Disclaimer: This isn't necessarily a review but a series of personal experiences from SXSW. Look out for a post festival coverage after SXSW.
My journey to SXSW started at 4am. While some attendants arrived at Austin the night of Monday or a week prior, many others like me woke themselves in the dark morning hours to make their flights. Part one of my trip departed at 6am from JFK to Washington and from there, a connection to AUS. Young men and women were spotted at the gate to Austin with their suitcases stuffed by guitars, DJ equipment and other important devices. Everyone waited patiently while exchanging glances of “yeah, you too?".
11:21am, I landed. Action and productivity didn’t start right away. I met up with a friend, Effie—she’s the pink haired Asian girl that’s performing/supporting vocals for Brooklyn’s electro-funk duo French Horn Rebellion at SXSW. We all know girls take a long time to get ready and that’s what happened for four hours. Effie and I had to freshen up, aka lots of girl talk and slowly putting our faces on. Effie’s from Brooklyn as well. I met her through recognizing her vibrant hair at various shows. We connected after her response to one of my very desperate tweets seeking for a place to stay on Tuesday night. She generously offered a spot on her hotel bed and I offered to play her publicist everywhere we went. It was a mutual exchange in a way.
As we finally arrived at the Austin Convention Center to pick up our badges/wristbands, it was already around 5pm. We went out with Fat Tony, Tom Cruiz, Shawn Neon and their friends to Flemmings, where the happy hour meal and drinks were only $6. Fat Tony is pretty busy this SXSW with playing multiple showcases. One of them is tonight – 12am at the Young Ones Showcase.
After departing from the boys, Effie and I went on a petty cab to a private Roc Nation party at Raptor House. Just kidding, our petty cab didn’t really take us there. We trekked halfway with our 6 inch heels because our female bicyclist had no idea where the destination was. That was an experience but anything for, you know, Jay Z’s label (Roc Nation). The lineup was a secret and part of me was hoping Solange Knowles would perform. Those expectations immediately went away when we saw free food presented on a fancy catering table along with a full open bar next to the stage. When we walked in, LA’s hyped indie rock band, Hunter Hunted, was sound checking. It must have taken them an hour but the anticipation was worth it. Hunter Hunted provided a warm welcome- to-our- backyard ambiance with their beautiful harmonies and wholesome alt-rock energy as the sun disappeared behind the stage overlooking the rest of Austin. They were the perfect band to set off my SXSW adventures and everything was even better when they covered “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies.
From the Roc Nation party, we headed for Viceland. The lien for Viceland was ridiculously long and the venue was ridiculously packed. We only stayed for 15 minutes so I’m not sure what band was playing. On the plus side, Viceland has an open bar and a photo booth. Yay! We walked over to The Hype Hotel after Viceland. All parties at The Hype Hotel are sponsored by taco bell and they are really pushing the cool ranch Dorito taco campaign. I must have had 5 of those that night. From as much as I can remember, they were not too bad. Also couldn’t remember what bands were playing at The Hype Hotel. Sorry! The Hype Hotel also has free booze.
My only goal for Tuesday was to somehow end up at the Body High party and we did just that. This party was held on a rooftop and it was crowded by what seemed to be the “cool url” scene, plus a few bros. Obey City played a set followed by a back to back with Brenmar and DJ Sliink. Everyone went ape for Brenmar and Sliink, especially my booty dancing friend, Jpage.
Bars close at 2am in Austin, which is much earlier from what New Yorker’s are used to. We close at 4am. Even though it was only 2, I was already exhausted and things got a little blurry. Effie came from a separate party and arrived to pick me up with Weekend Money. Effie knew of an after-hours club so we all headed there, Music Gym. Music Gym used to be an old school speakeasy and now it seems like an abandoned crack house with occasional raves, eye level lasers and free vodka. It was uncomfortable but kind of amazing at the same time. After an hour, my body let out and the boys in Weekend Money drove Effie and I home. Thank you Ne$$ for making sure I didn't falling everywhere. That was the end of day 1 at SXSW. Follow me on twitter for details of what I’ll be getting into today!