Last week, more than 60 bands with Northwest connections took part in the annual music blowout, South by Southwest (SXSW), held in Austin, Texas.
Last week, more than 60 bands with Northwest connections took part in the annual music blowout, South by Southwest (SXSW), held in Austin, Texas. Between gigs and gawking, several contributed to our SXSW blog. Here are some choice excerpts, alongside an array of images taken by photographer Ben Sklar at an SXSeattle party in Austin on Saturday.
The Feral Children / Wednesday night
3 days in the desert.
Our excitement got fizzled a little once we had been driving through the Utah/New Mexican desert for nearly 2 days. So we started seducing each others’ sisters via telephone, chugging coffee [ … ] and filling the van with ash and empty bottles.
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We have run out of things to talk about so we just make stupid sounds instead.
Austin had better lay us down and do it right.
Throw Me the Statue / Wednesday night
Tuesday afternoon’s arrival in the Austin airport was a humorous gaggle of band gear at the oversize-luggage carousel. Some amount of sizing each other up was inevitable as Dudes waited for guitar cases and amplifiers to emerge on the conveyor belt. Wondering what other bands each other were members of, we scooped up gear and waited curbside for our ride to arrive.
Half an hour later we’re packed into a family sedan breezing across the warm afternoon desert. It’s a desert I am sure we will come to enjoy over the next five days. A desert of opportunity if you believe the promise of what South By can mean for a young band. More likely, though, it’s at least a place to sleep on a floor, eat lots of BBQ, and play your damndest when given the stage. Here goes something.
The Feral Children / Thursday night
There is an abundance of sound and people eveywhere we go here. Even the birds are starting bands in the trees! We’re gonna wander around until we drop tonight.
DJ Sabzi / Friday afternoon
Saw kids on leashes at the airport. These Texans are savages! On the way to the hotel, driving past lots of these venues and the crowds outside, Geo and I concluded that our pants might not be tight enough to hang with these folks. It’s all good tho! Weather is warm and sunny and we’ve just begun.
DJ Sabzi / late Friday night
It dawned on me that Disco is back in full effect. [Here Sabzi posted an image of a festival-goer in a wildly colorful sequined jacket.] Just in a new kind of rave-form. [ … ] My favorite thing about Disco is that, although there were a handful of good hits, the genre and scene as a whole pretty much sucked. And what happens when hip and popular music sucks that bad and cocaine is kind of a big deal? Things like Hip-Hop get invented to save the people.
The Feral Children / Saturday afternoon
We just finished playing the Seattle party here in Austin. I ended up with my head stuck in a drum and most of the audience flipped out in the melee. Hanging out with our friends from the pleasureboaters and getting tans by the creek.
Choklate / Saturday night
So this mornin, I roll over to a phone call from my homegirl, Yahzarah (whos in the room next to me by the way), sayin … “you wanna go interview at the ME tv station?” I rub the sleep outta my eyes, clear my voice and say “yeah … yeah … sure, what time?” To which she replys … “now.” So I jump up, throw on my freshest sneaks [… ] and run the front door to meet a ME tv company car w/ a rather shnazzy gentleman by the name of Bavu Blakes behind the wheel.
We then head, along w/ Mr Bavu Blakes and his manager [… ] to a place that reminds me of Langston Hughes Performing Arts center in the C.D. except the walls are lined w/ immediate Black Music History … I mean The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Sarah Jordan Powell … and we walk in to where Bavu and his sidekick Element 7D as WORLD TRADE perform some songs that have me out of my seat pumpin’ my fist … not only me … but everyone. We head w/ Bavu to go and interview Pharrell aka Skateboard P and N.E.R.D.!!! Now I’m not completely a fan, but a star is a star and I know bout “She Moves” and Billionaire Boys and the Neptunes. [… ]
We’re in Pharrell’s suite and I ask’m if I passed the fresh sneaks test, to which he replies “first thing caught my eye,” shakin’ his head yes. Told’m where I got’em [at Goods on First Hill] and he said he’d heard of the place last time he was in Seattle. Dunno if he was tellin the truth or not but I felt real Too Oh Six like right quick. I was then exposed to some real starlike behavior that I’m going to keep to myself. …
Tonite we go see Ice Cube, Talib Kweli and Jean Grae at the outdoor stage. Hmmm. What random adventure awaits?
MC Geologic / late Saturday night
Despite the devastating aftereffects on my body from last night’s wild-out session (good look on the drinks, Karim), I was reinvigorated by [… ] running into other NW people everywhere we went, including Braille (of Portland’s Lightheaded crew, performing with Ohmega Watts), Shannon Stewart from The Vera Project, and this cat Will who just got back home from Iraq and thanked us for our song “Back Home.” Apparently it’s getting some play among his fellow soldiers there right now. It was a fitting meeting, especially on this day — the five year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.
Heading to the airport in two hours, so no sleep tonight. Hopefully we’ll actually get some seats on the plane away from the wailing infants that we usually get stuck nearby. I’m looking down on the streets from the hotel window and it looks like the party is spilling onto the streets past the curfew. Horns honking. A stumbling mass of bodies. Uh-oh, here come the sirens. SXSW is officially OVER! Goodbye, Texas. It was good. Real good. So good that I don’t even remember at least 1/3 of it.
The Feral Children / Sunday morning
Texas barbecue with The Pleasureboaters, late night party with Dead Confederate, four shows in three days. Our love for music is rejuvenated. Second honeymoon.
Blue Scholars: Trailblazing Seattle hip-hop duo MC Geologic and DJ Sabzi. Signed to Rawkus Records last year, their most recent release is “Bayani.” They play several dates in California at the end of this month and will appear at the Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge over Memorial Day Weekend. www.bluescholars.com or www.myspace.com/bluescholars
Choklate: Rising Seattle soul/R&B talent. She plays dates in Dallas and Miami this month and returns to the Northwest for an April 5 show at Pacific Lutheran University. www.choklatemusic.com or www.myspace.com/listen2chok
The Feral Children: These experimental rockers signed to Sarathan Records in February. They played numerous SXSW parties. Back in Seattle, they’ll present an all-ages show at the Vera Project on April 12 and another at the Cha Cha Lounge the following night. www.myspace.com/theferalchildren or www.sarathan.com/artists/feralchildren
Throw Me the Statue: Led by Scott Reitherman, pop band Throw Me the Statue recently released “Moonbeams” on Secretly Canadian Records. Hear them Tuesday at noon on KEXP and Tuesday night at Seattle’s Chop Suey. www.myspace.com/throwmethestatue or www.secretlycanadian.com