In this edition of the Memories of SXSW ’16, we have our first Bill Murray sighting, the movie-like escapades of a young band, some Panda-headed men, a “life-and-death” situation, and a band who found a little solace with friends. This might be the wildest of collection of memories of the bunch.
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To perform at SXSW was something I’ve always wanted to do. To have my first time performing and have multiple shows each day is a blessing. Everyone was positive and receptive to my sound, and the sound was great on all of the stages. Kudos to the staff. For me, performing at Emo’s and performing a private showcase for Randy Jackson were definitely two highlights I will never forget!!
Julia Jacklin (Australia)
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Played at a student co-op house party for Transgressive Records. Immediately didn’t feel cool enough, but forgot about it as the night went on. Large pool, free beer, one toilet for 300 people, someone crying during my song “LA Dream”, lost first item of gear of the festival, saw Blaenavon (new favourite band), peed in an alley behind a bin. Ran to see Erykah Badu after. It was the wrong night, ate tacos, went home.
3 AM sitting in front of a coffee shop with gear, eating 7/11 pretzels, stealing their WiFi, waiting for the 6x Uber surge pricing to go down so we could go home. Band morale low. Tom’s fault because he wanted dark chocolate before bed and we spent ages finding it.
Host with the most
We were lucky to be hosted by the most hospitable man in Austin, Stephen Gray. A friend of a friend who picked us up from the airport in a borrowed Limo with a dog riding in the backseat, drove us around in his pick up and tropical fish delivery van, took us and all our gear in and out of the festival when he could, bought us buttery nipples, took us to Texan BBQ, gave up his bed, took us to eat tacos where Obama ate tacos, took us to a rope swing and showed us how it’s done. We can’t wait to visit him again!
Negative Gemini (USA)
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1. I saw Bill Murray for half a second at a party!
2. We had left our Hype Hotel showcase to put all of our gear in a hotel room, but I insisted we go back to see Charli XCX and Sophie’s set. We made it back and somehow the door people let us back in, and we got to watch from backstage. It was the coolest thing I think I’ve ever seen.
Photo by Jesse DeFlorio
1. Seeing a bunch of rambunctious, overweight, Panda-headed men storm the stage during Desiigner’s set on Friday night really seemed to sum up the mood. They had a lot of presence and gristle. It was surreal, and obscene, and really seemed to get us all going. Or maybe we were just enjoying the tequila.
2. Immediately after that, we hit a “college frat party”. This was just like a movie – among a wealth of movie-like experiences in America. Red cups, very enthusiastic revelry, a pool, and a punk band, all of it bordering on the bodacious. It was almost fictional!
3. Then we had an amazing Texan time at C-boys on South Congress. Some kindly locals patiently taught us to play shuffle board, which we all loved and were all rubbish at except Isabel. And then we heard a very muscular man in a dress and a ten-gallon hat shred the hell out of a telecaster with a ridiculously tight blues band.
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1. Making a music video for our single “Chandelier” with Joe Salinas and Karan Kapoor at local haunt Barflys. Jessi Pagel Diaz worked her makeup magic on all of us. We had to practice performing the song at half-speed and at double-speed, so it was a fun, mind-warping game! And I got to dance around in a sparkly dress! There are few things I love more than sparkly dresses and dive bars. We couldn’t have worked with better folks. It’s so nice to trust another artist’s vision and have fun in front of a camera.
2. TYSON’S TACOS! Eat all of their tacos. The vibe reminds me of the Austin I fell in love with.
3. Making a backyard fire with our friends Garner Sloan, Chris Porter, John Calvin Abney (all great songwriters) and their sweet puppy Loretta. Sipping Tito’s, making up songs, and telling stories until the sun came up – no better way to end the SXSW festivities far from the maddening crowd.
Trevor Sensor (USA)
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On my third day in Austin, my manager and I decided to hit up a cigar shop on 6th street to get our lips on something that would kill us. Everything was crowded – bodies of the unemployed lounged among the sidewalks, clusters of people walked past with apathy, and music filled the air with different sounds clashing into one another begging for your attention. The cigar shop was a place of solitude from all this. We picked out a table and snagged some coffee-flavored cigars to puff on and discussed the virtues of Ben Affleck’s acting career – only moments later did it happen.
We heard a gun shot from outside, but it was only when we saw people running down the street like cattle did we leap up and run to the back of the shop. Cigar still daggling from my mouth, I puffed furiously as people flooded inside. A rapper and his bodyguard came flying in. The bodyguard stood in the doorway and repeatedly told people to “get back” and “stay inside.” We waited there in silence, collectively imagining our deaths by the bullet and making deals with God now that it suited us. After a moment I realized that, if the shooter did come in trigger-happy, we’d be screwed because there seemed to be no backdoor to the place. I thought about how disappointed my mother would be if I died like this. Texas officers strolled down the street calm, acting as if nothing had happened and that they were just going to check out a noise complaint. Turns out someone wanted to prove their manhood by firing off a pistol into the air, so no one was killed. We left as soon as it seemed safe to walk among the streets. This was not a life-changing event for me; in fact, it doesn’t seem like it really happened at all. The only thing I was aware of was the headache I had from huffing down a whole cigar in ten minutes, and my need for a really stiff drink.
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Photo by Huw Stephens of BBC (yes, the Huw Stephens)
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