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Saturday, September 21

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sxsw2015 Sat Mar 21 2015

SXSW 2015: Day 3 Tour Diary from In Tall Buildings

Chicago at SXSW 2015

In Tall Buildings' Erik Hall wraps up his time at SXSW with (what else) seeing some excellent live acts.

On our last day in Austin we venture out as festival goers. After enjoying some of Mi Madre's tacos we're walking four-deep into downtown, each bearing a cold Topo Chico and half-joking about the sparkling water endorsement of our dreams. (This is not an uncommon aspiration for a band to hold, I've found.)

We head to Red Eyed Fly to meet some friends and hear some bands. We're pleased to happen upon our pal Michael Libramento chill-ly holding down the bass for a should-to-shoulder Natalie Prass set. Afterwards I'm finally able to catch fellow Chicago jammers Twin Peaks and am glad to affirm that those dudes put on a seriously rocking and aptly composed show.

Next we try our luck at the Fader Fort, the ominously imposing makeshift festival-within-a-festival east of the highway. At this point it's officially cold and raining, and folks are crammed underneath the shelter of the main stage tent. We're lucky to score some fancy wristbands and are watching Viet Cong pound out their set from the side of the stage. Their drummer seems unimpeded by the cast on one of his arms, and I give the band much respect for their super heavy, super minimal arrangements. The crowd is equal parts wide-eyed and dumbfounded.

I make my way to Easy Tiger to catch a few folks at a party hosted by the Secretly group. Cool to meet some guys from our label's German distributor and talk a bit about the differing experiences of touring in the US vs touring in Europe, and, subsequently, touring in the UK. (The finer points here would warrant a post all its own for another time.) Making my way through I'm pleased to catch Emily and Dan of Cross Record and hear about their new album in the works at their current home outside of Austin. Looking around at one another, a few of us make light of the practice of accumulating a mess of various wristbands without removing a single one until the bitter end of the long weekend, displaying them like merit badges in the meantime.

One thing I do not get to do this time around is enjoy a meal at East Side Showroom, which, in my mind, is somewhat of a kindred business to Chicago's Longman & Eagle. I've had a great time there in years past.

Instead, our host Jonathan introduces us to Detroit-style pizza via Villa 313, which we enjoy around a patio table at the Violet Crown. The place is comfortably jammed, and the experience is two thumbs up all around. It is the first non-taco meal I've eaten all week.

We feel no need to venture further out to any evening shows and instead retire to Jon and Christine's to wind down. All told, this year's SXSW felt notably mellow, a light theme of our own itinerary that was paralleled by my general observations of the festival as a whole. Not sure if this is statistically true or if I was simply not tuned in to my surroundings. I read that this was going to be a different kind of year while the festival re-tools a bit and figures out how to maintain a more sustainable method for years to come. Maybe their attempts are already at work.

Tomorrow we fly home to Springtime in Chicago, which I couldn't be more glad for. Thanks for reading my accounts of In Tall Buildings' time in Austin. Biggest thanks to Quin Kirchner and Kellen Harrison for helping make the trip a success.

'Til next time.

- Erik

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

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