The sleepless nights have come to an end. My first South by Southwest is over and it was a surreal ride. I saw some great music, had a lot of fun, and (I think) made some interesting TV. The idea was simple. I'd be live at 10 p.m. previewing my plans, go out into the chaos and then be live at 6 a.m. with what I found.
Started with a live shot at 6th and Congress. It was the first of many I couldn't really hear because of the noise from all the live music. When we finished, my photographer Pat and I headed into the sea of people that was downtown Austin.
We did a couple interviews and worked our way to Stubb's where local heros Spoon were playing. While Pat got ready to shoot the show, I hit some nearby venues and saw some other bands and did some interviews. There were people sitting outside listening to the big opening night show and performing in the streets. You can download the show (Broken Bells and Spoon) from NPR.org. Here's what it was like inside (from my iPhone):
From there we hit a couple more shows, a party, and ended the night at a burger joint. By ended I mean it was 3 a.m., and we went back to the station and started writing and editing. At 6 a.m. I was live at the Four Seasons where KGSR was hosting a morning showcase of artists. Charlie Mars was one of my favorites (it's better when it's just him and a guitar).
I was in bed asleep by 10 a.m. Here's how my story came out:
Started the night at the Levi's Fader Fort, a huge party complex set up by Levi's. Pat and I decided to just take people along for the ride as we bounced around town. We went back to Stubb's. While Pat tried to work his way in, I shot the Generationals across the street (they were my favorite of the night, I should have stayed there longer). We ended the night at the Pure Volume House waiting to see Andrew WK. The idea was my story would end with me going into a mosh pit during the 3 a.m. concert. Well the crowd (that had been enjoying the free booze and Taco Bell) start to get impatient waiting for the show and then they decided that TV cameras didn't belong in the pit and well, long story short, we left with my cameraman wearing a burrito.
I'd write more but you can just watch it here.
Friday moning at the Four Seasons was awesome.
Dawes started the morning and sounded great at 6:30 a.m.
The hotel had been a subdued place, great vibe, but really chill. That changed with V.V. Brown. The Brit rocked the hotel, giving everyone in the building a 7 a.m. wake up call. This video is from one of her other performances:
Local singer and favorite of Chow, Sarah Jarosz played a song (she also won a stack of Austin Music Awards. She's taping an episode of Austin City Limits I really hope to go.
Oh and Creed from The Office showed up. That made my morning.
Friday was the most surreal night of the festival. I started the night at a showcase featuring the two bands I wanted to see the most (She & Him and Broken Bells).
She & Him was good...
Broken Bells were great!
But the bridge show we went to next was epic. In a "do-it-yourself" concert showcase were a bunch of bands took over the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge. I was interviewing one of the kids that set the show up, he paused mid-answer, looked away, turned back and said, "that was Bill Murray."
That's SXSW, you never know who will show up. He declined an interview but stayed at the bridge and watched the show, that is until the cops came. The night got stranger but you'll just have to ask me about it. I think the story turned out great.
Saturday morning I stood out in the freezing rain telling people how cold and miserable it was-sure wasn't as fun as the hotel.
The night involved a lot of waiting in the cold. It started at the Austin Music Awards and then Eddie (cameraman) and I headed to what was supposed to be one of the hottest parties in town. Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton throws a big closing night bash each year and tens of thousands of people wanted in. The venue was way too small for the crowd so that meant waiting outside.
After an hour or so Eddie was able to work his magic and we got inside just in time to see Snoop Dogg. It was another crazy free booze fueled party. We stayed for Hole, I met my friend John for breakfast and at 7 a.m. I was live at the airport talking to folks leaving town.
The whole week was a blur, but I already can't wait for next year.