Earlier today we shared the first part of our Memories of SXSW ’16 series, which you can read over here. For this afternoon, we have six great stories by Blankus Larry, Great American Canyon Band, LA Witch, Mainland, Sound of Ceres, and Twin River. Read their stories, view their photographs, and listen to some of their music all at the same time.
Durdee Larry of Blankus Larry (USA)
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We absolutely love Austin and the intense energy everywhere you go during SXSW. It felt like we were snorkeling down the sidewalks with so much to trip out to day and night… so much going on, freaky people, great music, good vibes, food, and beer! Our highlight was playing Austin DO512’s Strange Brew 5 party at Hotel Vegas/Hotel Hot Burrito. We had the privilege and pleasure of meeting Larry from DO512 and had the best time with him, his Pops, Pops Larry, and their killer crew including Kelli, Marshall, and Jackson and everyone else… all of whom we consider as family to us now! They put together such a great party, made us feel so at home, and we were humbled to be invited to play with so many vicious acts!
We also had a blast catching sets of bands that we love like White Reaper, Tacocat, Glitter Wizard, Car Seat Headrest, Slothrust, Yuck, and so many more. We made a lot of friends while handing out hundreds of Problemo cassettes and Larry stickers, and cards with links to free downloads of our new record. We had fun hanging out with folks at the Leafly tent and making friends there as well. They’re doing great work for a great cause.
After the party, we found a really cool bar behind a bookcase in a youth hostel and met some lovely folks there and had great beer and times in that rabbit hole as well! After that, we were going to cliff jump at Barton Springs again because that’s so much fun. But in typical Problemo fashion, I had one of my stomach attacks late night ’cause I couldn’t find weed in Texas. We had to bolt back to the hotel fear-and-loathing style. After a hellride in the hotel all night, I pulled it together after wicked stomach exorcisms and deep meditations for a strong set the next day for EIPR’s Shaken Not Stirred Showcase at Darwin’s and doing it all over again! We met so many great people, rocked out real hard, and I just hope folks actually have tape players to check out our new cassette!
Above photo by Rick Radcliffe for DO512. First photo by Dan Mitchell.
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Praying For Rain
The first day we arrived in Austin to play SXSW, it was stifling hot. We parked our van next to an open field near the Shangri-La, where we performed our first showcase. In the center of the field was a single tree. Praying beside the tree was a man with a beautiful voice, motioning to the sky and singing praise and cathartic verses. He would circle the tree with hands extended toward the sun. We assumed since it was early morning and the sun was high, that it was an hour of prayer for him. We watched briefly, then headed to our showcase. After playing our set, we headed back to the field to re-pack the van, and as we approached the field a steady rain began to fall. The man was still there, praying with conviction under this mounting storm – nearly 5 hours had passed since we last saw him and only he remained. We couldn’t help but wonder if he had brought the rain, as he seemed so pleased to have it shower down upon us all.
Playing Into The Great Abyss
We attempt to make our live sound an expansive sonic experience. We see our recordings and our live show as the same but separate expressions of our music. When we play live, the songs can take on an entirely different life, as they are able to stretch and expand within the various places we play them. We’ve played in a lot of unique spaces but nothing has quite compared to the Omni Hotel Austin. To play in a glass structure with a ceiling rising nearly twenty stories above us was the first time we were able to hear our music in a space that complemented our sound so perfectly. The natural reverb of the space was un-parelled. Each note lasting well into the next with such fluidity and power we couldn’t help but be humbled. It’s not often that you get the chance to sing into the great abyss, hearing your voices rise to meet the peak. Truly memorable.
All Roads Lead to Home
I can’t tell you how many times we’d meet a new fan or play with a band that was in some way connected to our hometown of Baltimore. It’s incredible to travel the expanse of the country and revel in how varied it is, yet at the same time, connecting all the dots of our shared experiences. There’s always hints of home wherever life takes you, and it’s such an amazing experience to be able to meet new audiences. This year, there were instances at our SXSW shows where fans sung along with us to every note of our songs, and that’s what carries us on. Seeing how our music can be waiting for us and have found a home so far from our own.
L.A. Witch (USA)
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Playing Hotel Vegas was really fun. There were 3 stages, and I enjoyed walking around from stage to stage and seeing different types of bands on each one.
Getting to hang and see our friends’ bands outside of L.A., in Austin, was my favorite part.
My least favorite part was catching the flu 2 days in and having to play 3 more shows. The best part was playing on a boat for the first time!
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1. Halfway through SXSW, Corey found a guitar listed on Craigslist. Without thinking twice, he hopped in an Uber car and bought the vintage Rickenbacker!
2. We had some free time Friday night and stopped at Empire for the Neon Gold showcase. There were great vibes, and it was rad hanging with our bros DREAMERS and POP ETC + plus new friend Declan McKenna.
3. The last showcase we played was at the Sidewinder for Burning Ear. It had been a long week and we were all exhausted, but it was a killer set. The room was packed, and everyone was there to have a great time.
Sound of Ceres (USA)
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1. Meeting Robin Hilton of NPR at our Official SXSW showcase at Tellers on Friday night!
2. Seeing our best friends Advance Base, Coco Rosie, and Yonatan Gat shred the stage.
3. Eating endless tacos.
Twin River (Canada)
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1. After our set at Friends on Saturday night, we were loading out and heard a group of screaming people coming down the block towards us. I looked up and locked eyes with Waka Flocka as he ran past. I’m pretty sure we had a moment!
2. Seeing Lavender Country was wonderfully inspiring and incredibly emotional. Everyone should take a day to become familiar with his music and his mission. A true gem.
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