Wish I Was in Austin Coverage SXSW Recap

Wish I Was in Austin Coverage SXSW Recap

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It’s been one week since SXSW ended, where’s the recap for Friday and Saturday of SXSW Music? What happened?

What happened is that Friday we lived like Kings. We party hopped, we took pictures of people’s bad fashion designs, we imbibed more Red Bull than could possibly be healthy. We had so much fun that the collective hearts and minds of Chicagoans not at SXSW and jealous of us lobbied from a distance for our waning immune systems to be struck down for our intemperance. Your voodoo worked; Saturday was met not with a hangover but a 104 fever. The next four days were a shivery and delirious haze of sweat and fever dreams (In my hallucinations I wrote a children’s book detailing the story of my cartoonish immune system fighting off the evil corporate flu bug) brought on by the dreaded sxSARS or SXscurvy (whatever you call it). For those unfamiliar with affliction, it’s kind of like a super bug created from the the combination of a) being around too many people, b) improper bathing habits during sxsw, c) putting a humongous toll on your body.

Enough about sweat angels, don’t you want to know what brought us to this point? Then read on…

The beginning of Friday was lost to actual work and writing including some of the final SXSW posts. Our first stop was to the Austin coworking space, Conjuntured, where we got a tour and immediately shunned work for the beginning of party hopping which at that point we were late for considering it was almost 4pm. The first party was thrown by Music Heals, a non-profit record label and health care group, held at Ace’s Lounge and featuring members of Swisha House. From there we headed to the Pitchfork/Windish Party where we ran into several hipsters from Houston, took some pictures of things worse than skinny jeans and received free booze from the rep for Starr Hill Brewery just because he eavesdropped on our conversation about how pretty the bottles are. We left the party right after Department of Eagles continued to rock the audience by playing a *gasp* Grateful Dead cover.

We raced back to Conjunctured to pick up more partygoers to hit the Fader Fort but not before getting electrocuted twice on a revolver-shaped lighter at one of the convenience stores on 6th St. The woman behind the register refused to believe the lighter was defective or touch it and simply pushed it back into the sale bin with another lighter, ready for another unsuspecting customer. Classy. At the Fader Fort we caught the Super Band that sounds like it played your 80’s prom, Tinted Windows, made up of James Iha, Taylor Hanson, Adam Schleslinger (Fountains of Wayne), and Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick). The Fader Fort ended that night with Peter, Bjorn and John playing mostly new tracks to a packed house and waiting until the encore to break out you-know-which-track-I-mean. After that we wandered around East Austin and on our fourth try found a working ATM and on our fifth try found a taco truck.

With only two more parties left for Friday night, we jetted over to the IndieHouston.org party in time to just catch the last song by Tambersauro. As that party shut down around us and we kept demanding double vodka red bulls we talked to the other members of the rotating crew from Tambersauro/Golden Cities/Warblerpl about the new Martin Atkins Touring textbook:‚ Tour Smart.

The final party of the night was the “exclusive” Red Bull Moon Tower, running every night from 10:30pm til 4:00am. The exclusivity was backed up by a required pre-registration including both name and affiliation. We arrived at the undisclosed location to multiple lines with laptops and excel files for checking names. Tony Bacigalupo‘s name was not to be found anywhere on the list (Jazz Hands! Surprise!) but they wouldn’t budge an inch. No sweet talking him in, no bribes, no leniency. He was out of luck and destined to pace the parking lot until Grace and I finished having fun in what surely would be the best party at SXSW that year. Grace went into the party and waited for us while Tony and I walked to the parking lot and jumped a fence to sneak in unnoticed behind one of the bars. Success! We found the party to be well lit, full of Red Bull and mixers, including a photobooth and accompanied projection onto the outside walls and the best part: a giant outside stage with terrible bands playing: Twin Atlantic and Sons of Albion. They were disruptive, overly loud, embarrassingly emotive and too many of the members suffered from “guitar face” which is a look similar to “bitter beer face.” There was no beat to shake your hips to, something that might have been important to consider at, say, 3am when people could use some sort of psychological pick-me-up to match the chemical upper of the Red Bull.‚ At some point the bands began to annoy us so much that we decided to leave the party but not be seen leaving such a lame and tasteless concert so the three of us left like ninjas, walking behind the bar and hopping over the hidden fence directly into the parking lot. That and we decided this would suffice for our daily exercise regime.

Saturday was exactly 2 hours long. Hour 1:‚ up at 9am to meet Jim DeRogatis, Greg Kot and the winners of the Sound Opinions contest for breakfast. Hour 2: breakfast, the discovery of a full on-case of what seemed like the flu, including the aforementioned 104 degree fever and the immediate return to bed for the day.‚ Shivering increased in intensity with the knowledge that I missed Kanye’s “secret” performance at the Fader Fort, The Breeders headlining the Mess With Texas 2 Party, and Robyn’s “secret” performance at the Perez Hilton party.


As for some grand “what does it all mean” recap of the entire SXSW, from Interactive/Film through Music? That’s not going to be possible considering I sweat out the wealth of knowledge taken in over the course of a week. All that’s left of SXSW is the schwag (buttons, poker chips, luggage tags, matchbooks, sunglasses, two-sizes-too-big-t-shirts, and the stickers) and a list of services and bands to check out over the next year. That and a slideshow created by Grace Rodriguez demonstrating that there are far worse things than skinny jeans out there, my friends.

Thanks for the opportunity to give you a play by play of 2009’s SXSW. Here’s a personal list of the products or services that were essential to SXSW this year or that you should check out over the next year to improve productivity, connectivity with your friends or to help you tell your story:

  • Eye-Fi, 4GB wireless memory cards that automatically upload videos and photos to YouTube and Flickr
  • Nutshell Mail, Bypass your corporate firewall and access all your email and social network messages through your email inbox
  • sched.org, essential this year for planning the attack
  • ArtistData.com, aggregator and distributor for managing your online presence if you are a musical artist
  • NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision, makes any game 3D if you have the NVIDIA GeForce chip and the glasses

Here’s a list of bands that were impressive or received enough press that they should be checked out personally to form your own opinions: