Torchy's fried chicken tacos. Extra Trashy.

With dodgy lodgings and limited internet access throughout the week, I'm clearing out my SXSW experience in a couple


SXSW Recap Part One


Torchy's fried chicken tacos. Extra Trashy.

With dodgy lodgings and limited internet access throughout the week, I'm clearing out my SXSW experience in a couple of entries this morning, while back in the depressingly drizzly pre-spring NW. But first, the SXSW numbers:

Torchy's Tacos consumed: 6

Queso covered items eaten: far too many

Tequila shots: 14

Jim James sightings: 3

Diamonds on Ludacris: too many to count

Fleet Foxes sets seen: 6

Barricades moved: 4

Free popsicles from the Ice Cream Man: 3

Getting There:

There are no direct flights from Seattle to Austin, which generally means rubbing elbows with the suit and tie clad, PC laptop using stiffs in stained carpeted sports bars in a crappy airport somewhere between point A and B. In our case, on the way down it was Orange County, where a charmingly gruff grandmotherly bartender named Phyllis (honest) at the Sports Page bar, served us gigantic, very expensive beers and enthusiastically carded each patron through the door no matter how grey or wrinkled they ay have been. With still more time to kill, we sat outside in the sun (sun!) on some concrete steps before meandering over to the Oasis, a gigantic sit down restaurant (?) in the middle of the terminal. Our flight was running late, so we opted to wait for a table and order some more gigantic beers while the table of two obviously LA "rocker" dudes with predictable tattoos and tiny butt jeans (I've never seen a skinnier person with such apparent, self-inflicted love handles) and road cased equipment ruminated on how often they closed down the bars at home while they were delivered multiple rounds of sugar rimmed cosmopolitans. Yes, cosmopolitans.

While the two were also on our second leg to Austin, they were countered by the genuine goodness of the bespectacled former Fastback, Mr. Kurt Bloch, producer, current member of Sgt. Major and the Beltholes and just all around congenial guy, who was also two rows behind us on the flight. Three hours, one $5 American Airlines "picnic pack" (salami, cheese, two kinds of crackers, sun flower butter and strawberry jam) and no booze later, we landed in the middle of the madness around midnight.

First stop was the Misra Showcase at Friends on 6th, which was slowly beginning to pick up steam- not quite reaching Mardi Gras levels yet- but pulsing with drunken revelers and corporate attention getting tactics (flood lights, new cars, girls in chipmunk costumes, free gum). The Denton,Texas-dwelling boys of Centro-matic took the stage, playing a solid, twang filled set to a packed house, frontman Will Johnson, with a well worn Cotton baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, noting that they were happy to be back in their home state as we took our first shots of tequila, coupled with a Pacifico, all for the high price of $25- while David Bazan stood near the back, happily drinking from his own supply of Lone Star beer, in an attempt to make it through SXSW for under $100 (along with a few ham and cheese sandwiches and PB & J's). Obviously, as we'd just blown a quarter of that, no easy feat.

With the final set of the night over, the bars began to shut down, pushing showgoers out into the street by the mandatory 2 am closing time. In front of Friends, amidst the stumbling, pizza eating masses, Jim James (looking a bit less recognizable with much shorter curly blond locks) stood around shooting the shit with some folks. And after two too many slices, we called it a night.

Day 2

After much cell phone coordination, a happy reunion at the sprawling Austin convention center was had between my brother Robin and I along with the rest of his band Fleet Foxes, who've been on the road with Blitzen Trapper for the better part of three weeks. Navigating the SXSW red tape and getting checked in was less of a pain than anticipated, with no lines, and (after a David Fricke sighting) we jammed over to their first set of the day, the Under the Radar showcase at Flamingo Cantina. With all of the barricades, blocked off roads, security and police, it took about 45 minutes to go two blocks, but we arrived with time to spare- as UK band Noah and the Whale took the stage for their very first ever set in the United States.

More to follow. . .

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