A very long SXSW 2008 review

I probably caught a few bands here and there that didn’t make this list, but I estimate I caught about 50 bands’ sets, not including those I saw more than once!

A big thanks to Joe and his friend, Jamie, who allowed me to crash in their room, which was in close proximity to all the action. You’ll notice a few names in here, which mostly reference people on the Postcard from Hell list, which can best be described as a music fraternity that allows girls. We’re one big dysfunctional family and it’s absolutely lovely!

Tuesday
I got into Austin just after 3pm and got my luggage right away. had to
wait a bit for the bus, but at $0.50 you can’t beat it. Met one of the
NPR reps since he sat next to me on the plane, talked with some random
guy on the bus. met up with my friends at Residence Inn since they
were already in the room and gotten their badges. got myself together,
got my own room key and headed to dinner at Serrano’s.
it’s always great to meet the faces of postcard, but it’s also
overwhelming for me. I did my best to hold off on the alcohol right
away (which helps all my nervous social situations) since I needed
food. I got there a bit early so I had a few moments before it was too
crazy.
There’s not much more I can say about This is American Music than I’ve
already experienced. seeing all four bands again was incredible and it
didn’t take long for me to be in complete drunken glory!

Wednesday
made sure to get up and check out breakfast in the hotel lobby, I was
a bit hungover but doing fine and planned to do my best to pace myself
for this first official day of sxsw. was baffled by the insanity of
the dream I had the night before. I had a dream that I
woke up and the room was bigger and more guys were staying there and
there were all these weird stuffed animals all over the room. not cute
ones, but odd sea creatures and whatnot. Still in the dream, I asked
the guys what happened and they said ‘oh, Robert Rodriquez was here
and he stopped by and threw all these stuffed animals around the room,
had a few drinks and then left.’ I have no idea where that dream came
from as I couldn’t really tell you what RR looks like. I did get up
early enough for a casual breakfast and since they guys were still
sleeping, I took the macbook with me

around 11:30am the music starts for me:
Brazos, The Bleedin Bleedins, Chris Bathgate, Frightened Rabbit, AA
Bondy, Joseph Arthur
*short break to get wristband taken care of, thanks to Mike (it’s key
to sort out the wristband asap so as not to interrupt your friendly
badge holder’s schedule of music)…rightly on my way to drunken
mayhem. Stop back at hotel as I had to check in on some work things.
Day parties: consumed free beer, free food and water. was totally
taken with Frightened Rabbit.
I did make it to the Guitartown party, I walked down there to Mother
Egan’s and I can’t remember who was on stage when I got there.
but I got there just as the set was ending. I took this time to talk
with Jason, Pemberton, Donna, Chris and a few others. in the 30
minutes I was there, no more music happened so I went back closer to
downtown.

Back out to the venue I’d spend lots of time at: Latitude 30 it helped
that it was within 1.5 blocks of my hotel.
Barker Band, Carlis Star at a different venue (left early, got dinner at hotel restaurant
in less than 20 minutes), Kitty, daisy, & Lewis, Hey Negrita
stuck around the neighborhood to go over to Friends for Centromatic.
left a bit early mainly because I needed to get away for a number of reasons.

thought against trying to see R.E.M. (the horror!!) as I didn’t think I’d get in,
probably could have caught another band before Centro, but decided to stay with the pack.
no troubles all day by just having a wristband.

Thursday
up again for breakfast. I’m amazed at how easily I wake up on time for
a sizable breakfast. I tend to run into Robert and his brother
regularly at breakfast!
get myself together and out the door. went to search for a cab to Jovita’s. turns out one of the valet/door guys at the hotel is willing to drive me. score! I gave him a decent tip since
he was excited about seeing Man Man later and hoping he could see a
bunch of bands without a wristband, etc.

Twangfest day one, I only stayed for TiAM which as you might have seen
my videos was too adorable with the future generation of Champeen,
Calder Lewis.

It was odd having this lineup in the daytime, but it was a lovely day
and other than the shortened sets, was great. I think my word of the
day when asked how I was doing: ‘Fabulous!’ I also think I said on
more than one occasion, “Does a day get any better than this?!”
a bunch of us were heading over to the New West party. Bill gave me
his pass for it since he wasn’t going. Originally, we were all getting
cabs over there, but somehow a bunch of us ended up in the back of
Ned’s pickup.
New West party might have had food but it sure had beer. me, Dewey and
John Boston were up front, there were tons of other postcarders there.
It’s all a blur. Old 97’s and The Drams
was going to try and catch Felice Brothers at 6pm, but ran back to
hotel as I had some work to do again. but only a few minutes of it.

still drunk, but went out to catch Popup at Habana Annex, met up with
a few PCers there.
I had a bunch of bands on my list who were all playing in the area of
Habana Calle 6 including Glossary so I stuck around there for the
evening. Caleb Engstrom, who was ok. Magnolia Summer were great!
Glossary was incredible and as evidenced from pictures, was also
drunken mayhem. I distinctly remember attempting to go buy Dewey a
beer only to be denied by Donny who had a 6 pack of lone star in his
hands along with a few other drinks. I remember the bartender outside
foolishly trying to tell Donny he can only hold 2 drinks at a time.
cleverly avoiding her point, I think Donny said something to the
affect that well he can hold more and in a few seconds the drinks will
be distributed. with a beer in each hand, I stopped and looked at
Micah and showed him my two Lone Stars telling him they were trouble.
I knew it was going to be close to the end for me. I’d been drinking
12 hours at this point. went to see Pink Nasty afterword and the rest
is the biggest blur of the week. I think my plan was to go back to
hotel, lie down for 15 minutes, catch a bit of the 97s set and head
over to The Drams. none of that happened.
clearly, Friday would have to have a better attack plan.

Friday
In some ways, I took it easy on Friday during the day time. I woke up
feeling grand despite Thursday night’s drunken black out. I was up for
breakfast again on the early side and out the door at Noon. ran into my Oppenheimer pals
while crossing the street toward Latitude 30. I had no trouble getting
into the N. Ireland showcase. FREE open bar, FREE food. can’t beat it.
I saw Driving by Night’s set, Oppenheimers, and then In
Case of Fire.
I left there to go over to check out Headhunter’s and see Limbeck. ran into
John Boston which was becoming a regular thing. I really enjoyed the
Limbeck set and will have to give them a second chance. I left to go
back to the Scottish Showcase which I knew would be insanely popular.
there was a line to get in but only because the turnover from the N.
Ireland showcase hadn’t happened yet.

All the Scottish bands on the showcase were on my list. and I liked
them all! Sons & daughters, Frightened Rabbit, Dykeenies, Jyrojets,
Make Model, Our Lunar Activities. once again it was open bar, free
food and good free food. make your own fajitas. I drank up like it was my
job and made sure to grab food as well. made a complete drunken, and
potentially charming fool of myself with the boys. completely
didn’t notice the fact that the guitar player from Popup, was the one
passing out their advance cds. He told me after I told him how the
show was the night before and gave me a hug after revealing who he was.
he said I gave him the most genuine review of them ever. we were drunk
and happy.

even if the Scottish showcase wasn’t running 35 minutes late, I still
would’ve missed Two Cow. I, reluctantly, left Frightened Rabbit (who played last) after a few songs in their set at 6:35pm and rushed over to Headhunters to find Micah and Shane outside.
I wasn’t the only one who missed them, but they went on two bands too
early. apparently, Micah almost missed it too.
was pretty drunk happy by this point, but I hung out and chatted with
everyone for a bit.
left to empty out my purse of what I collected.
back out to catch Chris Mills, then Bobby Bare, Jr.
a quick stop at hotel which was on the way to The Rio, where I caught
Sleepercar, which is Jim Ward’s new band (he was in Sparta)
I decided to indulge in some UK pop for the end of the night. I went
to see Scouting for Girls. Maggie Mae’s rooftop was packed and I had
to wait a few moments to get upstairs, mostly for safety purposes. The
Whip had the Midnight slot and while not quite my cuppa, it was fun to
see the crowd really into it. and even if the sound isn’t your thing,
you can’t help but move to the music. if you don’t, you don’t have an
ounce of music/rhythm in your blood. I moved up for Scouting for
Girls, who I really liked a lot. they were adorable. almost too
precious, I wanted to go pinch the lead singer’s cheeks, but they
put on a great show and were genuinely happy to be playing their first
gig in the US.

Saturday
I decided that this day might be the easiest of them all. started off
with my breakfast again. was out the door first and off to Jovita’s
for Twangfest day two. I didn’t get so lucky with a lift from hotel
staff, so I took a cab. I got there right at Noon-ish and saw every
band on the showcase both inside and out. I was wandering between the
two, made certain to get some food while there even though it took an
hour. Kevin Gordon, The Redwalls, Chuck Prophet, Waco Brothers, Blue
Mountain, Wussy, Tim Easton & The Whipsaws, Tommy Womack, Christian
Kiefer, Jon Hardy and the Public, and Sarah Borges.
after all was said and done, try as I might, I still don’t like Wussy.
I sat and had a beer with Wendy and Terry, then tried to see if I
could find anyone who was heading back downtown. I didn’t and also
didn’t feel like waiting for a cab, so I took the walk from Jovita’s
to East 4th to my hotel as a time to enjoy the weather and go for a
walk. didn’t take too long either.
got myself together and back out the door to catch Oppeheimer at
Emo’s. didn’t get there early enough to chat, but Gerry, their
soundman bought me a beer. left there to head over to Okkervil River.
I happened upon Dewey taking pics of Carver on the street. since my
schedule was lightest on Saturday night and it was the last night of
official SXSW, I decided to try and stay with the pack. well worth it.
I determined that other than being with everyone, it was outside and I
could look at the stars, and Alex was bartending, I don’t really like
Stubb’s as a venue. at this point, a few of us went with Shane to the
Wave to check out One Mississippi. this is why being fluid in your
schedule of things is helpful, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten the
rock! it was incredible despite the venue. got to sit and chat with
Shane and Carver for a bit. then we all left to head over to other
shows. this is where I could have easily gone either to British Sea
Power or Tim Easton. and really, all it had to do with is that I lost
Shane and Carver and managed to stay with Dewey and Donny. I really
need to see BSP again when I am slightly sober and where I can
actually see.

At one point, earlier in the evening, Dewey offered me $100 to get in
a fight. To which I replied that I only fight boys. I almost made good
on that at Maggie Mae’s as I had some assholes trying to get in front
of me when there clearly was no where to go. the one guy made his way
ahead of me and as he was doing so I decided to pour some of my beer
down his back. he didn’t notice. then his friend pushed passed me and I
proceeded to stomp on his foot to the beat of whatever BSP song they
were playing at the time. that guy went back behind me. I left with
three songs left on BSP set only because I had to pee and figured
there was no way I could get up on the stage to the toilets (poor set
up), so I went downstairs and had little to do to convince the doorman
to let me go in to use the toilet. it was past closing time. I met up
with Caleb outside and waited for everyone to get let out of BSP.
In a drunken haze, I talked with Bmike and Heather for a bit, and felt
it was bittersweet that it was over.

Sunday
up and raring to go. I cheated and still got a small free breakfast at
the hotel before brunch. I decided since it was nice out, I’d take the
walk to Opal Devine’s. Tom Herman caught up with me walking. the food
was ok, but it didn’t take long for the alcohol consumption to kick
back in and the margaritas hit the spot. nothing better than having a
buzz on a breezy sunday afternoon amongst friends.
hit waterloo records but for me it was just for browsing.
got my postcards out of the way as a few of us hit the shops.
I went back to the hotel to chill out a bit.
ended up at Texas Chili Parlour for the goodbye dinner.
Ged drove us all back to our hotel areas. I’m not quite sure what went
on in the back of the pickup truck, but I helped to navigate (or not)
in the cab. luckily, traffic was nonexistent on sunday evening as we
were going the wrong way down a one way street.
We dropped off the boys at Hilton Garden Inn but I was ready for another
night out. Not sure I could’ve handled the Continental Club and
probably wouldn’t have been able to get in, but Joe C. and I walked
around Red River and up 6th street. it seems all sunday night is
metal, hip hop or cover bands. we ended up at Latitude 30, I grabbed a
last beer and we watched Our Lunar Activities who were clearly
bittersweet about leaving Austin and full of drink and happy memories
of the week.

and Monday wasn’t so successful at finding something to do that didn’t
involve long lines for st. patrick’s day. that’s ok, I don’t need a
holiday to tell me when to drink or that my family once came from
Ireland. I got an extra night in Austin since I gave up my seat on my original flight. Not sure if I was supposed to go back downtown, but the airline gave me a voucher for a room at Marriott Courtyard. How was I supposed to know there’s like 5 of them in Austin?!
No matter, the downtown staff were great and gave me a primo room. I was exhausted.
I took the afternoon to do laundry (the coin machines were cheaper than the ones in my apartment) and sit in the hot tub at the hotel. I wandered around downtown a bit, but didn’t really bother with the pubs.

all in all, it was a fantastic week. the sched.org print out was most helpful. I missed a
few bands I wanted to see, but try as I might, I can’t see everything.
chasing boys with guitars is hard work. I’m definitely planning on going next year, and I’ve a free round trip plane ticket to use if need be.

to make this longer, here’s a quick rundown of bands I saw (relatively
in order, some twice or more):
Two Cow Garage
Glossary
Grand Champeen
The Drams
Brazo’s
Bleedin Bleedins
Chris Bathgate
Frightened Rabbit
AA Bondy
Joseph Arthur
Barker Band
Carlis Star
Kitty, Daisy, & Lewis
Hey Negrita
Centromatic

Two Cow Garage
The Drams
Glossary
Grand Champeen
Old 97’s
The Drams
Popup
Caleb Engstrom
Magnolia Summer
Glossary
Pink Nasty

Driving By Night
Oppenheimer
In Case of Fire
Limbeck
Our Lunar Activities
Jyrojets
Make Model
Dykeenies
Sons & Daughters
Frightened Rabbit
Chris Mills
Bobby Bare, Jr.
Sleepercar
The Whip (just a few songs)
Scouting for Girls

The Whipsaws
Kevin Gordon
The Redwalls
Chuck Prophet
Waco Brothers
Blue Mountain
Wussy
Tim Easton & The Whipsaws
Tommy Womack
Christian Kiefer
Jon Hardy and the Public
Sarah Borges
Oppenheimer
Okkervil River
One Mississippi
British Sea Power

Our Lunar Activities

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