Hello Again! It has taken me awhile to get this post up because I’ve been working on this video.
All the footage is from the day I’m talking about below.
DAY TWO – THURSDAY MARCH 19
This is the most exciting SXSW day, because it’s when Dan’s band Flaamingos played their showcase. Bowerbird and I started the day early, and by early I mean 11:00am, heading for the convention center to pick up my wristband. I was all worried thinking we had gotten a late start on the day, but our Lyft driver assured us we were very early. I ended up having to pay $80 for a music wristband, that I’m still not quite certain what it got me access too. But I got a nifty tote bag, and Dan was told he could pick up a free backpack in the artist suite. I’m all about the free swag and really had to encourage him to take advantage of it. We then explored the convention center and wandered into the screen printed music poster emporium. So many colors, so many designs!! It reminded me of when I interned at Myspace and there was a huge wall, more like a hallway, covered in the screen printed posters from every secret show. I thought this must be where they scouted the artists. Next I followed Bowerbird into the gear section, where he made a b-line for the synths. The sound of people jamming out some smooth jazz filled the air, along with the constant buzz of gear geek chatter. We had to wait awhile till a particular synth opened up for Dan to fiddle with – he was in heaven.
Feeling sluggish from a night of heavy food and beer, we walked to the Daily Juice for some fresh pressed veggies and fruit. It’s incredible how much walking can be done in Downtown Austin and I never felt nervous about falling onto a ‘bad street’. Sadly that is the not the case for Downtown Los Angeles. SXSW involves lots and lots and lots of walking. We headed to the Under The Radar party at the Flamingo Cantina. I wanted to show my support as I used to intern for the magazine many moons ago. The Flamingo Cantina was off 6th street. This street felt like was the heart of SXSW as everything branches off from it. The cantina was a tropical themed bar and I had caught the party between sets, it was hot and humid inside, and really captured that Caribbean atmosphere. Bowerbird, claustrophobic and uncomfortable, bailed just as we got inside. I said my hellos, but then got an email stating there were some artists finishing up a mural on Barton Springs.
Oh yeah – I decided to turn this SXSW trip into a work trip by getting some coverage of the POW! WOW! Hawaii and SXSW collaboration for the art blog Sour Harvest. You can read the article on their website now.
The mural was going to be finished up within the next hour or two and seeing a great opportunity to interview the artists, I said goodbye to Under The Radar and started walking toward Barton Springs. As I was exiting the cantina, Dan was in line to get back in. I found that to be a little funny. The walk from 6th street to Barton Springs is 30 minutes, fortunately it wasn’t sweltering, so we just enjoyed the exercise and we were able to see what SXSW was doing on the other side of the bridge.
By the time I interviewed the artist and we got a quick snack, it was time to head back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the band and collect their gear. Playing the Levitation Showcase at Hotel Vegas, although I’ve come to realize they were actually playing in The Volstead room, they had to be there at 5:30 for their 7:30pm set time. Levitation also puts on Austin Psych Fest, a festival with a drool-worthy lineup, fingers crossed Flaamingos plays next year – a girl can dream. The outdoor patio was packed! It felt totally electric in that special psychedelic way. With so many people outside the challenge for Flaamingos was to draw people away from the big bands outside and into their small room. And they did it!! I was totally stoked on the crowd that gathered. It’s quite an accomplishment as they’re not a local band, and they had people watching them instead of Moon Duo 😀 We spent the rest of the night wandering around SXSW east part of 6th street, and just enjoying this unique music experience. I also ate some epic Cajun poutine.
At some point, the band and I got a shot at the bar to celebrate. As we were ordering our subsequent drinks, an older gentlemen was standing beside me ordering a beer. He told the bartender he wanted to wipe the top of the cans before they were opened. This reminded me of what my Ba-Chan and Ji-Chan would do as they would have soda collecting dust in their garage before bringing it into the house. I told him my grandparents did this, not to say he was a grandparent, but I totally relate to the clean can tops. He then said, “well you know they just sit in basements where rats crawl all over them pissing and shitting on the crates. It’s disgusting.” With a little more banter and chuckles, I walked away with my drink and he with his clean beers… this gentleman is the singer of iconic post-punk band Pop Group. Did not realize this till he was on stage of course, classic Bekka.