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sxsw2014 Fri Mar 14 2014
Archie Powell & the Exports passed the mic to bassist Adam Melberth for today's update.
Sometimes you go to a rambunctious, foggy, boozy, punk/country show to end your night before passing out on a ceramic tile floor in Austin, TX. Then you wake up in the morning on said floor to the realization that the venue you were at didn't have a smoke machine and that "fog" smelled kind of funny...Thus begins my Thursday at SXSW 2014.
9am never pairs well with rock n roll, but an early wake up time was on the agenda to hit an acoustic performance in an old air stream called the Ham Solo. (Star Wars pun intended). Being accustomed to van life, piling four dudes into a baby blue aluminum trailer and talking about how I fashion my look after Chewbacca's was extremely familiar. As a bassist, I don't provide much in instrumentation in these types of performances, but some backup vocals from The Exports earned me a breakfast taco as we accompanied Archie while he played two new songs from our upcoming record Back in Black (Yes, it's really called that).
The goal at SXSW is to get your music into the earholes of as many people as you possibly can, so performances are abundant and usually very tightly scheduled. We pile back in the van to fight the traffic back to 6th Street for one of our several day parties. This performance will be our first on this tour with our lead guitar player Alex, who has finally arrived in Austin with his other band, The Noise FM. We pack onto a much smaller stage than Tuesday's official showcase, but feel much more at home playing in tight quarters and rip through the set well attended by old and new friends (including Bob, who flew all the way from Scotland to see us play).
Archie Powell & the Exports in their element (Photo by Jim Vondruska)
Our "official" duties for the day are done, so we are game to pack as much fun as we can into the remaining hours. After the necessary evils of loading out and finding parking (woof), we grab free burgers/drinks from the artist tent then treat ourselves to an actual sit down restaurant for some margs and queso dip.
I'm convinced no SXSW trip is complete until you run into Austin's own hometown hero competitive eater "Hungry" Todd Rungy. When I spot him in the distance due to his signature look of American-colored everything, I start skipping and chanting his name as if I was a youngster seeing Mickey for the first time at Disneyland. We pause for a photo and a singing of his theme song which catapults into high spirits for the rest of the night.
We continue on our way for good hang times with pals from Good Land Records, a show by The Noise FM (who absolutely crush their set at Shangrila), and then spend the rest of our night with a multitude of Chicago bretheren at the Audiotree/Chicago Mixtape house on the east side of town. My heart swells with Chicago pride as I hang with some of my favorite Windy City musicians and swap stories about the road and home for the remainder of the evening.
Sonic is closed by the time I cart the band back to base in our tour van Rick MorVANis, so my dreams will have to be filled with Cherry Limeade instead of a styrofoam cup.
Archie Powell & the Exports' current (and subject to change) SXSW Music Fest schedule:
Tuesday, March 11 - Red 7, Official DCASE Showcase, 611 E. 7th St
Wednesday, March 12, 2pm - Convention Center, DCASE
Saturday, March 15, 2:45pm - Good Land Record Party
Saturday, March 15, 3:15pm - Freedman's Bar, 2402 San Gabriel St.
Saturday, March 15, 6:30pm - Jam in the Van