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SXSW: THE SOUNDTRACK TO OUR ROAD TRIP!

Emily Forsythe

we are still in recovery mode from the debauchery that is SXSW. for the few who have never experienced SXSW, it is basically 10 days of constant activity in austin consisting of a 4-day interactive trade show, a 6-night music festival featuring more than 2,100 bands from around the world and a 9-day film festival with more than 400 screenings. our city is also inundated with over 130,000 visitors from more than 87 countries. of the 130,000, we were lucky enough to be visited by two of our dear friends. as you can imagine, many austin residents plan to high tail it out of town or rent out their places for obscene amounts of money, but since we live so close to downtown, we get a kick out of being so close to the action and always weather the storm!

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jared and i have been attending this music festival since the beginning stages of our relationship, so it always makes me feel a bit nostalgic around this time of year; the weather is typically nice, the bands are always good, we travel by bike everywhere and best of all, most everything is FREE! :) makes for a great combination of our favorite things! the spring fever is also in the air for austinites because even though most of the SXSW activities are going on during a regular work week, many offices are ghost towns or people are sneaking out for long lunches just to catch their favorite band play and many employers are tolerant of the SXslacker attitude. on the other hand, there is also quite a bit of networking that goes on during this week.

since jared and i have navigated SXSW for a few years, we have come to notice that in order to really see the bands that you want to see close up, you must start going to shows as early as the monday before the music portion begins. during the day jared and i were able to get in to the spotify house and caught a ‘knock-out’ performance by run the jewels where the leading frontman was taken down by audience member. we were also fortunate to get invited to the GSD&M party, which is always a fun one to kick off our SXSW week! they always have great food trucks, free drinks and live music. this year we were able to see houndmouth and local musician gary clark jr., who i fell in love with! i also somehow managed to get my SXSW sweat on with NY-based spin powerhouse, soulcycle and none other than ryan hemsworth was on the 1′s and 2′s.

on tuesday, i was determined to hear the band that i was dying to see: BØRNS. the lead singer/songwriter, garrett borns is from the great state of michigan, but is now taking up residence in a treehouse (yes, a treehouse!) in the eastern hills of LA. the music group became fairly well known back in the fall when they released their single 10,000 emerald pools and their recent release of their EP, candy has gained popularity too. if you haven’t heard them, you should check them out! 

that night we got the VIP treatment at the DELL lounge at converse’s fader fort, thank to some good friends and were able to see passion pit and enjoy an abundance of drinks and good food! jared turned in early, but my friend, lauren and i were still ready for more! so we dropped by the four seasons to see her husband and rub elbows at the texas film awards after party and then we hopped over to the yahoo lounge at brazos hall to catch an up close and personal show by milky chance, another band that i was hoping to catch during the weeklong festival.

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wednesday was probably the peak of our SXSW experience because it was everything we love about this festival: the serendipitous moments where you see old friends and meet new ones and if you are lucky you run into friends that are well connected and get you in to everything your little heart desires. 

jared and i attended a mid-morning film premiere called ‘the jones family will make a way’ that debuted at the historic paramount theatre downtown. (side note to our dallas friends: this documentary is also showing this weekend at the dallas international film festival). we were invited by our friend, who was a producer on the film and his wife, who is a local photographer. it was an inspirational documentary about a multi-generational gospel band from bay city, tx who after decades of attempts to ‘make it big’ have finally achieved their dream of traveling the world and bringing their energy and sound of decades past to the masses. while at the film, i ran into an old friend who i had not seen in over 6 months and decided to bounce around with her in the glorious spring weather we were having that day! 

we had a successful day of getting into flood magazine’s floodfest at cedar street courtyard to sip on tasty craft cocktails from isla and jam out to the sounds of skinny lister and geographer. then we hopped over tofrank for a juicy dog (always a SXSW tradition!) and washed it down with a delicious brew, then on to hearryan bingham at spotify. to end our night, we jumped over to the youtube party at coppertank and caught future islands and the war on drugs. we ended the night on such a high note by midnight that we just figured it couldn’t get any better so we turned in for the night.

after being on such a music high, thursday ended up being a bit of a bust. then the rains came and it poured, but it certainly didn’t scare any of the music lovers away! house of vans at mohawk was packed on friday for alvvaysBØRNS (another round!), lido and odesza. we were all soaked by the downpour and were freezing cold but still managed to enjoy the show! saturday was the end of our romp and we saw lots of indie shows at empire garage & control room and then ended the night by stopping by perez hilton’s annual showcase at austin music hall where we saw the ting tings and tove lo

some bands old and new that we discovered over the weekend are: big datathe knocksryn weaverbomba estereo (kick-ass, high energy colombian band who was en fuego!), july talk (hands down the wildest and most provocative performance i have ever seen on stage), songhoy blues (four-piece west african rock-n-roll blues jam band who rocks it out…they also happened to have a documentary that premiered at SXSW calledthey will have to kill us first: malian music in exile), the vaccinescathedralssan fermin (and it could just be bc they have a song named ‘Emily’…), mansionairrobert delongkate tempestking tuff,BRONCHO (hailed from our alma mater city of Norman, OK), years & years and too many more to name!

needless to say, SXSW was a good preview of the mix we will be playing on our south american road trip! stay tuned for a personalized playlist!!