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sxsw2011 Mon Mar 14 2011
[Editor's note: Here's the first SXSW tour diary from Shawn of Netherfriends. We'll be posting more throughout the week!]
Playing at SXSW is a lot like playing New York City (Especially as a small band from Chicago.) You are surrounded by millions of people in bands, it's over congested, and no one there gives a fuck about you...NO ONE! Four days before the festival, I went through a giant list of free shows forwarded to me by a booking agent friend and after 15 minutes of aimlessly searching for events with free booze, free food, and swag to rsvp to, my brain began throbbing. I almost questioned attending any show other than the 9 or 10 that Netherfriends were about to endure during the festival. I had just got done two extensive tours and was only just returning to Austin (my temporary home) a few days before the festival. I am not as jaded as I am sounding right now, but after playing shows every day for over three weeks straight, the last thing you want to do is see more live music. It's kind of like asking a plumber on his day off to fix your broken toilet and drippy sink. At least I can drink on the job.
Friday consisted of a last minute house show in East Austin that Netherfriends played and a Punk Rock Marching band event called Honk. At 6pm I biked with my friend Jaqi downtown to this coffee shop to meet up with some friends and people watch for a bit. I was surprised to see so many kaki pants official types walking around with SXSW badges and texting on their smart phones. I figured I would see more "I play in a band" tight black pants/denim jacket types.
I headed over to the East Side Drive-In to see this punk rock marching band event called Honk (which will be going on all week) It was entertaining for a bit and then I began to ponder did these guys know Chicago's Mucca Pazza and who came first? I watched for about 20 minutes and then had to bike up north to grab my van and load in for this house show at 9:30.
The house show was packed and the kids there were very attentive, which made we wonder how this show would have gone if we played it on the last night of SXSW. Would people be as interested and excited in our set after seeing a trillion shows? I guess we will see.
Started my day sitting outside of my friend Jaqi's house basking in the Texas sun, that I have grown so accustomed to and realized that I have been very spoiled this winter.
Saturday's show for Netherfriends was set up by a girl I played with at my first Austin show at Emo's back in January. It was at Blue Starlite Mini-urban Drive-in theatre at 3pm. I didn't think the show was going to be too promising and it really wasn't the best. We played for a handful of people spread across a giant lot. Drank some iced tea and a handful of ice cold Lone Stars. Ran into this older guy that I played with three years ago at a sushi place in Richmond, VA. He apparently lives in one of those old school RV Airstream things on a farm in Austin and he wants to give me a $100 to help get me to Hawaii.
After the show, I dropped off my drummer at his other band member's house because he was playing a show in Houston later that night. That night, I got put on the list at a venue called Red 7 to see this band White Arrows at a Lamebook party, courtesy of (previously Chicago based photographer) Nathaniel Wood because he was touring and taking photos for White Arrows. No free booze at the show, which meant saving my money and drinking from a flask of whiskey in the bathroom. There was of course free Pop Chips and those shitty neon green sun glasses. I like to believe that Pop Chips only exist at events like SXSW and CMJ... I've never seen them in a gas station. The band took a long time to set up and this MC tried to entertain the crowd, but I think he actually annoyed people. The crowd started to dwindle. When the band finally played they asked to turn all the house lights off, which was a bit comical because you could barely see them. Someone (manager?) halfway through told them to turn the lights back up. The most distracting thing was the guy standing next to the drummer who was triggering visuals on a projector with a keytar looking thing and an neon orange visor. I couldn't get a good picture of it with my phone, but it was weird. He rocked out like he was playing music. Couldn't really compare the band to anyone in particular, which is a good thing. I expect to be hearing a lot more about White Arrows in the future.
Biking back to Hyde Park through downtown was more terrifying than usual. So many drunk people running across the street almost getting pummeled by our bikes. It's only going to get worse in a couple days my friend.
Netherfriends SXSW Tour 2011
March 12 - Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive In
2326 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX
March 15 - Cedar Street Courtyard - Chicago's PBR Blast Off
208 West 4th Street, Austin, TX
March 16 - Paradise on 6th
401 E. 6th St., Austin, TX
March 17 - Pita Pit
Downtown location, Congress and 7th, Austin, TX
March 18 - The Happening House
51st and Westmore, Austin, TX
March 19 - Your Mom's Burger Bar
1701 East Cesar Chavez Ste. B, Austin, TX
March 19 - House of 88 Chicago Party
3508 E. 17th St, Austin, TX.
March 19 - Skinny's Ballroom
115 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin, TX