SXSW 2009 in Review
Vanessa and I flew into Austin late Wednesday night and immediately hit the hay so we’d be in peak form for Thursday’s SXSW festivities. We woke up feeling spry and began our day with Pete’s Original Breakfast Tacos, followed by a steady stream of bloody marys and Pabst Blue Ribbon at the Red Eyed Fly.
We were startled when embedded NadaMucho reporter (and At the Spine frontman) Mike Toschi appeared in long pants and a hooded sweatshirt. Not one to judge, I gave him a hug and welcomed him to join us for beverages. There was music playing but we didn’t pay much attention. We were more concerned with hydrating ourselves for the long day ahead.
After enjoying a few drinks on the patio while J Tillman sound checked, we scampered to the Radio Room for Daniel Johnston. A huge throng of onlookers gathered in eager anticipation of the brilliant, sweat suit wearing songwriter.
Like most Daniel Johnston shows, the concept was better than the actual performance. He was backed by a cookie-cutter hipster band who managed to drown out the words, a silly thing to do considering the lyrics are the only reason we listen to Daniel in the first place. Thankfully, the hipster band left him alone for a few songs and we got to hear a beautiful rendition of “Living Life” with simple acoustic guitar accompaniment. That alone made the show worthwhile.
We left knowing we would likely end up at one of the 35 venues The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were playing that day. The strategy backfired, however, when our quest led us to a rooftop bar where a drag queen was having limited success entertaining a subdued crowd who likely came for the free Red Stripe.
We slowly backpedaled away and hustled back to 6th Street just in time to see Lucero and the Hold Steady rock Red 7. (Mike was now wearing a breathable cotton T-shirt rather than the curious hoodie he was sporting earlier.) As the Hold Steady blasted through a joyous set of sing-along anthems, we joined the rest the crowd in lifting our Lone Star tall boys to the sky.
With nothing but beer in our bellies, Vanessa and I were ready to enjoy an authentic Texas meal. Luckily, our friends Brian and Jessica were excited to introduce us to a fabled BBQ joint called Saltlick out in hill country. The place did not disappoint.
While Vanessa and I ordered the brisket and sausage platter, Brian and Jessica each ordered a family meal… for themselves. The family meal, which is basically an entire pig resting on a bed of cow, is intended to feed an entire family, not one person.
Regardless, we all happily dipped into our meats and drifted off into peaceful food comas that lasted the rest of the night.