I went to SXSW…but then you probably know that already.
I went to SXSW for the very first time. Didn’t know that? Now you do.
I went to SXSW badge and wristband-free.
I went to SXSW sick as a dog.
I went to SXSW and had an experience of a lifetime.
More often than not I’ve got music on my brain. No, I’m not a musician or performer and have absolutely no musical skills to speak of other than my love for it…if that can be considered a skill. And if it is, then millions of us (and you reading this) are just as skilled. I’m glad for that because it means that we have something of great importance in common. Perhaps we can be friends.
Anyhoo, depending upon whom you ask I did my first venture to SXSW all wrong. Ass-backwards, even. Theoretically SXSW is the music fan’s ultimate and extreme wet dream as it lays at your eager ears and feet the opportunity to dig into hundreds of new bands/artists on any given day for five days. Pick a venue, stay there and see what hits the stages or map out a very precise (but ultimately impossible to stick to) schedule and get your musical treasure hunt on as it’s all about discovery. Yes, I saw and heard a good deal of new music that has registered and made an impact, but I spent a great deal of time seeing several bands/friends that I love (repeatedly) who I could see just about any time I wanted to back home in LA.
Why, you ask? Because for some of those bands/friends, it was their first SXSW and I wanted to be there (repeatedly) for them: in their face with showing support. Some of those bands/friends had been to SXSW before but it was my first time seeing them there and that was important to me as their fan. Some it was a combination of both. And one other thing was important to me: seeing how strangers reacted to them…and then talking to those people about how amazing the music was, as my interest in them is very personal. Yes, I’m a music cheerleader minus the pom poms.
I went with friends; some who were SXSW virgins like myself, some who were 10+ year veterans who were guides from the SXSW Gods. They knew what to do, where to do it, and when which made a potentially overwhelming adventure quite awesome. I went to see and support showcases put on and worked by people/venues whom I care for and frequently support in LA with my time and hard-earned money (The Force Agency, The Roxy, The Viper Room, Antiquiet, Axis of Audio, Supergoodmusic). Not surprisingly I found a lot of pleasure in that because I know how important it was and how hard these people have worked to make these events a success for their companies, but also for the fans and the bands.
By the end of the first day I could see why so many music fans are repeat offenders at SXSW: Austin is a beautiful city, the food does not suck, and the experience is like a sensory IV. Yes, by the 3rd day, everything from the knees below had a distinct and continual ache from the miles of walking and stranding/dancing done, but hell if that was going to hinder the good times yet to come.
The Week That Was SXSW…Part 2- The Bands