[Editor’s Note: Cincy’s Indie/Pop/Americana/Electro band The Seedy Seeds recently ventured to Austin, Tex., for their first performances at the big, annual South By Southwest music festival/conference. We asked them to keep a journal of their adventures for us and they graciously obliged. We’ll be rolling the journal entries out in slices over the next few days. Check out the first installment here. Today’s episode: showcasing and indulging in beans, beers and secret bar spots!]—-
After a failed attempt at breakfast which resulted in tasty OK granola bars instead of tasty tasty waffles, TSS rolled down to the SXSW registration headquarters at the Austin Convention Center. For such a big festival and for so many people doing different things, it was surprisingly organized, and the lines moved surprisingly fast. It seems that the band itself has to check in as a band in the band line, but then every band member has to stand in another line, which is the same line everybody who attends the festival has to stand in to get a wristband.
Not that I mind being AMONG MY PEOPLE, but standing in one line in order to achieve the status of finally being able to stand in a MUCH LONGER line was pretty discouraging at first. However, it was one of those intimidating lines that goes out the door, but you notice that no one is really stopping to stand — they're very, very slowly, but constantly, moving forward. Good news.
We got behind some pipe and drape and were thrust into a corral that was even longer. We were handed a card to fill out. At a table, we found some examples in case we needed help:
And off we went!
For one thing, parking was absolutely not murder. We always seemed to find a spot on the street that was a couple of blocks from where we needed to be. There were oodles of surface lots and garages around the area, but it became clear that most people were probably staying at hotels and didn't bring a car, or left the car at their hotel. Everywhere you turn, a bicycle taxi (and a few actual rickshaws) waits to tote you from one part of the festival to another. Most of the streets were blocked off, but it still allowed traffic through the even-numbered streets — so if you actually need to drive through the downtown area, you can do it without too much cursing.
It’s as though they've had this festival for a while and have worked out most of the kinks, eh?
One bicycle taxiist (taxier?) told us that for Wednesday there were a lot less people here than last time. I'm sure some people chose to skip this year because, oh, I don't know, they LOST THEIR HOUSE, but from my perspective there were still wall-to-wall people.
We found our venue and loaded in the hard way, parking a block away and carrying everything through crowds, through the club, up some stairs, through the club again. The venue, Waves, had two stages and we were playing the upstairs stage that also happened to be kind of outside. Later we would find the secret alley leading to a secret stairway and a secret door that let us virtually throw our gear down the stairs and have it land directly in the van. Next year!
The Seedy Seeds played our offical SXSW showcase — the first of three shows this week — around 10 p.m. The place was smallish but full of people and it was a really good time. Drinking a free beer at your very own showcase, at one of the biggest music festivals in the world, on a rooftop in Texas on a beautiful March evening, surrounded by people who enjoy live music for (mostly) the right reasons — that's a good feeling.
After our show, and after finding the secret stairway to the secret backdoor (and once locating the AMAZING TACO HUT just outside aforementioned back door), we did some snooping around the area. I hung out and chatted a while, enjoyed another ice-cold Lone Star and Dr. Nighthawk, Sir Redhawk and Margaret did some exploring.
We all joined up back at our venue in time to catch our pals Seabird playing the downstairs stage. Seriously, those guys are pretty fantastic and extremely nice guys to boot. This was reportedly the first show with their new drummer and, may I say, he did a bang-up job.
Apologies to Chris, their bass player: you simply didn't make the cut in this photo; I'm afraid there's no evidence that you were even there.
Seriously, though, it was clear that a lot of these venues weren't usually set up to have Rock bands, and so you’d find stages like this where part of the band is virtually in a different room. It did work out though — the volunteers and soundfolks generally had it quite together.
After a second visit to aforementioned AMAZING TACO HUT (really decent burritos for a scant $3) we headed back to the ol' homestead, tired and excited and full of beans.
Why don't you ask Dr. Saint Augustine Nighthawk how amazing everyone felt — and how those around us felt — the next morning after all them tacos and beans?
THE ANSWER IS CLEAR: TERRIFIC.
— Mike, The Seedy Seeds