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Transmission
« SXSW Band Diary: Netherfriends -- Tuesday Preview: Dex Romweber Duo @ Lincoln Hall, 3/22/1 »

sxsw2011 Thu Mar 17 2011

SXSW 2011 Coverage: Wednesday


After 20 hours in a car, a handful of truck stops, and one lost detour in the middle of nowhere in Arkansas, I've arrived (and somewhat rested up) in Austin, TX for SXSW. Along with the lovely bands sharing their adventures with Gapers Block, I'll be posting about some of the great music I catch, interesting panels, and the always bizarre encounters you come across during SXSW. Now onward with Day 1.

After checking in and picking up my press badge, we headed to pick up our badges/wristbands for certain RSVP parties. Word of advice: if you are not a fan of long lines or changing your schedule on the fly, then SXSW is not for you. We skipped waiting for these badges since the line was massive. Instead we moved on to some day parties, where we knew we'd hear actual bands playing and not just the sound system from the promo band parked across the street handing out free t-shirts.

First on the list of showcases was the eMusic party at Beauty Bar. We walked through the alley, got our passes for free drinks, and under a tent in the back caught the tail end of Kill Rock Stars act Grass Widow. Their sunny brand of lo-fi girl group pop was a nice refreshing start to the day, and a calm before the storm of the next act.

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Photo by Justin Freeman


JEFF the Brotherhood took the stage next, immediately cranking out a sludgy thick wave of sound over the crowd. Recorded the band sounds very typical rock, but live they channel a lot of 70s punk mixed in with flourishes of late 60s psychedelic. Smoke machines were cranked up, the tempo was fast, and headbanging was inevitable. I went in not expecting much and was thoroughly impressed (always a good sign), making JEFF the Brotherhood the band that set the bar high for the rest of the weekend.

We stuck around for a bit of Ty Segall's hollowed and rattly garage rock before stopping and grabbing a quick late lunch. And who should stop by while we're eating? Michael Cera, who was in town with his band. I resisted gushing over Scott Pilgrim and making George Michael jokes, and instead spent some time checking out the massive book they give you at check-in that detail the panels and showcases.

I spent a good amount of time just wondering around, since I was calling it an early night to plan for the rest of the weekend. The streets are completely filled with musicians and people that are trying to look like musicians. People watching is prime at SXSW. I passed a guy dressed in pirate like garb holding a sign that said "Why yes ladies, I'm single" and had his number. I passed a dog with a bright pink mohawk. And I passed so many bands just playing on street corners and sidewalks.

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Busking is at an all time high during SXSW, and within 1 block I saw a few bluegrass bands, a rock act, and a 3 piece metal string group. I actually googled the metal band, Judgement Day, that you see below, and they're from Oakland, California and bill themselves as a "string metal" band. It's not every day you see a cello, violin, and drums playing metal on the street corner. And come to find out the violinist has toured with the likes of Bright Eyes, The Faint, and Mates of State. There really is always something odd, new, and interesting at SXSW, and if you can't find any of that, you're clearly not having enough fun.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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