SXSW The Night Before

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SXSW 2010 Diary

We arrived in Austin around noon and headed over to our headquarters for the week, the Hyatt , downtown on Ladybird Lake. It was one of the last hotels available within walking distance of the convention center and Sixth Street.  We walked over the bridge to the festival headquarters at the Austin Convention Center and registered quickly among a light crowd. It pays to come in a day early! The Film and Interactive part of SXSW was wrapping up and you could sense the calm before the storm.

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A lot of swag is part of the welcoming bag that comes with registration.  For $600, you better get something good! Besides the usual laminate badge to wear around your neck, an assortment of paraphernalia was yours for the taking. Among the more interesting things found in our bag; three sets of ear plugs; a first aid kit, condoms; and the much needed hangover package. Oh Yeah and a couple of energy bars.

Our plans were flexible for the evening. We initially planned on attending the Paste Party at 8pm where Niko Case and Jacob Dylan would play together later in the evening. When we arrived at the venue called Pure Volume we were greeted by over 250 people waiting in line. Fortunately, we had RSVP’d for the party only to find out that preference was given to people who RSVP’d before last Thursday. We just ran out of luck.

A festival cohort from Britain suggested we attend the British Embassy showcase at Latitude 30 a club just around the corner.  It was a collection of British bands sponsored by the English government. Sounded like a nice alternative and there was an open bar to boot! England actually uses a portion of all money collected in the national lottery and puts it towards promoting the performance arts. Katie and I checked out Viva City and while enjoying a couple of beers courtesy of the Queen. Long live England! We watched Viva City from New Castle with their revved up synth-rock laced with a hard rock edge.  Fenech Soler also performed a somewhat generic set of dance pop that had the Brit-heavy crowd moving in rhythm.

Upon our fill of British bands, we meandered on over to 6th street  to the Parish club and walked in just as the Turbo Fruits were finishing up their set with a blistering cover of “Shakin All Over.” This three piece band from Nashville garage rocked the house and stoked us for their April performance in Madison. The Black and White Years from Austin were up next. At first, the jerky gyrations of lead singer puzzled me, only to win me over after several songs as the the influence of Talking Heads and Devo became apparent.  

After a couple of beers, we called it a night and turned in early for the official start of SXSW on Wednesday.

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