“I’ve been reading a lot of self-help stuff…” – said to myfriend last Friday night in Echo Park.
This new playlist is titled Awkward Stage, as that’s been my emotional state for the last few month. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m going through my awkward teen years all over again. It’s been over a decade since I was 14 and as I’m in the midst of a condensed awkward stage I wonder, “does everyone go through this? I should be able to deal better by now.” So as I was hanging out with my friend last Friday night and was feeling awkwardly self-aware, all I could share about the last few months was, “I’ve been reading a lot of self-help stuff.”
Fall is my favorite season, so I’m feeling hopeful about how 2016 will end considering it’s been rocky from the start. With the new season, I feel it’s time to stop working on this playlist and start something fresh.
Awkward Stage Playlist : 53 min | “Anxiety” – Preoccupations / “Shut Up Kiss Me” – Angel Olsen / “Another Loser Fuck Up” – Christopher Owens / “Rodeo Queen” – Escondido / “Cigarettes and Red Wine” – Ella Fence / “Apogee – RJD2 Remix” – Tycho, RJD2 / ” I Go To Sleep” – Anika / “Poison & Wine” – The Civil Wars / “Can’t Remember” – Teen Body / “Bridges” – Nine Pound Shadow / “I Think You’re Alright” – Jay Som / “When To Let Go” – Violens / “Videotapes” – Blouse / “Soul Searching” – Shigeto
I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a playlist. I just ended up listening to a lot of great music last week and I was grooving on some funky beats. My favorite is this random find from The Beaches. I don’t think its the Beaches, but that’s what Spotify says. They have the same issue with Soko. When I create a Soko station it isn’t the adorable french singer, instead tracks that sound like dental lounge instrumentals will come on. If anyone knows the language being sung in that Beaches track – please share!
‘Continental Shelf’ – Viet Cong/ ‘Bird of Prey’ – Natalie Press / ‘Aegean Disco – The Beaches/ ‘To Die in L.A.’- Lower Dens / ‘Queen’-Perfume Genius / ‘Nausea’ – Craft Spells / ‘Young and Beautiful’ – Lana Del Rey / ‘Daniel’- Bat for Lashes / ‘Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade’ – Ariel Pink / ‘Honey Bunny’ – Girls / ‘Kiss and Not Tell’ – La Roux
We arrived 30 minutes before Viet Cong started, thinking that would be ample time to get checked in and into the show. WE WERE SO WRONG!! Our check in went smoothly and we were even treated to express lane wristbands. But the line was long and slow. Standing in the rain, the water poured down on Bowerbird and I for 45 minutes. I felt terrible for Dan who was jacketless, but we had received guest spots from the singer, and I had no desire to bail. Fortunately someone came by selling plastic ponchos and I scooped one up for Bowerbird, making the remaining thirty minutes ever so slightly more bearable. We heard Viet Cong start as we waited for security to let more people into the Fader Fort. Unfortunately, between the rain and the street, we couldn’t hear their set with as much clarity as the Stubbs Bridge. And of course in the nick of time, we were given access to the fort and ran towards the stage dodging mud puddles. For the remainder of their set we wormed our way into the dense crowd of people who were clearly there to see a following hip-hop act, and were able to reach the center with a few hundred people in front of us.
The show was worth every raindrop. Viet Cong dropped into a wicked game of riffs and played Death, an 11-minute song off their 2015 album. The bands energy was high despite the majority of the crowds lack of interest. My face was plastered with a beaming smile, as we caught about four songs. After the set was done, I wanted to explore what the Fader Fort had to offer in branded experiences. Sadly, they were mostly outside. A chalkboard wall with a car in front of it, a bottle painting station to promote the use of glass, and a Dell ‘lounge’. Bowerbird was over it. Even though the rain had stopped he was soaking, and I’d like to make this my formal THANK YOU to him as he humored my curiosity. Inside the Fader Fort was a little warmer and we found some choice seating to ‘dry off. Figuring out our next move, we didn’t know of another show so decided to head to the Dresden, one of Austin’s oldest hotels, for a Manhatten.
While walking to the hotel we heard an interesting band coming out of a juice bar and ducked in. The nice thing about SXSW is there are a lot of venues where you can just pop in. Parties that you don’t need to RSVP too with smaller bands. It’s a place made for those that enjoy new discoveries. By the time we were inside the juice bar, the band had finished. But this bar was EXTRA toasty, so we paused again to ‘dry off’. I’m using dry off in quotations because I think it took three hours for Dan to dry completely and a majority of the drying took place in the Dresden hotel. His plastic poncho started to create its own ecosystem and condensation billowed underneath. We waited around for the next band to start and picked up some spicy curry tacos that warmed us internally. Austin is all about the food trucks. After about two songs of the new band, we left again to head to the Dresden.
The Dresden is a gorgeous hotel. Bowerbird and I really have a thing for old hotels, not haunted hotels, but hotels with a lot of character. Maybe one day I’ll do a blog post about the places we’ve stayed. We headed to the bar, which was packed with industry people wearing official SXSW badges, and order our whiskey beverages. With drinks in hand, we tried to find seats in the crowded lounge area. Finding an open chair and the second half of a love seat couch, we asked if they were reserved and plopped down next to two other gentlemen. We all started chatting about music and who they had gone to see. One of the men had a wicked mustache and deep voice with a thick Texas accent, I was mesmerized. Noticing the artist wristband on Dan’s arm, the men asked what band he was in and where they had played. Surprisingly they happened to be at the Levitation party the day before. And when their third friend came back from the bar, we figured out they were all there the same time Flaamingos was playing. The third friend had actually watched their set. It was so cool, I’m still in awe of the fact my boyfriend played SXSW. He had a decent size crowd, people cheered, AND we ran into someone who had seen his set and genuinely enjoyed it. Not that I don’t think Dan’s music isn’t amazing, he is wicked talented, but what are the chances we meet someone who actually saw his set.
Later that night we saw one more band and then eventually headed back to the hotel early. Catching Thoroughly Modern Milly on cable, eating bread and cheese for dinner. Friday was an epic day! One of those days for the record books. I stayed in Austin an extra two days with my beautiful friend Lauren, and without Dan. Lauren treated me to an amazing day in the park, Barton Springs, a much-needed juice after all the alcohol and salty food I’d been eating, and her sweet friendship. Those extra two days in Austin, even without Dan, really made me want to move to the city. We’ll see….
So it’s finally up, my full SXSW Austin Adventure – 2 months later – to the day.
Let’s all pretend for a moment that it hasn’t been four weeks plus and I’m writing about SXSW day three like it was just last week.
DAY THREE – FRIDAY MARCH 20 | PART ONE
After finding out that SXSW doesn’t really start till 2:00pm, Bowerbird and I were letting our morning be slow and relaxing, until we found out Viet Cong was playing at the Spin party at 12:30pm. We discovered this probably around 11:30am, which one might think isn’t enough time to get ready for life, but when I travel time moves differently. I’m capable of getting ready faster and apparently one does not need to account for traffic time. The weather outside was grim, but I figured it would clear up. So we got ready in a flash and called our Lyft driver. Coincidentally it was the same gentleman who drove us the day before, and now officially besties he told us about an amazing dive bar with badass burgers we had to check out.
Getting to the Spin party just as Viet Cong started playing, this is when we sadly found out people have to RSVP to parties for special entrance badges and crap. Disappointed but not discouraged, the Spin party was in the backyard of Stubbs BBQ. Parallel to the restaurant is a bridge that looks into the back area, so standing next to running tour buses, Bowerbird and I listened to what little was left of the Viet Cong set. We were also able to catch Metz, an amazing punk band that made me feel like I was fourteen again. Just a little punk kid listening to the music from outside, because I couldn’t get into the show. We had our own mosh pit going on as I danced and gleefully bumped into Bowerbird.
Outside the Spin Party
After Metz played we walked back to the main street to go and find that dive burger joint, and as we passed by Stubbs the singer of Viet Cong was maneuvering gear outside. Dan recognized him and musician to musician gave him props. We also mentioned how we weren’t able to get in but checked out the set from the bridge. The singer, Matt, totally commiserated with us, as he had played SXSW before without a clue as to how all the parties ran too. He told us he was playing later that day, and I mentioned how that was an invite only event. He then offered to get us on the list, and we exchanged info with no promises but a possible chance to check out the band at the Fader Fort.
Walking on cloud 11, Dan and I couldn’t believe how our luck had changed, and we we’re just hours and a possible guest list spot away from seeing Viet Cong. We found the dive bar/burger joint, Casino El Camino and had some of the best burgers in our life. Totally worth the hype, and I’m a major burger junky. The bar has a great atmosphere too, this gothic classic horror movie vibe, like the original Wolfman and Frankenstein wife. They were playing this cult classic, 976 Evil, which looked bizarre and must be seen. Mid- burger bite we received confirmation for the Fader Fort list, utterly stunned and thankful, Dan and I just couldn’t stop smiling in astonishment.
We explored a few more shows ( no RSVP needed) and met up with an old friend of Bowerbirds, before we decided to head back to the hotel as it was pouring rain. I was wearing leather shorts. Neither of us was properly dressed. Our Lyft driver back to the hotel was a Cellist who vented about the fact straight hipsters had been invading his favorite gay bar. He also proclaimed he wasn’t a heterophobe, which sent me into a fit of laughter because I had never heard the term. I had a lot of really amazing and a few really weird Lyft drivers. But Lyft drivers like him were priceless. He was really sweet, as he helped instruct me as to how to book him again in order for him to wait in the hotel parking lot while we quickly changed. As we got rain ready, our driver went to Starbucks and even picked me up a black coffee. He was epic! Chugging down the caffeine we were off to 5th street with only an hour to set-time and in peak traffic hours.
Alright, I’m going to pause real quick because our story continues well into the night and there needs to be some breathing room in this post. So click here for Part 2 – or go do something productive.