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Published: April 2nd 2012
Picture courtesy of Alexandra Gaetano
Music, it binds even the closest of friends together in an unbridled passion. You experience the joy of sound and looking over at your friend, you grab their hand and together you bask in the waves.
South By South West, or simply known to the townfolk, trend-setters, hipsters, nerds, music lovers and music makers alike as "South By"
is an annual devotion of a Texas city to sound and rhythm. Some people swarm to Austin
to be part of the 'new', the 'fresh', the 'unheard', or the next big act or piece of technology. Lexi and I ended up there to see some long time friends and experience the festival and the city before their big move to San Francisco. When else would i be prepared to go to Texas out of pleasure I thought to myself? As good fortune would have it, there gathered a good group of individuals, some knowing of each other, some not, to share the weekend together. Our bedspace took the shape of two homes in Southern Austin, giving us the perfect distance from being able to get into the city on a daily basis to coming home to a quiet spot to
Kev the Robot
Selected out of hundreds of potential volunteers to fulfill the robot dance party
lay our heads and re-gain our energy and some of our hearing abilities.
Night 1 - Take little rocker girls, No Cheese and a 4x4 and you got yourself Japan
I am unbelievably excited to visit the country of Japan
. The culture fascinates me beyond belief. The people seem polite, energetic, honorable and hold a power of gratitude that has inspired me to go see it for myself for quite a while now. So when Andrew mentioned that Japan Night would be the event for the night, I'll be the first to say I was pretty amped. Japanese people playing music. Bring it on. Although no cameras were allowed into the venue as I was not 'important' enough, I let my ears do all the work to soak up the sounds of 'Nokies', pronounced none other than "No Cheese" (which makes me sad because I love cheese). Next strolled on three girls. Think GoGo from Kill Bill. Asian, short skirt, long hair. That was two of them. Then think of dracula, that was the third. And these girls rocked. And when the music stopped, their broken, small-Japanese girl English would enthrall the America audience
with lines like "you like music?"..."We from Japan and we play for you". Never had I heard such music choice come from anyone else other than men with tattoos and long hair. Fascinating. I will not even fathom going into the last band which literally made my ears bleed. Just imagine Oddjob with a top hat cutting a 4x4 piece of plywood with a saw, a near-naked man in a thong painted in Japanese symbols and the bass player from Slayer. Now you got yourself a band.
The first night ended, and the morning began. It was 3am and the streets were filled with drunken idiots, 5 of them being us. The girls had left to go and talk about us in privacy, so only debauchery remained. What trouble could be found on these streets? Could it be in burger size?
Question: What can a corporation do to piss off its patrons to the point of no return you ask?
Answer: Deny a hungry man his burger at 4am. Despicable
After a brief verbal settlement with the Austin police, Whataburger had lost a patron. For Life
Night 2 - Lights. Is that a ray-run tattoo on your hip?
The second day started with meaty deliciousness, Texas style. Following a noon rising, we piled into cars to head 45 minutes outside of the city to The Salt Licks. This place has been serving up massive amounts of barbeque for 45 years, and nothing sits better in your stomach after a night of drinking than a whole cow.
"Order Family Style" was our only guidance as we headed into rooms of family benches filled with happy smiles and happy stomachs. Play some boche before your meal? Sure. byob? Sure, a little freshly squeezed lemonade? Yes please. This place rocked. As for the food. Well, there is something for everyone, except vegetarians obviously. That is clearly one of the few things that Texas and I have in common...love of meat. Unlimited beef brisket, sausage, pork ribs, half chickens, potato salad and coleslaw(I did not indulge in this non-meat atrocity). We were satisfied.
Due to the necessary post-Salt-Licks-coma-nap, we ended up getting to the busy streets of SXSW later than anticipated. Lines had started forming at all of the popular
Pete Digging In
Picture courtesy of Alexandra Gaetano
venues and we paid a cover for a bar with some Czech-style DJ beats. Although it was not a choice for the whole night, it did bring back some fun Eastern European memories which are obviously ingrained within my body and mind. I felt like if I am a dormant Russian assassin experiment, this would be the type of music that would flip the switch. Consider yourself lucky South By...this time.
Our fine hosts stepped up again to pick a different venue, and we ended up at a bar listening to the beats of a girl who legally changed her name 'Lights'. WIth a mellow voice and some sick beats, she ripped up the stage with a mix of vocals, experimental electophonics and ample dancing. We reverberated. Only later did I learn of this girls geekyness. Tattoos of a her WOW character, a space-ray gun and Final Fantasy along with a fine body just elevated her into my top 10 celeb list. Props. Matt, Pete, Florencia, Kevin, Steph, Andrew, Lexi - thanks, that was sweet time
Random Highlight - being picked up in an SUV by two high-school kids and paying for a
ride home when no taxis were in sight. Jaggers and Skeeter (I'm sure these were their names at birth) were truly doing a great deed for society. Thanks for not killing us.
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