SXSW

At The Drive-In’s surprise appearance at Mohawk was just one of the moments that made SXSW 2017 memorable.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In. All photos by Dakin Hardwick.

Every year in mid-March, music nerds from around the globe gather in downtown Austin to test their ability to handle long lines, blisters, alcohol poisoning, and dead cell phone batteries. Why? To get that first scoop on the “it” band of the year? To luck into a once-in-a-lifetime music experience with their all time favorite band? Masochism? Shit, I don’t know. Every year I say it’ll be my last, but I keep coming back. Maybe it’s the barbecue for me. Maybe it’s Austin: the worst kept secret in Texas. Without the quirks and charm of Austin, this music festival would just be ordinary — and like every other year, SXSW 2017 was definitely not ordinary.

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32 bands in five days. My feet still hurt.

All Photos by Dakin Hardwick

For those who aren’t in the know, SXSW is a conference in Austin, TX. It’s a place where folks in the technology, film, comedy, and music worlds come together and share ideas. The music portion is the primary reason why I come down, because it gives you an opportunity to see a large amount of music, often crossing dozens of genres, all in intimate venues all across town. This year, I feel like I “took it easy” and managed to see 32 different bands during the week (I saw Lizzo and Bleached both perform twice. You’d want to, too, if given the chance).

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on all 32 bands that I saw, in venues ranging from a donut shop to a lakeside amphitheater.

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SXSW is the first significant music festival of the year. It’s sort of a teaser for what music is going to take over for the rest of the year. It’s primarily young bands fighting to get heard by the right people, alongside bigger bands there to entice you to check out the little bands. There is also, however, a small slice of bands from yesteryear that pick a SXSW appearance to simply scream, “WE ARE STILL ALIVE AND WE ACTUALLY HAVE A NEW RECORD OUT!” This is an assortment of my favorite bands that have picked 2017 as their year to make a return. 

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Charles Bradley Shows us How it's Done

Charles Bradley Shows us How it’s Done

Chris Farley is my spirit animal. Not in a tears of a clown kind-of-way, or a Patrick Swayze dance-off kind-of-way. But in the way where I would be the perfect sidekick to Chris in “The Chris Farley Show”. I’d agree with him and all his qualifiers – yes, when Sir Paul McCartney was in the Beatles, that was definitely “cool.” I could have taken the show on the road with Chris, maybe even done some local interviews:

“Remember that time that you played Treasure Island. And it was, like, really cold?”

“Remember that time you brought that guy on stage to rap ‘Protect Yo Neck? Yeah. That was cool”. [read the whole post]

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Josh Staples, Judah Nagler and Casey Deitz of The Velvet Teen

Josh Staples, Judah Nagler and Casey Deitz of The Velvet Teen

Maybe it’s weird to be excited to stalk your favorite local band to Texas, but what can I say? I’m pretty weird and I have a long history of practically stalking The Velvet Teen. So what if it’s been almost 5 years since they’ve released any music? Unfortunately, that has kind of been their pattern since I discovered them in 2001, so why would I lose my faith now? The real question is, how do I convince you to have the same faith that this is where you should spend your precious SXSW time? I think the only way is to take you through, step by step, of how this band has changed, and been great every part of the way. [read the whole post]

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A smiling Del

As a kid I was shy. Painfully so. I distinctly remember having a friend in pre-school who didn’t talk. It was by choice, not by some lack of ability, that she didn’t say one word. I enjoyed our time together. Complete silence and yet there was a comfortable communication between us.

And so to me, walking into a room of strangers is absolutely terrifying. A faceless crowd of unknowns. Frightening. So, by all transitive properties a visit to SXSW should be awful, right?
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Spinning Platters SXSW 2014 Report: 34 Instant Band Reviews

March 20, 2014

I didn’t go to SXSW last year. And I, literally, spent all of 2013 being sad about it. SXSW is like live music Disneyland. Sadly, complete with the lines and the getting frustrated about all of the people with Fast Passes cutting ahead of you. However, if you play your cards right, you can see […]

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SXSW 2013: A Diary Of A “Crafty Veteran”

March 29, 2013

Having been dubbed a “crafty veteran” by one local bystander, there are a few certain truths that I have discovered seven years deep into South By South West culture. 1) Always carry your phone charger because the battery will die; the ABC’s (Always Be Chargin’) as we here at Spinning Platters like to call it. […]

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SXSW Review: The Best & Worst of SXSW 2013

March 26, 2013

Now that we’ve all had time to recover from a week’s worth of sun damage, get our voices back, and forget about the hours spent driving through the lonely west Texas desert, it’s time to reflect upon another year of SXSW. While everyone’s experience is different under the Austin sun, these are my recollections as […]

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SXSW Review: Daptone Records Showcase at The Moody Theater at ACL-Live, 3/14/13

March 25, 2013

A Victim of Love and Circumstance While at SXSW, there is one definitive. You will be taking a chance. It will be choosing between two seemingly excellent showcases, hoping you made the right choice. It will be seeing a performance you know little about, hoping to uncover a hidden gem during the six-day event. All […]

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