It’s hard to say whether or not my 2015 SXSW was a success. I saw the no. 1 band on my “to see” list, Colony House, but I stood in the rain and mud to watch their set thanks to the Friday afternoon downpours. (Still totally worth it.) I successfully parked on Austin’s city streets without getting a ticket (always an achievement in my world after this), but it was a 1.5 mile trek just from the car to downtown, never mind all the miles clocked running from venue to venue. And I just freakin’ went instead of watching from the social media sidelines like I have the last few years, but I only conquered 1.5 days before I was out.
I guess we’ll call it a draw.
Nonetheless, running the streets of downtown Austin with Lauren and Katie for as long as I lasted was blast, as always. Nothing is better than hanging out with a few of your music besties in the live music capital of the world. We saw lots of great stuff. We heard about lots of great stuff. And we ate a lot of really great food.
Here’s the wins, the losses and everything in between from our SXSW 2015 adventure:
- New-to-me bands I got to see that I really enjoyed: The Bros. Landreth, Colony House, Young Buffalo, Jess Glynne and The Districts.
- Seeing a crazy good, energy-packed show by Bleachers at Stubb’s.
- Watching Quiet Company cover “Bennie and the Jets”. Twice. It was freakin’ amazing both times.
- Getting to see a few songs by Somebody’s Darling again – quickly falling in love with this band.
- Meeting a ton of amazing people in person, like Dawn, and running into music friends all over the place.
- Making new friends on Friday because we had umbrellas. Lauren and I both had random guys cozy up under our umbrellas as we were crossing streets.
- Having Kerbey Lane queso and coffee for breakfast.
- This exchange on Twitter between myself, Isaac Hanson and Quiet Company. (He turned down the dare by not showing up, so I’ll be coming to MOE with a copy of Transgressor in hand for him.)
- Hanging out with Tess and her friend Jazmine, who were both incredibly awesome people and awesome music fans. Nothing is more fun than sitting around swapping stories with fellow good groupies.
- When we started complaining about the downside of Friday at our 1:30 a.m. dinner/breakfast, Tess immediately demanded we share our “roses” instead of our “thorns” with her. Good god, I love her positivity.
- The obvious one: the rain. Which actually wasn’t as bad as I anticipated but was just enough to drag us down on Friday.
- The way Katie White of The Ting Tings treated her guitar on stage. I cringed every time she nearly dropped her guitar on stage during their pre-Bleachers set, sending their guitar tech racing to grab it.
- My umbrella. My precious, beautiful, perfect-size, perfect-print umbrella that I lost to the security guards at Stubb’s because it’s “policy” that no umbrellas are brought inside. (Certainly didn’t stop some others from bringing theirs in, but I digress.) And mine was nowhere to be found in the pile outside the entrance when we left. I was a little angry. (Okay, a lot.)
- The Stubb’s crowd. We were right on the edge of the stage overhang, meaning we weren’t getting the full brunt of the rain all night. It also meant lots of pushing, shoving and general annoying crowd behavior as everyone else tried to find a less rainy spot too.
- I only lasted 1.5 days. Thursday night and all day Friday. After that, I was out. I headed home Saturday evening, sad to leave behind my girls…but happy to see my shower and bed.
- The first band we checked off on our “to see” list was River City Extension. They only have two original members, and the band sounded completely different than I remembered…but it was nice to see some old musical friends.
- I spent a good hour that same show trying to decide if the guy that looked like Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott from Nashville) was actually Sam Palladio. Lauren even went and stood near him to try and detect an accent. He did have one, and I think I made him nervous with my staring…so we’re gonna go with yes it was him. In which case…EEK!
- One of my silly SXSW goals was to find myself in the same venue as Stephen Thompson, one of my fave music writers, and tell him: 1. how much I love his writing (esp. The Good Listener); 2. how much I enjoy the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast he’s on; 3. how we love all the same bands, including my fave Austin band; and 4. that I also love love love the Green Bay Packers (but please, lets not talk about that last game because I’m still not ready). Friday night he tweeted about Clean Bandit as they were playing 10 feet in front of me. But it was at Stubb’s. It was packed. And I never spotted him. Heartbroken. Maybe next year?
Did you go to SXSW?
I’d love to hear your wins, losses and everything else. And stay tuned – even though I went this year, I can’t quite give up sharing all the great music I discovered like I did in 2013 and 2014 with my Secondhand SXSW posts, so a 2015 post is in the works!
Until next year South by,