice due to packed out venues. Then on the day of our International Stage gig, we wandered into the room next door before our stage time and couldn’t believe our luck – Jack was setting up to a massive room! We got down to the front and got to see his set up-close and in as intimate a setting as I suspect we’ll ever get to see him in. The guys from Snapchat recognised us there, so we reported on the gig for their SXSW Snapchat feed. A really perfect, unplanned SXSW moment. That’s our massive faces from the Snapchat feed.
We got to see way more of Austin that we could have hoped for. We saw the millions of bats leave from under Congress Bridge at sunset; we made it out to the incredible Hamilton Pool; and we were based slightly out of the city, mainly die to finances being tight, but our AirBnB ended up being so beautiful. It was so nice to be implanted in a neighbourhood for the week. We met all the neighbours, and every morning we sat on the front porch soaking in the sun – two things we never experience in England. We tweeted at AirBnB that it was perfect, and they actually turned up on our doorstep about an hour later with a 6-pack of craft beers and a whole goodie bag of stuff.
Starting a Dance Craze
We had some great crew along for the ride and every day was a party. Our tech guy Monkey taught us as special dance called the “Squak-tuh-puss”: the kind of dance an octopus would do. Here’s a pretty solid moment when the security guards at the Santigold gig decided to get involved. You can witness said dance here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BDIDE3IBg0U/?taken-by=avecsans&hl=en
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Our 3 highlights would be:
1. Playing in the sunset on the Nordic Lighthouse when my guitar broke just before the gig. A very kind man lent me his guitar, which was in fact right-handed and I’m a lefty! But I just played the gig on a right-handed guitar and it went great! After that, the sound guy on that gig just sent me to his workshop, where some really lovely guys fixed my guitar in 5 minutes!
2. Playing at Esther’s Follies – The. Coolest. Venue. Ever!
3. Eating at Chuwy’s, best Tex Mex ever!
Drawing North (Australia)
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Whilst having your first SXSW experience you can sure bet there are going to be some memorable moments….SXSW lived up to the hype!
FOOD and so much of it… Deep fried, slow cooked, flame grilled, we had it all. My personal favourite was a deep fried New York-style egg roll. Judge all you want, but I’ve never had anything taste better.
As far as music goes… I’ve never seen so many shows in such a small amount of time. Couple standouts would be X Ambassadors & Magic! Totally unreal performances.
In terms of our own shows, we had an absolute ball! A big shout out to Anacrusis publishing for putting on a hell of a showcase on St. Patty’s day. We were stoked to be part of it!
Aside from all the great music, food & surplus of alcohol, SXSW was made memorable by the people we shared it with, and our U.S team really make it easy for us to do what we love over in the states.
In return, we frequently like to introduce our American friends to an Australian drinking song. It basically involves someone having to chug a beer whilst everyone around them chants. We even pulled it out at one of our shows to an unsuspecting audience member…always be prepared to down your drink at a Drawing North show!
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This entire trip to SXSW gave me so many memories to look back on. We played a 1PM time slot on Friday at the Beautiful Buzz showcase, and during my set I looked out and saw a girl mouthing the lyrics to “Do You Go Up”. This was a surreal moment. It’s amazing how far good music can travel with the opportunities provided by things like Spotify or SoundCloud.
I feel honored that I get to travel with my team to go play and talk about the music I made in my bedroom over a year ago.
During SXSW, we got the chance to team up with Music Is Our Weapon. MIOW is an incredible organization out of Dallas who help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s curate their own playlists on music devices, so that they can carry around a familiar item with them, such as the music they select.
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SXSW has become the centerpiece of the merging of music, film, and interactive technology. What better way to celebrate this then attending the JJ Abrams/Bad Robot led 4K restoration of my favorite film, Phantasm. The well-known Austin institution, The Alamo Drafthouse, was the venue for the screening and only added to the awesomeness of the evening. Bad Robot and Don Coscarelli worked on the restoration during lulls between Star Wars and Star Trek and the movie has never looked or sounded better.
Facebook Austin Live-Stream Performance
We had the special opportunity to play live at Facebook Austin and we live-streamed our performance. We opted to do an acoustic rendition of the title track from our 2011 record, “States”. [View the video over here].
Smartpunk/Cyber Tracks Showcase
We played the Smartpunk/Cyber Tracks showcase at the Des Moines Embassy on Friday, and it was one for the books. We played with a ton of great bands and left the embassy with a bunch of new friends. Texas has always been a Protagonist stronghold and one of our favorite places to play, so it was definitely a highlight getting to see a bunch of our friends from all over the state. We hope to do it all again next year!
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