Living the good life, I left for dead the sorrowful Midwest

After much napping and laundry, I've begun to recover from SXSW. There'll be more blogging to come but I wanted to post a couple updates. First, there are the bands that we saw on Friday and Saturday:


- 28 North
- Smith Westerns
- Electric Child
- OFF!
- The Vaccines
- The Kills
- TV on the Radio
- Young the Giant
- Apex Manor
- Josh Ritter
- Twin Shadow
- Goldheart Assembly
- The Answering Machine


- Man Man
- Middle Brother
- The Felice Brothers
- Bright Eyes
- The Rural Alberta Advantage
- Jukebox the Ghost (again)
- Army Navy

Second, I wrote a piece about my trip over on this blog, where they actually pay me to do such things. It even has a couple photos so go check it out.


So many Mike

I've been pretty busy eating, sleeping and seeing bands and haven't had time to blog. I want to keep a list of bands I've seen so far so I don't forget:


- The Romany Rye
- Jessica Lea Mayfield
- Apache Relay
- Hayes Call
- Caitlin Rose
- Jason Isbell
- The Civil Wars
- Withered Hand
- Kid Canaveral
- Errors
- Twin Atlantic
- Admiral Fallow

Yes that was just Wednesday.


- Colin Stetson
- Tuneyards
- Khaira Arby
- Wild Flag
- The Joy Formidable
- Noah and the Whale
- Jukebox the Ghost
- Emmylou Harris
- The Old 97s

I think that's it for those days. I'm already 3 bands into Friday so there is more to come!
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I guess I got just what I wanted and all I wanted was a glance

Well our plans to take it easy at SXSW last night where thrown out after we got back from awesome barbecue at The Salt Lick. We stopped by the apartment for a few minutes but managed to avoid a meat coma and headed out on the town.

First stop was the Bat Bar where we caught Dry The River and the much-hyped shoegaze band Fences. They weren't our favorite band of the night, but we did see Michael Cera catching their show, too, so hipster bonus points for us!

Next up was a great set from The Boxer Rebellion and finally to a crowded Emo's for a funky dance set from Gold Panda. We made it home a little after 2 am and now we're gearing up for more!


When the sun goes down in Austin town that's when I know I'm home

So I made to Austin with little trouble. Our apartment is all ready to go and I've managed to fortify myself with a chili dog and a margarita. Tonight might be about barbecue and catching up with friends than music but the SXSW adventure has begun.
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No one man should have all that power

Well, it's (sorta) official if you believe the video below. Kanye will be playing a show at SXSW Saturday night. I still haven't heard about my VIP passes, though. Bummer!


My furs is Mongolian, my ice brought the goalies in

So there's a rumor that Kanye West will play a surprise show in Austin during SXSW. He released this video at the beginning of March that started all the hubbub:

So now I have to decide if I dare treck over to the Seaholm Power Plant at midnight on Saturday to see if this is real. I'm tempted, but I've been burned by Kanye before so I'll probably pass unless, you know, he wants to give me a VIP pass. Call me, Yeezy!


The train is riding down to the station where I lived when I was a cool kid

I've been sorting through the list of bands playing at SXSW for a couple months now. With more than 2,000 of them playing and a schedule that seems to be constantly shifting, it can be a big job. What I've noticed from the weeks of listening, though, is how great almost all the bands are. Maybe my experience vetting bands for the MidPoint Music Festival had me bracing for worse acts, but it seems like I'd be happy to hear almost any band playing at SXSW. I'm sure we'll see how I really feel about that in a couple weeks.

With that in mind, I present the 10 bands I'm most excited to see at SXSW. My main caveats were that I wanted to choose acts I'd never seen play live before and to try and focus on smaller, newer acts*. So here they are in no particular order:

  • Admiral Fallow - Scottish and sad, they sound a little like Frightened Rabbit. These guys are right in my musical wheelhouse. They're also playing a Tuesday night showcase so hopefully they'll be one of the first bands I see.
  • The Civil Wars - A bluesy couple from Alabama, much like my friends Jeff and Meggan who'll be hanging out with us in Austin. Maybe that's why I want to see these guys so much.
  • Apex Manor - Colin Meloy mentioned this band in a tweet so I checked out the album. That's what kind of a sucker I am. Nice stuff, though, but I've only seen one show scheduled so far so it might be difficult to actually see them.
  • Jukebox the Ghost - A poor man's Ben Folds? Perhaps. Jukebox the Ghost is from DC and I've been a fan for a few years so even though they don't fall into my "new act" rule I really want to check them out.
  • Okkervil River - An Austin band with a couple albums under their belt and a much anticipated new release just around the corner. This might be the hardest show for me to get to what with all the crowds. I guess it will make me decide how much I really want to see them.
  • The Vaccines - There is a ton of buzz from this British band. Are they the next Arctic Monkeys? Does it matter? All I know is they rock and since their big song is only 85 seconds long, they shouldn't have to play for too long anyway.
  • Lars and The Hands of Light - I know like three words in Danish (two of them are mildly offensive) but I figure I can try them out on a Danish band. I just typed in Denmark in the SXSW schedule and these guys popped up. Turns out they sound pretty good, too. Score! (That's Danish for "score".)
  • Young the Giant - Loud and melodic, they're another band with a lot of buzz. They also seem to be playing about every day party in town so I should be able to catch at least one of their shows.
  • Noah and the Whale - I'm really not sure why I haven't heard of these guys before. They're right there in the dictionary under "Sad & British." I'm actually worried they might be too sad for me. Too sad! Is that possible?
  • Childish Gambino - Do you know Donald Glover? The black guy from Community? The one who started a Twitter campaign to be cast as Spiderman in the new movie? It turns out he raps, too, under the name Childish Gambino. No, he does serious rapping, not jokey, jokey rapping. I'm in no position to tell you if he's actually a good rapper, I just know I find it oddly compelling. I can't promise that I'll make it to his showcase, but I kind of hope I do.
You can hear tracks from most of my list (and more) over there on the right on my SXSW music player. 

*Bands that I still hope to see but haven't made my official top 10 include: Hayes Carll, Darren Hanlon, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Jessica Lea Mayfiled, The Answering Machine and The Head and The Heart.