This afternoon we played our last show of SXSW. It was quite a week. My arms are sore from lugging around gear and my feet are sore from roaming the sidewalks to venues and far off parking. Yet, it has easily been one of the best south by experiences yet.
This year I made a point to not sweat SXSW. It might be an underlying feeling of confidence or timing, but the results were very good. This is the first year with our brand spankin new manager in tow and that was really nice. He didn’t help load, but he did help make some good connections and I think get us on the right foot to start really establishing the business side of the band.
The shows were also much better this year. Almost every show felt like people actually came to see us. I say that with a bit of reservation but it really is the truth. There is an insane amount of competition. It is like a mini-internet in real life, full of ads and content all vying for your attention. As a band when you play shows, you usually hope that the band before or after you is someone people want to see because it is doubtful you’ll actually get many people out to see you unless you are really popular. No one sees the 11th result and the same is true at SXSW in terms of bands. This is why each show felt so amazing and why we felt very grateful. There were always people there, with most being reasonably crowded. It made us feel like we might be doing something right and that there were opportunities that haven’t shown up just yet. The future looks bright and I’m really happy about that.
Beyond playing a huge amount of time was spent lugging around equipment and parking the van. So much time in fact that eating became something of a luxury. A lack of real food along side a wealth of free beer and a desire to have something cool to drink meant feeling light headed a few times. After playing it is something of a rush, so it is easy to grab a beer and drink it down pretty fast and quickly look for another one. I’m not one to intentionally drink too much, but it sure can be easy to feel a bit tipsy when your last meal was a taco the night before and you realize it is 5 in the evening. I’m pretty sure I lost a pound or two from the mixture of physical work and avoiding nourishment. That said, I’m on a mission to score a sausage dog sometime tonight ;) The best part of SXSW though is just hanging out. You see old friends and make new ones. You see famous people walking around and it doesn’t even matter because that is just part of the experience. Even though some may consider SXSW nothing but corporate slime making an effort to sway taste makers in their corner, the reality is people make the festival something worth going to. I’m already looking forward to next year!