Austin, we meet again. You’re as wonderful as I remember you.
I got into town yesterday around 4pm. Hotel check in, badge check in, good to go. I’m always amazed at how friendly the volunteers of SXSW are. Everyone is in a good mood and it lasts the whole week during the festival. It’s contagious. Also contagious: eating hamburgers at The Jackalope. Just as delicious and dangerous as I remembered.
Only one show last night, and it was a great one. IFC Film had a party that featured Gomez and The Decemberists. I’ve been a fan of Gomez from the beginning – I think I might have seen their first (or one of their first) USA shows @ Irving Plaza way back when the first record came out. But the problem I have with the band is I sort of forget them between records (there seems to be a longer than usual lag between releases these days for them). But as soon as I see them, I’m reminded how much of a fan I am. They still have the music chops that I’ve come to expect, and their new stuff is a great evolution of their sound.
Next up was The Decemberists. Now, if you’ve spent any time on this site you know they are one of my favorite bands. Actually, it was SXSW many years ago when I saw them for the first time (right around when The Tain came out) and I fell in love. This set was definitely for the fans. Beginning tonight the band is performing their new album from start to finish at shows, but last night was all about the back catalog. Here I Drempt I Was An Architect, The Crane Wife, The Perfect Crime, O Valencia, The Mariner’s Revenge Song and Billy Liar helped make a set list that was nothing short of perfect. 90ish minutes. The venue must have only fit around 400 people, a rare room size for a band that continues to get bigger. The audience was having a great time, The Decemberists were having a great time, everything clicked. Towards the end of the set, SCHED* co-conspirator looked at me and said, “Kill me because the rest of the week can’t get any better.” Well, I’m happy to report that I’m now a wanted man in Texas.
– SXSW music wristbands are all fancy/hologrammy this year
– Heavy metal pizza continues to move locations. This year it’s back on 6th but on the opposite side it used to be.
– St Patrick’s Day was impossible to avoid last night. Whoah.
– Even though my badge says I am from Columbus I will not join you in an OH-IO chant. Sorry, not happening.
– Almost (not really) feel like you’re here with my live updates via Twitter
– You can follow my subject-to-change schedule here.
– Read Chip’s recap here.
Don’t forget! I am part of the music blogger panel tomorrow @ 11AM.