Monday, 23 March 2009


Where to start? I'm sitting in the hotel, it's 10am and we need to check out soon. I feel mostly human, which is surprising considering the last few days of alcohol abuse, lack of food, even less sleep and miles of walking. The sun has been relentless and I haven't even considered wearing my hoddie since I left England 5 days ago. The sunburn on my neck means that isn't a totally great thing, though.

This was my first year at SXSW and as such had little idea of what to expect. A hopeful schedule north of 20 bands per day actually boiled down to more like 5, but this included favourites including Kevin Devine, Tera Melos, Anathallo, The Bronx, Rolo Tomassi, Dananananaykroyd, Look Mexico, White Denim, HEALTH, Cursive and a hardcore band called Trash Talk who brought with them a more brutal fanbase than I've ever seen before. A circle pit beginning before the band even played a note and the singer flipping into the crowd off of the PA really got things off to a flying start.

It's hard to explain exactly what goes on at SXSW. Imagine, if you will, a long street, closed off and filled with thousands of people. Every single building is a venue with bands from 11am til 3am, free beer and spirits strong enough to strip paint. And if that wasn't enough music for you, there are bands on roofs, in doorways, on bridges, next to lakes and even the pizza shops are blasting out Pig Destroyer. There are the occasional wacky weirdo's wandering around crossdressing or holding up 'free hug' signs which brings back memories of wide-eyed early visits to Reading festival, and all this time, the sun is boiling the alcohol inside of your body and making you wonder whether you've slipped into a parrallel universe. I'm still not sure if I have.

When I can track down a USB wire I'll upload some photos and try to paint a better picture. For now, I have a huge hangover to beat and a trip to a rodeo to conquer.

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