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2008 South by Southwest Diary Day 2: Presented by Cocker Spaniels & State Farm Insurance

Posted by March 22nd, 2008 No Comments »

SXSW Day 2 Recap
Thursday, March 13
By Dan Lurie 

Today begins with breakfast tacos at Mi Madres. (Don’t worry, it’s a restaurant – I’m not going to spend the entire festival hanging out with my parents.)

Friends from the Pacific Northwest have swooped into town and we spend our morning pouring over an 85-page Excel spreadsheet prepared by my pal Jessica. It’s color-coded to indicate free shows, free food, free alcohol, and performer importance. This document would cost well over $100 to print at Kinkos.

We map out a loose itinerary for the day, then mount borrowed bicycles, and like a Super Special Olympics racing team, rumble awkwardly down the road towards 6th street. My bike, a baby blue Free Spirit, has a flat tire. Only I don’t know it yet.

The first band is Destroyer, playing the Paste/Stereogum Party at Volume. The event is sponsored by Southern Comfort. Who needs electrolytes when you can drink SoCo on the rocks to hydrate after a long bike ride?

After fully appreciating Dan Bejar’s impressive hair, we catch a quick glimpse of WHY? under the Brooklyn Vegan tent, then move on to the Dirty Dog, highlighted on our spreadsheet in burnt sienna to indicate free BBQ.

On stage are Eli “Paperboy” Reed and his band of merrymakers. Though he bares a striking resemblance to my State Farm agent, Reed musters up the necessary white-boy soul to wail and croon as if the weight of the world rests on his shoulders. (Perhaps the life of a State Farm agent is more harrowing than I initially thought.)

While pondering these feelings, I shimmy to the back of the bar and make a pulled pork sandwich with slaw.

Our group splits up; I have some plans “off the beaten path.” But before I stray too far from civilization, I check in on Rogue Wave at the Flamingo. The tiny venue is pretty well packed, possibly due to the band’s recent success on commercial radio. Or maybe it’s the fact that at least three of its members have full-fledged moustaches. That’s reason enough for me to stick around.

Next up is Cocker Spaniels at Progressive Coffee. Thinking it would be a good idea to check out a smaller, local showcase, I make the short trek across the highway to San Marcos Street.

Cocker Spaniels (aka Sean Padilla) takes to the floor, but before the set begins, he informs all in attendance (or in line for macchiato) that he will hunt down anyone who’s not paying attention.

He then commands our attention by opening the show with a foot-stomping, knee-slapping self introduction.

The set is playful and entertaining, with the banter almost overshadowing the songs at points. But CSpaniels (as the true fans call him) knows how to work a half-empty coffeehouse. Sensing a lull in the action, he unleashes his bread-and-butter tune, “The Only Black Guy at the Indie Rock Show,” and all is right in the world, well except for poor Sean, who once again is the only black guy at the indie rock show.


I make my way back to the bikes and meet up with my lady friend Vanessa. We saddle up and begin peddling towards the river and the welcoming banks of Auditorium Shores where Spoon is poised and ready to put a few nickels in their jukebox of hits.

That’s when I notice the flat tire.

I gingerly pull to the side of the blocked-off road and we lock our bicycles to a parking meter.

Fatigued, and without proper transport, we pass on the Spoon show and place the emergency call to my parents for a lift home.

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