We'd been gearing up for SXSW this year for months, with shows to plan and afterparties to help out with - it took up a lot of our time, even when we weren't there yet. Now that it's over, we're not quite sure what to do with ourselves, or how to recap it all. We also haven't been near a computer in a week, so bear with our slow typing.
THE PRECAP: Last year we went to Austin to help launch Austinist, this year we were throwing a party with them. After some planning the lineup fell in to place: Dawn Landes, The Brokedown, Snowden, Bravo Silva, Levy, The Ark, Asobi Seksu, Rainer Maria, controller.controller, Ghostland Observatory. Then we decided to help out with an afterparty, and with a lot of effort put in by everyone involved - everything from the lineup to the guy pouring the drinks fell in to place. With everything in order, we put on our party flip flops and headed to Austin.
THE RECAP: It's 30 degrees when we meet our fellow travelers out on the curb at 5:45am, Wednesday March 15th. By 11:30am we are driving to the venue for our party, the temperature up by about 40 degrees. There are bands plugging in on the outdoor stage, the Austinist crew is handing out gift bags and an annoucement is made that there are free mimosas. We sit down and watch the bands.
HIGHLIGHTS:Snowden is a personal favorite of Gothamist. We've booked them at two of our Movable Hype shows and they've finally just been signed to Jade Tree. Their live show has elevated to a level of sonic perfection that our ears aren't used to. We watch them, smiling. We get goosebumps in the sun. Listen: AntiAnti.mp3 - Snowden
Bravo Silva is up next (Full Disclosure: We manage this band!) The band was clad in primary colors, which contrasted nicely with the electric blue background of the stage. The songs punched through the warm air and got people moving in the audience. The band even brought a surprise with them to Austin: a horn section! Listen: Strawberry Blonde.mp3 - Bravo Silva
Levy was next up. The band definitely carries an air of New York attitude around with them. This doesn't often bode well with locals. However, they've got a few catchy songs that drew people in. We couldn't look at the singer though, without thinking about this video. This was our first time seeing this band live, and we were pleasantly surprised with by their sound - which, while it didn't blow our mind, was consistently good. Listen: In the Woods.mp3 - Levy
Ghostland Observatory came on around 10:30pm, that's 9 and a 1/2 hours after the show began. We couldn't have been more excited to see these guys, who we brought up for Movable Hype last June. This band honestly blows us away every time we see them, this holds true even after we've been up for 17 hours and have already seen 8 bands that day. Their energy comes bounding off the stage and infects everyones feet, making them dance even if they don't want to. If there is one band you should listen to it's these guys, their music speaks for itself. Listen: Piano Man.mp3 - Ghostland Observatory
That was it for the Austinist/Gothamist show, but the day did not end there. As R Kelly says, "after the show it's the afterparty," and the man has never spoken truer words. We headed over to the Austin Design Center for the invite only afterparty (appropriately named "Awesome, Inc.") with Valhalla, Grand National, The Cloud Room and ¡Forward, Russia! The latter band, who closed out the live music for the night, was by far the most hyped up band we were going to see during SXSW. Even 20 some hours after we had woken up that morning, being kept awake by Steel Reserve beer and propped in a chair 15 ft from the stage...we can tell you they lived up to that hype. Their songs are all named numerically, a perfect collaboration of the right and left side of the brain - which is sort of their sound as well. A clashing of two sides coming together in a cacophony of perfect harmony. Listen: Eleven.mp3 - ¡Forward, Russia!
The atmosphere of the party shouldn't go without description either. The Super!Alright! crew draped the walls with amazing projections, the Finger on the Pulse crew are so energized they got people dancing even when they weren't deejaying, car stereo (wars) helped get the crowd moving as well and Allen of Austinist kept everything running smoothly, as he had done the weeks prior to the event as well. There were fire dancers near the fire pit - just past the tropical pool, there were the Scandal Scouts who were pretty much making out with everyone and giving away badges for scandalous behavior, there was visual and sonic stimulation pumping throughout the room. The night was a picture of well organized chaos, just like a Kandinsky painting. We had to go to sleep though, we'd been up for 24 hours, and day 2 was just around the corner.