WAND

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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The musical explosion continues!

If the opening night of DRILL was a taste of things to come, Day 2 was a build up to the inevitable explosion that appears to be in store for Saturday’s closing night. With use of the entire building, fans and festival goers had a plethora of choices on either stage. The stairs leading between the venues provided a nice amount of passive exercise as we would either hike up to The Echo or bolt down to Echoplex to catch whichever bands met our fancy. For my part, I ended up spending most of my night downstairs at Echoplex, but I did catch the first two acts at The Echo.

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WIRE brings DRILL back to the West Coast for the first time in 4 years!

When I was seventeen I went to “The Warped Tour” in San Francisco. I had never been to a festival and it was definitely a bit mind blowing. The concept of walking from stage to stage strategically placed in a given area, with an enormous lineup of bands, having to pick and choose which bands to see and which bands to miss, was thrilling to say the least. I continued going to bigger and bigger festivals after that (Coachella, Sasquatch, Treasure Island) until about 2010 when I ultimately began to feel jaded by them and I haven’t been to a single festival since. So here we are in 2017, I am now in my 30s and I’m going to another festival. This one, however, promises to be a whole different experience entirely. Since around 2013, English post-rockers WIRE have been curating a festival called DRILL. The catch with DRILL is that it doesn’t rely on gigantic locations and 100s of bands but, instead, focuses on smaller venues and puts more energy into bringing diverse musical styles and bands, both new and old, together. While, thematically, many of the bands are linked by the post-punk, darkwave, dream pop genre, it is safe to say from past DRILL lineups that it promises to be an exciting and unique experience.

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