SXSW day three: Heads down, beers up | Bleader

SXSW day three: Heads down, beers up



Austin is NICE.
  • Austin is NICE.
The most common misconception about SXSW is that the main goal of most festivalgoers is to hear live music, when in fact it's simply to survive the physical punishment that the festival dishes out. A festivalgoer in average physical shape who abstains from intoxicants will probably find the amount of hiking and standing and being pummeled by sound waves exhausting. And judging by the number of yelling, staggering people on the streets by midafternoon, not a lot of attendees are abstaining from intoxicants.

Yesterday was just past "warm" and slightly on the side of "hot," and after a solid week of touring, the band and I were facing the wall where the combination of exhaustion, placelessness, and lack of alone time finally claims your mind. After our afternoon set we were content to hang around the Longbranch Inn and use up the plentiful drink tickets floating around before heading over to Trailer Space Records to play a showcase for the excellent New York club Cake Shop. Because both venues were on the fringes of the festival, we got a better chance to appreciate what a pleasant town Austin is than you can get in the chaos of 6th Street. Trailer Space is a record shop, not a bar, so the promoters encourage a BYOB policy. Given the oppressive heat inside, the party largely took place in the parking lot—which, combined with the number of locals hanging about, gave it a casual vibe that was a pleasant change from the hectic energy of the past few days.

Later in the night I finally hit that wall and took a break to just sit in the van by myself. With the windows down I could hear our friends in Las Ardillas playing inside just fine. Just a 20-minute walk from where I was, Kanye jumped up onstage with 2 Chainz for what will probably turn out to be one of the more memorable moments of the fest, but they may as well have been on Mars.

Rested, well-fed, and with only one show to play today, we're finally ready to dive headfirst into the madness. Today's goal is to make it to as many parties as possible. Wish us luck.