Friday morning, I woke up with a scratchy feeling in the back of my throat and a heavy head. I dismissed it as a bit


How the Staxx Bros, Pseudoephedrine and Precious Sleep Helped Me Survive the Second Half of SxSW


Friday morning, I woke up with a scratchy feeling in the back of my throat and a heavy head. I dismissed it as a bit too much fun at the Sub Pop party the night before, got the kid and the hubby out the door on schedule and managed to have breakfast ready for the living room campers still sleeping it off elsewhere in the house.

I have to admit I enjoy my hostessing duties and that 45 minutes in the morning when everyone converges in the kitchen for coffee and chit chat about the previous night's exploits and plans for the day is one of the warm and fuzzy things I'll remember fondly when this year's fest has passed.

KEXP Friday 2:30 PM

By the time I myself was ready to head out the door I had to admit I felt sickly in a non-hangover way, but was determined to make it to the KEXP studios for a live set anyway. I was fortunate to have a ride to this years' makeshift studio, which was set up at Gibson Guitar Studios, a private showroom, nestled deep on the far south end of Austin's famous South Congress strip, in the midst of a twisting office complex that nearly required a GPS to locate. It was a far cry from the station's marquee setup at ME studios on the northern end of SoCo that bustled with musicians, sponsors and semi-celebs, where I nearly KEXPeed myself meeting groupie/author Pamela Des Barres last year on her way to interview Exene Cervenka.

The smaller studio did have an advantage in that the people who took their precious festing time to seek it out were treated to an extremely intimate experience. Fans of Freelance Whales, who wrapped KEXP's live performances, were able to sit directly in front of the band's monitors for a one-of-a-kind, so close you could touch them musical communion.

It took over an hour (in SXSW time, that's seeing four bands) between waiting for, then riding, the bus back downtown, where I got a bad case of the chills, a cup of tea and waited for the call to see if I was going to be able to get into the Spin party where a reformed Hole were scheduled to headline(rumor has it they played a decent set). Not hearing back by the time band was going on, I starting to experience full body aches and made the executive decision to throw in the towel and go home.

I arrived to a silent, blissfully vacant house and discovered my trooper of a hubby had taken the kid to see a free show by Cheap Trick at Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake. My temperature was well over 100, so I took a muscle relaxer, two Ibuprofen, a big shot of Nyquil and tried to forget about all the mega fun going on without me and recoup in time for Saturday's SXSW Seattle Party.

The Beauty Bar, Saturday, Noon:

Mother Nature played a not-so-funny cosmic joke on festers this year when at around 2:30 AM (when I was up for my second shot of Nyquil), an epic thunderstorm the size of Texas rolled in. Within a hour of the first thunderclap, my kid and dog had taken over our bedroom, and I tossed and turned, too hot with the covers on and too cold with them off, while my tot kicked me in the back of the head and slept on. Feeling like I'd been run over by a truck, I turned to the strongest medicine I could find: Aleve-D, with a whopping extended release, 12 hour dose of 120mgs of pseudoephedrine. Usually I shy away from the speedy stuff, but when you absolutely have to be somewhere or doing something, its worth signing your name to the meth log for the five hours (six when coupled with coffee) of relief it provides.

Not only did the rain dampen the fun of late night party goers, it also dropped the temperature forty freaking degrees to near freezing with the thirty MPH wind gusts by the time the Seattle party started at noon. You had to feel for the woefully under dressed kids who'd packed light and froze their way from show to show in T-shirts and gauzy summer dresses. All that flannel the kids from Seattle sported when it was 70 degrees now seemed to make sense. In the past, the Seattle party has been more of a social mixer accompanied by local music; this year they went for a full-on showcase vibe with dueling indoor/ outdoor stages for non-stop entertainment and free ale which seemed to flow all day.

I arrived a little past noon with my almost-three year old in tow, layered within an inch of his life for maximum fun in the freezing weather. "All Ages" events in Austin are different from those in Seattle, and they are usually littered with children. Here, I didn't see any other kids, but there were a few other babies wrapped up super-snuggly with their giant noise-blocking earmuffs in place. Visqueen was already rocking the back, packed outdoor stage, while the front room slowing started to fill for the Staxx Bros. This was my first experience seeing them live and I was really impressed. I'm usually not a fan of "party" acts, but they lived up to their hype, and their set made me forget how awful I felt for about thirty minutes. Strummer, my little tyke, on the other hand, just wanted to run figure eights in the front patio area usually reserved for smoking, and not even the Moondoggies, whose album he has memorized, drew him into the musical magic. I spent most of the set trying to contain him and avoid the oh-so- annoyed glances from smoking hipsters as he went mildly insane and I had to admit defeat and call in reinforcements to pick him up.

I went on solo enjoying an impressively tight set by Grand Hallway, and one of my picks for best show of the week, a rousing set from the Maldives. My plans to see the Duchess and the Duke were again thwarted as I realized I'd run out of time and was going to barely make it to the one show I'd been dying to see: Oxford, Mississippi's The Bass Drum of Death playing at a used record store across town. I couldn't have chosen a better act to close out my festing experience, the now-duo of John Barrett and Colin Sneed were pure electricity, and I ended out SxSW 2010 with a smile on my face. In a year which included airline troubles for our guests, the inconvenient, yet timely death of my three-year-old cell phone and five-year-old digicam, a nasty sunburn, an even nastier virus, unpredictable vile weather, and a feisty toddler prone to tantrums, that says a whole lot about the awesomely positive power of music.

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