Our second full day at SXSW started out exactly like the first: with an hour long wait for the bus (this bus was supposed to run “at least once an hour” – did we always walk down at exactly the wrong time?) and a trip to Chi’Lantro. I was skeptical about their Kimchi Fries at first but after three straight days of them as my breakfast I think it’s safe to say I was proved wrong. This food truck was just one star in the vast offerings of SouthBites, which housed many different offerings from Austin’s diverse culinary menu.
After enjoying our Korean BBQ we headed into the conference center for our first day of panels. The highlight of our day was a SXSW interview with the insanely talented, articulate and beautiful Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent.
She recently released a self-titled album that explores the complex and sometimes troubling relationship between humanity and modern technology. Clark, who dropped out of Berkley School of Music after three years of study, is one artist who thinks very deeply about her vision as an artist and articulates her intent with an unprecedented confidence. Describing the music she creates as a series of “pools of color” led into a discussion of synthesizing analog and digital music. She explained that to her, a multi-instrumentalist, each instrument or computer is simply a tool to create what she’s envisioning in her mind. Her new album, as well as her previous ones, embrace all forms of music making from her main instrument electric guitar to the theremin and mini-Moog.
We all walked out of St. Vincent’s interview in a daze and meandered down the hall to the next panel, “Bad Ass Concert Marketing: Pack the F#cking Room”. Unfortunately for us, the people running this panel were not messing around and were super good at their job – we could not get in due to the room being filled to capacity!
The evening time meant another trip to SouthBites and some hard decisions. Over dumplings and gourmet doughnuts we discussed a plan of action for the showcase-packed night ahead. Finally, we decided to post up at Stubbs for the NPR Music showcase that would eventually feature our beloved St. Vincent. There was a great showing at this fun outdoor venue.
Perfect Pussy – This band was on every “10 Bands You Have To See At SXSW 2014”. They were punk, intense, from New York.
Kelis – Ok…If you recognize her name as the singer of the 2003 classic hit “Milkshake” then you need to just take a step back and hear me out for a minute. This woman was AMAZING. Not “haha I loved ‘Milkshake’…such a throwback!” but “Woah, this funky lady has a voice that supports this full band behind her.”
St. Vincent – As I gushed about before, St. Vincent really has a way of embracing technology (her choreographed movements during the show are comparable to an automaton) while still tapping into very deep, real human experiences. Her music has gone through many transformations (so has she!) and she really came out on top of our SXSW experience.
After the NPR Music showcase we booked it over to Rainey St. to catch the end of the Frenchkiss Showcase. We only caught the last band, but the show was a blast.
Twin Peaks – A band from Chicago that has been on tour with The Orwells. Garage rock mixed with surprisingly catchy melodies that shift from body slamming to swaying your head. Their self titled album is a little hard to find on the internet because of the popular TV show soundtrack by the same name, but you can find their music at http://twinpeakschicago.bandcamp.com/ . I caught a picture with them and look like a cheeseball.
As a final note, some readers may have heard about the drunk driving incident that occurred this night in Austin. We were very saddened by the events on Red River St. that night, especially at a festival so dedicated to collaboration and celebration. Our thoughts remain with the victims and hope a tragedy like this never plagues SXSW or Austin again.