Blogger Mike’s Guide to SXSW & Artist Picks

With less than 4 days to go, those of us lucky enough to attend South By Southwest are frantically combing the schedules.  For the OCMD attendees at SXSW this is no easy task!  How many times can one person possibly consult the multiple blogs devoted to the fest?  As one of the longest running SXSW blogs,Donewaiting.com is always worth a look (at least once a day).  ShowlistAustin is great for daytime events. Myspace is a must to check on those bands you really want to see multiple times.  This will get you that information lickety splitly.  Let us not forget the actual SXSW site.  The main source for “official” evening showcases, and as the days count down it is worth a quick scan to make sure a band didn’t change venues or time slots.

If you have been to this festival before, you know that creating a schedule is a precious opportunity for those stricken with OCMD.  The perfect schedule is not merely a list of your favorite bands, oh no.  Consideration must be made to cool-ness of venue, probable crowd size, likelihood of long lines, proximity to next show, number of shows each band performs during the fest, and yes even plentifulididitty of free booze and grub.

With all this in mind, I present some top picks for your enjoyment:

Wednesday

  1. 4:40pm Lovvers at Epoch Coffee, these UK boys have been on my radar ever since I saw their myspace page noting the Real Kids as an influence.
  2. 8pm Strange Boys at Emo Jr.  Except for those arriving Tuesday, this seems to be the only chance this year.  If you saw them at the Elbo Room in San Francisco recently you will understand the need for more.
  3. 9-11pm Pharmacy, Floating Action and Giant Cloud at Flamingo Cantina.  Always hard to pass up a chance to see a few great bands all in one place.  This line-up should please without all the walking.
  4. 12pm Califone at Club Deville, but the line could be a problem.
  5. 1am This spot is always a tough call.  As many times as I have vowed my comittment to Howe Gelb (Opal Devine’s is a long walk!), I may go for local favorite Sixteen Deluxe.  They return from retirement for a rare engagement at Encore.

Thursday
Let’s Wrestle is the pick of the day.  UK genius.  3 shows to choose from, and 2 tomorrow (Friday).  May just have to go to all 5.  Free beer and nachos at the Lovejoys gig.  Their official showcase provides another chance to stay in one venue for more than an hour.  They start at 8 and are followed by Radar Bros., She and Him, Wye Oak, and if your really lazy you can stay for Lou Barlow.   Otherwise chug that Shiner Bock and head out for Dr. Dog, Centromatic, Roky Erickson, or perhaps the Vivian Girls!!

I love the Red Eyed Fly and sippin’ free bloody marys on the patio with OCMD buddies, Those Darlins, could be reeeeeal niiiice.  If you find yourself in love, fear not, they play 4 more shows.

If it’s a warm day, curl up on the grass with the Dum Dum Girls and Yellow Fever at the lovely French Legation Museum.

The Dialtone Records show at the Amsterdam Cafe deserves special mention.   This is a chance to see some old school, real deal, raw rock and blues (mostly from Texas).  Check out Rev KW Williams tune on the SXSW site to see what I mean.  These are the kind of showcases that generally have no line, but provide something you can get no where else.  Really how many times can you see Let’s Wrestle?

Friday
5:30pm Victoria Williams will make a very rare appearance (outside of Joshua Tree) at Jovitas party/benefit for the amazing Sweet Relief Musicians Fund that assists ailing musicians.

The day also provides 3 chances to catch New Jersey psychedelic band, Real Estate (they have 10 shows listed already!).  There are 2 chances to see Chicago based, T-Rex inspired, Smith Westerns (they have a mere 5 SXSW shows listed including one Saturday show at a fave venue-the Scoot Inn, built in 1871!).  Friday also provides the first (of only 2?) chances to see Alabama’s spazzy and catchy pop wunderboys, Thomas Function, at the Broken Neck.

The Bloodshot records party at the very cool Yard Dog Gallery is always a good time, and it is not simply the free beer.  Enjoy all the Bloodshot stars:  Silos, Justin Townes Earle, Rosie Flores, X-ene (from X), and of course those crazy Waco Brothers.  Shop for boots next store and spend some quality time in the alley.

Saturday
Hmmm…just when you think you can’t hear one more band!  Consider something you haven’t seen at all!  Could it be Avi Buffalo (Long Beach), This Bike is a Pipe Bomb (Pensacola), or Montreal’s answer to the Vivian Girls–the Peelies (mmm….they sing in French)!!

Free Tequila at the Gas Pipe where you can show your drunken support for local recording guru, part time Gris Gris guy, Greg Ashley.

Later that evening consider checking out a rare treasure from rock history.  Big Star at Antone’s!  Be warned:  this one will have a line and the staff are a bit lame, but hey this is Big Star.  Chris Gerniottis from the Zachary Thaks will be at the must-visit Continental Club.   And maybe strangest of all….Death play a 1am show at Mohawk.  Death are quite a story.  1973, three black dudes from Detroit see The Stooges and quickly form a band.  They make some amazing early punk recordings and vanish….until 2009 when the great Drag City label releases the full album in its entirety.

Or, fuck it all and go to Speakeasy where you can see 6 mostly punk bands direct from China.  I like Carsick Cars and PK14 best of all.  A few blocks away at Buffalo Billiards see former Emeralds, now Rubies direct from Japan.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  Do get some sleep, try and get some sleep.