Finally have some free time to catch up after a long 5 days in Austin for my annual birthday trip to South by Southwest, the massive music shindig. Here’s the run down:
Tuesday: I discovered that my Wednesday flight was in fact NOT for 7pm but 7AM. How I made this error I have no idea, but my boss was kind enough to let me take an extra day off, so I hurried around to get everything taken care of and tried to sleep.
Wednesday: Meredith got up at 5:30AM to take me to the airport, bless her. I made it into Austin around 10AM and slept until 1PM. Tara and I went to End of an Ear music, where I bought a bunch of CDs. After that we stopped by South Austin Music, the one guitar store I had not visited in previous trips. This may have been a mistake. As I opened the door, there it was. An Ernie Ball Music Man Steve Morse model guitar. Dammit. Price tag: $999. I said $800, and it was done. It had to be done. I’ve been looking for that guitar for a long time. Afterward we wandered around downtown, checking out Architecture in Helsinki, Jefferson Starship, Lily Allen, and my all-time favorites, The Soft Lightes.
Thursday: We saw an in-store performance by Sparklehorse, then over to Antone’s for Blonde Redhead. After that…Pete Townshend. He was playing acoustic guitar at the “Attic Jam,” a gathering of random singer-songwriters. He did a few of his own tunes and played along with the others. As someone more accustomed to playing stadiums, he was clearly enjoying the chance to play to an intimate audience. We wrapped up the night at 1AM with a show by the gorgeous sights and sounds of The Bird and the Bee.
Friday: We just happened to be passing by the Yep Roc Records party where Little Rock’s own American Princes were playing. They opened the show, with John Doe following them. We ran down the street to catch the infectious sounds of The High Strung. After that I caught up with Rob McCorkindale of The Broken West. We’re not directly related, but we’re most likely distant cousins, given the dearth of McCorkindales on the planet. We have very similar eyes. Talking with Rob behind the stage, I saw Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould signing autographs and comedian Zach Galifianakis being generally hilarious. After that we went to the other side of the river to see Ozomatli, X Clan, and….Public Enemy. PE incited the crowd to chant “F*ck George Bush, F*ck Dick Cheney, F*ck Tony Blair, F*ck Condoleezza Rice.” The only thing more amazing than getting a crowd containing families with young children to do this, is that apparently there was no community uproar afterward. That’s Austin for you. After that we checked out Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party featuring guitar hero Nuno Bettencourt. It made me so happy to see a guitar solo being played in front of a large audience. Apparently the embargo is being lifted. Or maybe Perry just exists in his own world. After that, Badly Drawn Boy and the amazing, the earthshaking…The Good, the Bad, and the Queen.
Saturday: Dirty Projectors. We saw them last year at the same venue, but this time the crowd was twice the size. Good to see. Later that night: Kings of Leon, Spoon, and Iggy Pop. Not a bad birthday.
Sunday: Slept in! Ate breakfast burritos, stopped by Cheapo Discs and bought a couple more parting CDs before hopping on the plane back to Little Rock. By the way, fly Southwest. They have a sense of humor and free donuts, coffee, and juice at their gates.