South by Southwest: Day 1

Austin Travel Blog

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CoonDog, SLo, Bdoe, DLowe, and MLowe + free Coors Light and Blue Moon beers = smiles all around.
My first day of South by Soutwest 2008!  The original plan, if I recall correctly, was to try to get in to as many free shows as possible, but today we were to attempt to get into Motorhead at Stubbs BBQ's Waller Creek Ampitheater.  Unfortunately, we had not planned on finding a line, 5 people wide and wrapped a mile around the block to the freeway.  OK, so we'll hit some other shows and try to get in later.  Oh, alcohol!  Free Southern Comfort decided to have a say in the rest of our day. 

Our old friend Steven Lopez (SLo) was in town from NYC, so I called him up because I knew he would be one of the faithful show-goers out on the beat at the early hours of the first full day of the music portion of the festival.  South by Southwest (SxSW or just Sx if you frequent it) is a film and music fest, and the tunes don't kick off until Wednesday night.
Clipse at Mohawk's day party.
  "No go on the Motorhead show?  I'll meet you at Volume...wait...where is that exactly?"  Funny thing about SxSW for me is that even though I'm born and raised in Austin, this festival always makes me feel like a bit of a tourist, because so many different venues are used that I've never even heard of before.  Places that used to be booty-music dance clubs get turned into live music venues.  Joints that were just beer bars or karaoke bars are featured venues.  Stages pop up where there used to only be a little park tucked in between buildings.  Sx is a one-of-a-kind experience.  Nowhere else will you have opportunity to see sooooo many bands from sooooo many different countries in a few short days.
My new friends Kai and Dave.
  I mean bands that you've never heard of that will someday be superstars, and some bands that you will never hear of again.  Other bands are already huge hits and have been on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine playing tiny little intimate sets with only 100 people in the audience.  Not only that, but musicians just show up out of the blue and sit in with one of their favorite bands for a song or three and just blow the doors off of the place and leave you with one of your most memorable musical experiences you have ever opportuned to partake.

Needless to say, I found BDoe and SLo at Volume, after having gathered a drink or three, and got myself in good position for a couple of sets of Nada Surf and Destroyer, both of whom I'd heard of, but couldn't name a song.
Spoon and the Austin skyline.
  They both rocked it, in a bit of a semi-acoustic pair of sets, and impressed me well.  The crowd was enthralled, and sang along as true fanatics would.

Next, we tried to stop by and get a reckoning of the state of the Motorhead line.  No change.  Gah!  Sux.

So, we headed across the street to Mohawk's for a bunch of bands that I was completely unfamiliar with.  Sons and Daughters were cool, with some crazy outfits and a punk-a-billy meets B-52s kind of vibe.  Then we hipped and hopped to some Clipse.  I caught up with my softball teammate Dave, and his friend Kai at this point.  We also found DLowe and his wife Michelle and Dr. Bean, and we all partook in some free Coors Light and Blue Moon Pale Ale.

After that show, BDoe had to go to work at KLBJ FM, and I took a break with Dave and Kai at Side Bar where we had some tall boys and rested our weary feet.
Myself, Kirsten, and Bdoe at My Morning Jacket.
  What to do next?  Well, Spoon was playing a free show at Auditorium Shores on the shore of Town Lake aka Lady Bird Lake.  Free you say?  Yes, not only free, but open to all the public.  Wrist-banders and badge-bearers held no sway at the entrance to this show.  Spoon rocked.  You know it.

What in the world could follow up a nice day of rock and rap?  My Morning Jacket at Austin Music Hall of course.  Duh!  So I split with Dave and Kai, and caught back up with BDoe and his Kirsten, Bean and his Julie Bean, Sassy Jaime and her date, and SLo.  Sure, of course we ran into several other friends of ours who were out and about.  What I was most impressed with was the renovations that had been made to Austin Music Hall since the last time I had been there, which, by the way, was a New Years Eve show with Los Lonely Boys opening for Robert Randolph and the Family Band with a guest appearance by Stone Cold Steve Austin chugging a bear during set-break.
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music Hall. They rock.
  A whole upper mezzanine had been added so that there were actually seats and a good view of the stage.  I had traditionally not liked that venue, but the improvements definitely made it a better, more comfortable site for concerts.  Anyway, I had definitely heard of My Morning Jacket, but mind you I had been out of country on a tiny Pacific island for the past two years, so I couldn't have named you a song or sung a single chorus, but they destroyed!  I was stoked.  They had a great, fantastic light show, and they put on a hell of a live concert.  I was impressed and had a great time.

As I walked to my car I realized that I was passing by Antone's where a bunch of my friends work, so I stopped in to say hello and what do you know, there was another band to see.
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music Hall. First time to hear them really, and I did have a good time.
  Constantines were jamming and I enjoyed a little break on my way home.

So, I had survivied, and it was a beautiful first day!  I was stoked and blown away by the bands I had seen that day, and was ready for more.  SxSW, I love you!

My band list on Thursday:

Nada Surf from NYC @ Volume's Paste/Stereogum Day Party

Destroyer from Vancouver, BC @ Volume's Paste/Stereogum Day Party

Sons and Daughters from Glasgow, Scotland @ Mohawk's Rhapsody Rocks Day Party

Clipse from Virginia Beach, VA, USA @ Mohawk's Rhapsody Rocks Day Party

Spoon from Austin, TX @ Auditorium Shores

Yo La Tengo from Hoboken, NJ @ Austin Music Hall

My Morning Jacket from Louisville, Kentucky, USA @ Austin Music Hall

Constantines from Toronto, Ontario, Canada @ Antone's
geerbox says:
Thanks, I will be traveling out of the country at that time, or at least I'm hoping to be out. I want to make it to either one of those festivals someday. They sound like a blast! Thanks again Ken!
Posted on: Apr 15, 2008
Reephboy says:
Austin City Limits Music Festival is usually the 3rd (?) weekend of September. This year it's the 26-28th. Official line-up release is tomorrow. Tickets have been on sale for several months. Helluva show. 130+ bands on 8 stages over 3 days. I think this is gonna be the 8th (?) Annual...Good times.
Posted on: Apr 14, 2008
geerbox says:
What's the other music festival in Austin?
Posted on: Apr 14, 2008
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CoonDog, SLo, Bdoe, DLowe, and MLo…
CoonDog, SLo, Bdoe, DLowe, and ML…
Clipse at Mohawks day party.
Clipse at Mohawk's day party.
My new friends Kai and Dave.
My new friends Kai and Dave.
Spoon and the Austin skyline.
Spoon and the Austin skyline.
Myself, Kirsten, and Bdoe at My Mo…
Myself, Kirsten, and Bdoe at My M…
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music …
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music…
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music …
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music…
Clipse at Mohawks day party.
Clipse at Mohawk's day party.
The line out front of Mohawks.
The line out front of Mohawks.
Cooking popcorn at Auditorium Shor…
Cooking popcorn at Auditorium Sho…
Popcorn tent at Auditorium Shores.
Popcorn tent at Auditorium Shores.
Spoon at Auditorium Shores.
Spoon at Auditorium Shores.
Spoon at Auditorium Shores.
Spoon at Auditorium Shores.
Crazy people at My Morning Jacket.
Crazy people at My Morning Jacket.
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music …
My Morning Jacket at Austin Music…
Myself, Steve, and Darrell at My M…
Myself, Steve, and Darrell at My …
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