SXSW Diary: Day Two and Three, Now We’re Talkin’

Andrew Bird at Stubbs BBQ SXSW

Andrew Bird at Stubbs BBQ SXSW

Ok so this is LOOONG overdue… obviously. It took me about two weeks to recover from the constant flow of information being tossed to my ears, eyes and fingers. Day two and three were when the real party got started. As I mentioned in my previous SX post, I was sort of glad I got to the fest early so I could prepare myself for what was about to happen but now that I’ve been once, I’m not sure I’d want to be there for an entire week.  I loved Austin, don’t get me wrong, but recovering from a week of constant moving, listening and seeing the insanity that is SXSW was a bit much. That being said, let’s get on with the good stuff I encountered on the first couple days of actual festival.

It’s hard to decide whether I should truly make this like a diary entry or pass on info about some of the best bands I’ve seen so far this year. Let’s go with a combination of both. It’s a little nutso to take in everything that is Austin in March. You basically feel like you’re stumbling around most of the time trying to fall upon a hot band that no one knows about. That’s how I stumbled upon one of the best little showcases of my fest experience.

A friend and I drove into the city that morning not having a clue where to start. So, as I later learned was always the best choice, I moseyed into the Paste/Sennheiser day showcase. Little did I know Vintage Trouble would momentarily be blowing my mind. This smooth talkin, slick dancing four-some will be part of the Sasquatch festival down in George, WA later this month. Do yourself a favor and check them out. A mere thirty minutes later Of Monsters and Men would slide on stage and showed me what I already knew, they are incredible.

In direct opposition, the next day I knew exactly where I was going. While I didn’t have a lot planned to occupy my morning or early afternoon, I made a beeline for Stubbs BBQ at around 4pm for a 7pm door-time. Even though I had a wristband, I still had to wait in the secondary line for wristband holders second to Badge holders (who were actually second to VIPs and those on the list). I wasn’t sure I’d get in, there were SO many badge-holders… but I made it through those doors and hunkered down next to the photo pit to see Fiona Apple (holy shit!), Alabama Shakes, Dan Deacon, Sharon Van Etten and Andrew Bird (double holy shit!!). No regrets, it was an unforgettable night.

After having drastically different experiences like that, I was left thinking about something. Really, what makes a band the next big thing? What makes one group that has a lot of buzz fall flat at a festival and what makes another the surprise favorite? One person. Just one person needs to love what they hear and the possibility is there. The possibility of being found by the right person or even just a maybe person. They post your music to their site or write one review and it catches on. That’s the magic of any festival really. You have a huge potential audience and it only takes a few people to start some buzz.

So my simple advice is to keep working, keep doing what you can and loving the music that you make, so when it finally does catch someone’s ear… it will mean so much more. Not to mention, who wants to play a song hundreds if not thousands of times if they don’t like it?

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