Funny, we didn't even intend to be in Austin but oh well, might as well make the best of it!
This time last year we were house sitting for Scott & Amy and were neck deep in preparations for our big trip. A year later and here we are again! Last year we were performing in the festival and had the luxury of "artist" wristbands so we could get into almost any "official" showcase. This year we had no credentials what-so-ever but saw just as many bands and had an awesome time. There're so many free daytime parties and nightly concerts that there's really no need for badges and wristbands. Here's a dozen or so of the many bands we got to check out.
The San Jose Hotel on South Congress had a stage in their parking lot every day of the music portion of the festival with bands on from about noon 'til 10pm. They're not affiliated with SXSW, it's their own little festival that they call South by San Jose. We saw several bands on this stage as it was on our way to and from downtown..... it made a great little pit stop.
Speaking of the San Jose, we know a guy that works there, our old buddy Thad.
Thad was nice enough to take a moment to pose for a photo and buy us a round.
Myself, Thad, and of course Ali and Stefon (what the heck is going on with Stefon's hat?)
Later, in the San Jose courtyard, we were entertained by "Shaky Graves".
Hard to tell in this awful photo but he has a suitcase that he uses like a bass drum, which he plays with the heel of his right foot. The left foot is alternating with a tambourine!
You'll have to trust me, there's a band up there.
"Band of Skulls," an awesome (Angie's word) English 3-piece performs straight ahead hard rock.
Sorry, this photo is awful but it's the only one we have of a band from Iceland, "Of Monsters and Men", a folky rock thing. They recently won Músíktilraunir, a yearly battle-of-the-bands competition in Iceland, and are experiencing all the buzz that goes with that. They still seem a little shell-shocked by all the attention! They're kind of a mix between Arcade Fire and the Givers. Very good. Fun.
There were three nights of free concerts at Auditorium Shores.
This was the first, which featured "M. Ward" and "The Shins" with the beautiful Austin skyline as backdrop. Look closely and you can see M. Ward on the jumbo-tron.
Ooh, hello pretty ladies...Angie and Ali setting up for the show!
We went in the gates and discovered the beers were $6 each!! So we walked back out, made a quick beer run to the nearest convenience store ($11 for a 12-pack, thank you very much) and set up on the grassy hillside across from the concert with about 1,000 other smart people...
...and enjoyed the music from there!
This is 6th Street on a weekday during the festival!
There were a few people in town...
This girl is gonna be big. She's Australian, wears cool outfits, and has a great voice.
Kind of a cross between Amy Winehouse (but without all problems - RIP) and Lady Gaga (but without the meat dress). Someone we met later said she reminded them of Katy Perry, but we didn't get that comparison at all.
Her band looks like it time warped from the early eighties!
Home Slice Pizza had their own festival in their parking lot too.
This is "The Darcys"
"Lost-Lander" was all coordinated with white outfits and black instruments.
"Yellow Ostrich," great name and interesting instrumentation. Bass, guitar, drums, some keys, and trumpet...
Scott Ryder: man about town
"Dan Mangan," hailing from Vancouver, BC. These guys were great. Trumpet seems to be all the rage right now.
Everything but the kitchen sink. I counted 18 members and another trumpet!
Back to basics. This was a random discovery and they were really good.
The young woman on drums was rockin' and she sang too!
Back to Auditorium Shores for the last free show on Saturday night which featured local band "Bright Light Social Hour" and an ooooold favorite of mine, "The Cult" from England!
(Guess this cyclist didn't get the memo, ahhhh Austin.)
These guys are 50+ now and are still jammin'!
They played a good mix of old and new material including several songs from my favorite album, "Love," and even a song from an old "Death Cult" record!
I've never seen them with a conga player though...
Yep, no joke, they had him come on stage and play congas on two songs!
If you don't know, he's from Austin and is a living legend around here. Supposedly the police were called to his house once on a noise complaint and discovered him playing congas...naked. This just reinforces my theory that he's a cartoon character come to life.
"Built to Spill," out of retirement and closing Saturday night back at the San Jose.
We survived SXSW 2012 and it was a great one!
Next entry.... we'll reveal why we're still in Austin and not back out on the road...