Fresh Observations by a SXSW Rookie
Filed Under Lifestyle on March 26th, 2015
It was a long, intense week, but I survived my first South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) experience in Austin, Texas. Colossal crowds, music blasting out of every bar and venue you passed, and a plethora of people keeping Austin weird created an unforgettable scene. The ease of ideas moving about and massive amounts of social networking happening in real time kept you in the loop during the entirety of the event. Bring your phone charger or find the St. Bernard dog that can rescue your dead phone, otherwise you won’t have a charge to make that one last update at the end of the night.
SXSW is an abundance of film, interactive sessions, and music showcases that kept me busy all day. Just cruising the streets of Austin was an experience in itself. Sixth Street, known to the locals as “Dirty 6th”, was closed off for the entire length of the three week festival. While walking through, I passed Batman, Catwoman (in a bikini), Iron Man, countless food trucks and pedicabs, and a woman fully painted as a weathered statue. Beyond the traditional borders of the event lies the best stuff. Rainey Street, which consists of small residential houses converted into completely unique and cool bars, has a scene all its own including a bar made entirely of shipping containers. Out on East 6th, there was a more chill vibe and some of the best venues like The White Horse and Shangri-La. It was truly a sea of creative energy swirling around me that I was thrilled to be in the midst of.
Having access to food trucks was a quick way to snag some great food on the go, and since I was pretty much always on the go, this was crucial. From the “Evil Wiener” to “Ms P’s Electric Cock Fried Chicken,” the abundance and quality of food was off the charts. You’ll never find more ways to eat gourmet in a hurry.
Since I was there for the music portion of SXSW, I knew I was in for a wild ride. Music pumped from every corner of Austin so you’re guaranteed to stumble into live bands at every turn. I had a few key highlights from shows that made quite an impression on me. Monday night was rocking with sets from The Walkmen and Mike and The Moonpies. The Skins rocked my Tuesday night and I even ran into Sinbad and Adrian Grenier. Luke Bell, The Leroi Brothers (who are cousins of mine) with an appearance by Bushwick Bill of Geto Boys made for one hell of a Wednesday. Thursday I rocked out with The Suffers, Churchwood, BP Fallon (toured with Led Zeppelin), and Javier Escovedo (younger brother of Alejandro Escovedo) which made for a very late night. Friday night, I caught another show with Luke Bell as well as a few other acts. In addition to those shows, I also attended some killer sessions in the Daytrotter studio at Good Danny’s, as well as a number of other acts throughout a hectic but fun week.
Besides walking around, I finally utilized Uber, a ridesharing service, and loved it. Fusing technology and convenience all into one simple app made it extremely easy to travel throughout the city on a moment’s notice. The sooner this gets rolling in the Quad Cities, the better.
Beyond all the entertainment occurring during SXSW, just being there to experience the atmosphere and vibrancy was truly phenomenal. I’m ready to book my flight for next year because there’s plenty more yet to see and do.