I woke up completely sore from all of the walking of the past two days––especially from the day before when I renounced the Austin bus service––so I didn’t feel guilty about eating a late-night order of kim chi fries from the Chi’lantro Taco Truck two nights earlier AT ALL. I decided that on this final day, after I interviewed Bernhoft (coming soon!), I would keep all the shows I wanted to see in the same intersection to give my legs a break.
I lost my earplugs at DIIV the night before, but my friend Golda saved me when she gave me her extra pair at the Dan Croll show. The British singer-songwriter sounded a lot like Jason Mraz and looked like Harry Potter––not Daniel Radcliffe, but the illustrated ones from the cover of the books. I could see him being a crossover breakout star in the next year or so. (If I were to place a bet on which European band or artist would be huge Stateside this year, my money is on Bernhoft, but you know that already.)
I sprinted over to the SPIN House to see Savages, the buzzy all-girl British punk band who was on my “Must See” list––this was my last chance after all! SPIN House had more of that Crispin hard apple cider stuff and a pear cider, so I decided to try out this “pear cider.” I did not taste the difference. I did, however, have my face smashed into the wall of fuzzy punk rock guitars and powerful performance from the Savages show. “Holy crap!” was my only thought throughout the entire set, and I’m so glad I got to see and meet them. I hope they tour like crazy and play New York 4-10 times this year––I’ll probably go to every show.
I was pretty exhausted when I got to Paste’s day party to see Delicate Steve. I was a half-hour early so I watched Nashville band Leagues, but I was too drained to enjoy their cheery grandiose indie rock––I just wanted to sit down more than anything. I moved to the outdoor stage to catch New Jersey band Delicate Steve, and they never disappoint. Their mostly instrumental set was so precise, melodic, and stirring that it makes me angry/happy how freakin’ good they are. The non-stop touring they’ve done since I saw them last has only made their awkward, deadpan stage banter even better and more enjoyable. I left during their last song so I could catch the Austin band Sorne.
A few SXSWs ago, I was leaving a moderately full cafe when Sorne‘s intense performance beckoned me and I was amazed by this newish band. I grabbed their CD, kept tabs on them, and was thrilled for them each time they hit a milestone––whether it was reaching their Kickstarter goal, winning Austin Music Awards, or getting glowing press, I was glad the world was noticing truly one-of-a-kind trio. I was more thrilled that Shiner Saloon was completely packed with engrossed fans for the art-rock band’s fiery live show. Every time I see their frontman Morgan Sorne perform, I am blown away by how powerful and passionate he is, no matter how big or small the room. It was a breath of fresh air, and I was ecstatic for their successes so far and looking forward for those to come.
When I left the Sorne show, I was just done with SXSW. I was drained from all the walking and standing in line all week; I didn’t have a badge so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see Prince at La Zona Rosa; and I couldn’t remember my MySpace username OR password (WTF, JT? LIKE SERIOUSLY) so I didn’t get a wristband for the Justin Timberlake show; and I just didn’t want to stand in line anymore. All I wanted to do was eat a few more tacos, hang out with my Austin-based friends and family and split a pint of Blue Bell ice cream with them while watching Community and Parks & Rec, which is exactly what I did after I caught a bus up to West Campus and escaped the madness of downtown Austin.
Yeah, I didn’t catch any of the “bigger” bands at SXSW (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Flaming Lips, Alt-J, Prince, Justin Timberlake, Iron & Wine, Usher, Nick Cave, Snoop Lion, Dave Grohl), but whatever. Why stand in line to see these big bands when I could discover a new one just down the road?
I’m still recovering from a week of shows and this cold I probably caught from someone on my flight back, but I’m already counting down to SXSW 2014. See ya next year, ATX!
SXSW recap and photos by Rebecca An