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SXSW 2012: Day 1

Posted by - 10:08 AM on 03/15/12
For SXSW this year, Adam Pfleider, Eda Alia & I are down in Austin covering shows. We've got our recaps of Day 1 in the replies. Come back every day to read our recaps for this week and follow @apnetatshow for live updates.
 
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10:08 AM on 03/15/12
#2
Paul Tao
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Paul TaoMake sure to follow me on twitter (@paultao) for more up-to-the-minute updates throughout the day if you'd like.

This is my seventh year in a row now attending SXSW, and as every year I dive deeper and deeper into the music industry, it mainly means that unfortunately I have to spend more time every year taking meetings and doing "official" things and less time seeing bands. I do miss my first couple of years at SXSW when I did nothing but see bands every single hour on the hour, but that also means that when I do see the actual shows there, I have to make sure they are worth seeing!

Getting into Austin Tuesday afternoon, I was a day early which afforded me the luxury of having my first night off and free to do whatever I wanted. I went to the Black Iris/White Iris party to catch a few LA bands - namely Harriet, Superhumanoids, Guards and Fidlar. Harriet's confident and heavy indie rock mixed surprisingly well into Superhumanoid's dreamy pop landscape, and Superhumanoids' new tracks sounded amazing. They just finished a tour with Cold War Kids, and are definitely a good band to be on the lookout for soon. Guards is a band fronted by Richie Follin, brother of Madeline Follin of Cults, and you can almost tell even without knowing that there's some kind of relation because quite a few of the songs have a strong Cults vibe to them. Lastly, Fidlar was LA's newest punk rock sensation, who was almost able to start a mosh pit at SXSW, which is a feat unto itself.

After the party, I attempted to see Polica, who I had also seen a month or so ago and absolutely loved, but the line was too long and I had forgotten my badge, so I had to cut my losses after 20 minutes or so. Shame though, as Polica are definitely one of the more exciting new bands out there, especially with their Gayngs connections and R&B influences that has everyone talking about them.

Wednesday daytime was pretty much all meetings and press things for me, as I'm doing the press for an artist called Charli XCX and was with her for a few interviews and a session with Invisible Children and then Yours Tru.ly/MTV Hive. After all of that work though, I was able to make my way through the massive queue to the Hype Hotel.

First off, I can't decide if the free Taco Bell at the Hype Hotel was a good idea or a bad idea. I just want to get that out of the way. Second, the line-up this night was fantastic: Friends, Pond and Miike Snow. Friends are an energetic and catchy dance pop act from Brooklyn who you sometimes can't tell if it's all a joke or not, but that doesn't mean the music and live show isn't fun as hell. A bit of an odd act to play after Friends was Pond, which is basically most of Tame Impala, and therefore play a similar vein of '70s psychedelic rock, although a bit more poppy than Tame's music.

Last on was Miike Snow, who I surprisingly have never seen live before, and who I thoroughly enjoyed. They played through all of the hits, some of the new tracks, and had an almost stadium-level light show going on behind them, which combined with all of the open bar madness to create a pretty intense musical experience at two in the morning. After Miike Snow, I guess you could say the encore was more free Taco Bell. All I can say is: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Lueda AliaUnlike Paul, I have never been to SXSW before, so the entire experience is quite overwhelming. My first day consisted of trying to figure out how everything actually works, which was exciting... despite being a complete and total newbie. I can't say I was/am completely prepared for this festival given that I have never gone before, so my goal for the week is to simply enjoy myself in the good company of friends that I work with, as well as some long-time AP.net friends that have came down to/or live in Austin.

I was picked up at the airport by none other than Adam, who made me this beautiful sign. If that doesn't kick a festival on the right foot, I don't know what does. The two of us quickly caught up on AP.net related things (and we may or may not have been gossiping like two girls in 7th grade...) as he drove me and my friends to a grocery store. Obviously, I loaded up on some Pinot Grigio -- first things first, right? I managed to also buy some fresh vegetables among other things, but the most exciting part was seeing alcohol in a grocery store ... as is usually the case whenever I visit the states! Once that was out of the way, I "quickly" got ready in the hotel room and headed out for a day of madness.

The Terrorbird Media & Force Field PR Party was the first one I hit up. The line-up, which included Youth Lagoon, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Unknown Mortal Orchestra among others, was pretty irresistible, but I was more excited to meet my friends. George Corona and Caroline Borolla quickly got me into the show and I was able to enjoy some of the awesome bands they had booked, all while drinking delicious beer in their company (side-note: I got to meet Jeff Tafolla of Saddle Creek, who is always a gem and helps me set up features here on AP). Youth Lagoon completely killed it, and their performance made me want to go back to my hotel room and listen to the album on repeat. But since I spent a whole lot of money to be here, I decided to just go find some good, greasy, food instead... and continue on my beer intake.

Once I was all buzzed, I headed back to the hotel room to meet none other than Malcom Lacey (arrange), who I love to refer to as my "little child." Meeting him was one of the best parts of the day, so this deserves its own paragraph, even though his dogs ruined my leggings...

The second, and only other show, I hit up was Ghostly International's showcase (Tycho, Mux Mool, Matthew Dear, Shigeto..). Once again, I managed to cut through the line with the help of my lovely friend George, who guest-listed me and my three friends and made it possible for us to attend the show at no charge. Naturally, a round of beers was bought for everyone as I started handing out some Canadian candy that I brought down. We, unfortunately, missed Shigeto's show, which I heard was pretty mind-blowing. I did, however, see Tycho; he put on an incredible performance and it was the best way to end my adventures in downtown Austin on Day 1. Malcom and I definitely enjoyed ourselves (picture here) with all the candy and Lone Star.

On the way to the hotel, we stopped by at the PureVolume House which was completely packed. Seeing AP.net's logo plastered all over the walls of the venue made me feel extremely overwhelmed. Our showcase is the reason I made it down here this year (thank you, student loans!), as I could never forgive myself for missing it. I've been a part of this site for almost 10 years and I've seen it grow so much over the years -- I simply had to make it to our very first SXSW party. I took a picture of the house here, which probably made Jason react like this.

My night ended with some (more) delicious drinks and some questionable pizza from a local place. All in all, it was an overwhelming day in the best way possible. My feet are crying at the thought of spending another 13+ hours around the city, but there's nothing that a little beer can't cure, right?

Follow me on Twitter at @alueda for more n00b details of SXSW.


Adam PfleiderSorry for the late response. I've been Robo-tripping a cold for the past two days and this morning I've felt the worse, and by that, I think my body is finally purging itself of the bulk of compression that's been sitting on my lungs for the past 24 hours. That said, I'm probably going to stay in this morning (going to try and suck it up and catch Narrows before heading to the show I'm putting on tonight.) Besides feeling like complete shit yesterday, the day wasn't a total bust - for the most part.

I woke up to go pick Eda and her friends up at the airport and after dropping them off I headed to the West side of town to catch fun. play a short performance. Now, what I'm about to say is going to be cruel, but it has to be said - so please just bare with me. fun.'s set was acoustic, and absolutely incredible. As far as vocalists go - not only in pop music, but in the contemporary in general, Nate Ruess is pretty untouchable. You can bitch all you want about the slight use of computers on the new record, but he certainly proves himself live. The band is tight as ever. Jack Antonoff can even solo pretty slick on that acoustic. To see such a great performance, boy did I have to sit through some horrible stuff. The opening band, I didn't catch their name, but the one who won the opening slot was pretty good. Loved the rhythms and vocal melodies. As a band who "got a shot at the big time" they were better than what followed. Even as I was well over light-headed from the quarter of bottle of Tussin I had before heading to the showcase, the next three acts either bored me with washed out electronic antics or unmoving songwriting. I attended the whole show with Cameron (cameronisonfire) and I think he said it best, "It's like mainstream pop is trying to grasp the indie sound." It's weak, and not even an overdosge of "purp" could make it sound better.

The night was a way better story. I was helping Keith Latinen put on his Count Your Lucky Stars Showcase. Like Topshelf the night before, there was a ton of "community" (don't forget, it returns tonight) felt across the room. Whether it was the local support of bands like football, etc. or the newest signings from Texas - Innards and Two Knights - about 200 kids both inside and watching from the open window outside - you could feel the intensity that again, away from all the "official," there was something a group of people felt more special about. It doesn't just go for this show, but any show held outside the "official" perimeters of South by Southwest - from warehouses to coffee shops. South by Southwest isn't about where your badge or wristband can get you, it's simply about where you are in the moment. I know most of the bands and have seen just about everyone on last night's roster (all great!), but I do want to point out how Mountains For Clouds blew me away. First time seeing them and hearing them and it was one of the best performances of the week so far.

There's one disconnect I wanted to point out about last night that sort of irked me. I was really stoked to have Chris Simpson's new band Zookeeper play (Mineral, The Gloria Record), as well as Bob Nanna and Lauren LoPiccoo close out the night. I have respect for all these guys for what bands they were in and what bands came after. Besides us older guys and the rest of the bands, both acts had some of the smallest crowds of the night. Maybe I've reached the age where there is a disconnect now from generation to generation, but it just sort of bummed me out. So maybe this is just me being an elitist or someone stuck in the past, but don't forget where your favorite bands took their influence from and I would encourage to catch these special performances when you can.

I'm going to rest up and head out to see Narrows in a few hours. Hopefully I'll be better tomorrow. Shirts For a Cure, Sargent House and the site showcase - tomorrow is packed and I can't wait!
10:21 AM on 03/15/12
#3
Holly HoX!
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Fuckin a, Paul. You got to see some great bands.

Would love to see Gaurds. Recently started listening to his old band Willowz and they are really great. He's a super nice dude as well.

Being from Minneapolis I've been able to see our super-hyped buzz band Polica in person twice and they haven't let me down either time - especially their Valentine's album release show. A good band that's probably going to blow up even more this year.

Pond is so dope. Can't wait for new Tame Impala though...
10:38 AM on 03/15/12
#4
Brissona
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Fuckin a, Paul. You got to see some great bands.

Would love to see Gaurds. Recently started listening to his old band Willowz and they are really great. He's a super nice dude as well.

Being from Minneapolis I've been able to see our super-hyped buzz band Polica in person twice and they haven't let me down either time - especially their Valentine's album release show. A good band that's probably going to blow up even more this year.

Pond is so dope. Can't wait for new Tame Impala though...
I cannot wait for a new Tame Impala record.
10:45 AM on 03/15/12
#5
S9Dallasoz
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Caught Avalanche City, fun., Geographer, Le Castle Vania, SOFI, Charlie Simpson, Dry The River, The Dangerous Summer, and EVE 6 yesterday.

Photos from all of that here:

http://t.co/G1mmDoNE
10:55 AM on 03/15/12
#6
Holly HoX!
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I cannot wait for a new Tame Impala record.

They're saying this year from what I've been reading.
11:03 AM on 03/15/12
#7
thatwasamoment
RICH GANNON WAR WAGON
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i live out sxsw through p.tao every damn year.
11:29 AM on 03/15/12
#8
Brissona
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They're saying this year from what I've been reading.
Yeah I have heard that too, something with the label is slowing down the release... Bla, bla, bla. I just hope that they release it at the right time of year... Innerspeaker hit me right around the beginning of the summer (2010?) and I was instantly in love. Mainly because it was such a fitting record to be listening to at that particular time of year.
11:34 AM on 03/15/12
#9
Holly HoX!
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Yeah I have heard that too, something with the label is slowing down the release... Bla, bla, bla. I just hope that they release it at the right time of year... Innerspeaker hit me right around the beginning of the summer (2010?) and I was instantly in love. Mainly because it was such a fitting record to be listening to at that particular time of year.

Couldn't agree more
11:36 AM on 03/15/12
Lueda Alia
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Mine is up!
11:46 AM on 03/15/12
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Mine's up. someone make me not be sick no more
12:07 PM on 03/15/12
cwhit412
don't ask
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Every SXSW post I see makes me decide even more strongly that I'm going next year.
12:40 PM on 03/15/12
iAMhollyood315
Rest is for the dead
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man i feel there are so many bands i'm unfamiliar with. I have a hard time listening to all the records released that I know about already haha.
02:05 PM on 03/15/12
Dustin Harkins
I hate the Dolphins defense
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So I guess no one from AP caught the surprise Kanye appearance? Haha.
03:39 PM on 03/15/12
chiefjordo
Go Gophers!
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Mine's up. someone make me not be sick no more
Totally agree with you re: Nate and fun. Seen him live 5 times; he's absolutely incredible.

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