Friday, March 28, 2014

Piñata at SXSW: Heading Home and The Moral of the Story

Damien says: Whoops! Trevor sent me this the day he got back from Texas, and I read it, loved it, told him how much I loved it, and forgot to post it. Here it is:

Hey Folks,

So I am back home in relative safety and chill of Minneapolis. Once again I miss out on all the St Patrick's Day shenanigans. Thank goodness. As a Doyle on my mother's side, and as an Irishman with a taste for libations I can say I don't care for the typical revelry. I'd rather spend some or most of it in a car on the way back from Texas. We had smooth sailing the whole way. A solid 20 hour cruise up I-35. Last year was a snowy icy struggle the whole time. A little traffic heading out of Austin and around every reasonable size city in Texas but once we were out of the state we were fine. Luckily we didn't hit any bad weather until Crosstown 62 in morning rush hour. A little freezing rain. No biggie.

I guess what I learned this year was that SXSW is (no secret) no longer the songwriters' gathering it started as. It's grown way beyond the breeding grounds of the next indie band breaking big this year. It's a mecca for folks who want to see groups they already know and will submit their email to RSVP for a chance to stand in line for an over-capacity showcase at a corporate-sponsored stage that doesn't exist most of the year.

Once again the best music I saw was off the beaten path. Completely free. Or from Austin. Not officially affiliated with SXSW. I will most likely go again next year in whatever capacity I can, but I refuse to wait in lines to see music or RSVP for anything like Hype Hotel or the Spotify Lounge or what ever. Fuck that. That's not rock and roll. That's not even country. Or R&B. The kids can collect their wristbands. I will actually see real bands. I heard that Ceelo's set was all tracks. I heard that Kelis hadn't shown up an hour and a half after her set time at the Clive Bar. What's the point of waiting to get into shows like that when there are tons of musicians playing that you don't even know of yet?

Isn't that what the whole thing was about? I think SXSW still has purpose and is a real blast. It's pretty serious that you you go at it with an open agenda and try your hardest to go against the flow to find real music. To a lot of folks it's not even about the music. That's fine. To a lot of musicians it's rock dude spring break. I support that. I certainly wasn't there to play.

It's also important to stay hydrated. It's a marathon not a sprint to drunken glory. The real winners are those who don't puke or pass out, but those who can pace themselves all day and still get themselves home at the end of the night. No matter where they are staying.

It was great to see my Austin friends again. It was great to walk around and constantly run into Twin Cities music friends all day. It was great to root for the home team, but it was also great to root for bands I dug that didn't have that support. It was best of all to have my beautiful wife with me the whole time. She is a bad-ass road companion and her unbreakable spirit is the best compass.

Musical Side Note:
Staying to the areas of Austin where I felt comfortable this year. I saw way less drummers with headphones playing to tracks. Tracks are fine, but you know. Also, I saw way less glowing Apple logos on stage. Dear bands or groups utilizing computers to whatever effect. Cover up the stupid Apple logo. They didn't sponsor your band. Remember you had to buy that. They are getting free advertisement out of you.

Flavorful Side Note:
There was no 2 BK stops on this trip home. I was really hungry by the time we got in but was able to function on snacks. Jalapeño Cheddar Cheetos are now the only Cheetos. Just saying they are better than both cheddar and red hot.

Trevor's birthday was this week and he's curating two shows this weekend (3/28 and 3/29) at the Nomad to celebrate.