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Monthly Archives: March 2012

I don’t know about your whereabouts and whether or not its unseasonably warm where you reside, but I hope you had a nice weekend. Odds are you’re sitting miserably in a cube staring at a painfully boring screen; watching paint peeling off the walls would at least be a change of pace from the mundane Monday 9 to 5.

Frost Bank tower, illuminated by Nike Fuel+ during SXSW

I am officially a full two weeks behind in sharing my glorious SXSW experiences and photos with you, but better late than never. I don’t know how journalists do it – attend the show, snap some photos, get plastered (presumable assumption) and somehow upload, edit and coherently write clever copy with lightning quick turnaround. I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks. Actually, they don’t get paid shit, so I’m not really jealous of their “press credentials.” (Okay, I am a little jealous)

Cults at SAY Media Interactive Party - Speakeasy, March 12, 2012

Cults’ self-titled album is one of the best feel-good bodies of work released in 2011. You Know What I Mean? “Go Outside” and “Oh My God” never fail to remind me of Saturn commercials, you know the ones where people are completely fine with being stuck in a mid-size sedan together. Happy even. Their music is simple, happy and cute and will soon be my soundtrack as I usher in the summery weather. This band should also get an endorsement from Pantene Pro-V – there’s a lot of hair on that stage.

The Warner Sound captured by Nikon SXSW - La Zona Rosa, March 13, 2012

By the grace of god, my employer granted me (and a guest) VIP access to The Warner Sound (captured by Nikon) SXSW residency, which we took full advantage of on opening night. The line-up was stacked, the place was packed, the beer was abundant and we had one hell of a loud, sweaty Tuesday night.

Headliners, Theophilus London and Santigold, killed the crowd with their upbeat hits and crazy energy. I had previously seen Theophilus twice before, but Santigold was hands-down one of the best performances I saw at SXSW 2012. She performs with showmanship, sass and an entourage of oddly-dressed back-up dancers and band members – even a horse (depicted below).

After those two fun performances, a series of DJs and electronic artists blew the roof off – Flux Pavilion being a personal favorite with hard-hitting beats, trembling bass and stage production rivaling a Lisa Frank Powerpoint presentation. On acid.

Theophilus London, The Warner Sound captured by Nikon - La Zona Rosa, March 13, 2012

Santigold, The Warner Sound captured by Nikon - La Zona Rosa, March 13, 2012

Santigold, The Warner Sound - La Zona Rosa, March 13, 2012

Flux Pavilion, The Warner Sound captured by Nikon - La Zona Rosa March 13, 2012

Cults – Oh My God

Theophilus London – Last Name London

Santigold – Creator

Flux Pavilion – Daydreamer

I’ve been waiting for the premiere of The Hunger Games film for quite a while. If you want to keep today’s youth away from drugs, give them The Hunger Games trilogy and they’ll stay off the streets. I consumed all three books in a matter of days – as if they were crack rocks – and have been a  fan of the franchise ever since.

I dressed as Katniss for Halloween last year, but it was a somewhat failed costume attempt considering I was a grown adult surrounded by other grown adults. Additionally, Katniss wears painfully generic clothes so the homemade Mockingjay pin I fashioned out of a hoop earring and what appears to be a parrot only caught the attention of a handful of people. The majority of spectators just asked why I was carrying a bow and arrow around at the bar (which, might I add, made holding drinks and texting incredibly inconvenient).


I decided to wear the subtle accessory to the midnight showing of the movie, opting not to braid my hair as that would appear obvious and a little sad. But upon arrival two hours before curtain, I was ironically disappointed that I wasn’t more dressed up. Austin is already an eccentric city and The Alamo Drafthouse is notorious for its unique events and alternative personality; add the impressive young Hunger Games fanbase and you get quite the variety of Katniss and Peeta interpretations as a result. Even a Trackerjacker!

Alamo Drafthouse also featured this clever menu of Hunger Games-themed fare you could eat – I naturally tried the lamb stew and it was excellent.

Before the movie, an Effie Trinket doppelganger conducted a good ole’ fashioned reaping wishing us ever favorable odds.

These too unlucky tributes were chosen to duke it out with Nerf bows and arrows. That’s Haymitch giving them wise instruction whilst chugging a PBR Tallboy.

I won’t divulge anything about the film because I personally hate spoilers and don’t want to impose any expectations or opinions on you. I just wanted to share one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences I’ve had in a while. If you live in or around Austin, I highly recommend watching the film at one of the Drafthouses so you too can experience the anti-establishment culture of District 12. Compare AMCs or United Artists the Capitol if you will.

And alas, what would this blog post be without a Hunger Games meme? Happy Pink Friday from Effie Minaj!

SXSW 2012 has officially come to a close and my body and mental state are slowly, but surely returning to their normal conditions. The same could be said for the number of Austin bars, coffee shops and parking lots that were temporarily transformed into sponsored wireless hotspots or stages for bands to play on. In a way, I’m thankful that the chaos is finally over; the horrendous traffic, impossible parking situation and the massive influx of visitors are finally gone, but they left a sense of sadness in their wake and I am bummed that I’ll have to wait another 350-some-odd days for the next South By.

I thought it’d be appropriate to begin my series of SXSW wrap-up posts and photos by summarizing how I wrapped up the Interactive portion of the conference last weekend. It was a much-welcomed recovery from the weekend and a great way to start off SXSW Music.

Photo c/o: Hometown Hangover Cure Party on Flickr

Bloody Mary Bar at The Rattle Inn

Austin-based travel company, Homeaway, hosted a clever Hometown Hangover Cure Party at The Rattle Inn last Sunday complete with photo booth, Bloody Mary bar, breakfast tacos, free sunglasses and sleep masks. Ironically, the excess of booze didn’t quite cure my hangover as much as it continued my hazy (but ultimately, happy) day-drunken stupor. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. also performed = two enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Homeaway curing hangovers with more booze

Best Wurst is one of the best food carts (and plays on words) in Austin

South By Interactive Sidenote: Mashable released their first-ever print edition at SXSW Interactive. Clever idea – and my tweet was featured in a Mashable slideshow and resulted in a direct message from Pete Cash Money Cashmore himself!

Mashable print edition debuts at SXSW

Greetings from Mashable CEO and founder Pete Cashmore

I’m pleased to announced that I survived the first weekend of SXSW; the music festival has yet to commence and I’ve already gotten my fill of free live music, free tshirts, free tacos and most importantly, free booze – and it’s only Tuesday! Despite the rain, I had an extremely productive and talent-filled Saturday.

Here are some highlights:

Third Eye Blind - ACL Live at the Moody Theater, March 10

Third Eye Blind at SXSW

I kicked off the weekend with a heavy dose of 90’s alternative nostalgia on Saturday. Third Eye Blind was one of those gateway drug bands that introduced me to an alt-rock universe as a 4th grader. Seeing them live for the first time over a decade later was both nostalgic and surreal, especially now that I know the implications of crystal meth and the “taking sips up into your nose” lyrics.

The band was spontaneous and funny – they even incorporated Calvin Harris’ moody “Feel So Close” and Nelly’s “Must Be The Money” into some of their top singles from their self-titled debut. The band introduced us to two new songs we should expect in the near future and Stephan Jenkins performed barefoot the entire time – at first I found that odd, but figured it was probably typical of 90’s bands. Think about it, Spin Doctors and Everclear? Probably didn’t wear shoes either. 3b ended with gorgeous acoustic ballad, Motorcycle Drive-By and karaoke anthem, Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. Obvious classics to top off a lifetime achievement of mine.

AraabMUZIK at Turntable.fm party - ND 501, March 10

Flying Lotus at Turntable.fm Party, ND 501 Studios - March 10

Saturday night, I was granted VIP access into the tiny ND 501 Studios featuring AraabMUZIK and Flying Lotus. AraabMUZIK’s lightening fast drum beats shook the entire building. With the nimblest fingers I’ve ever seen, AraabMUZIK produced the most impressive electronic dubstep performance I’ve witnessed all year. Masterfully navigating his machinery like a classical pianist, AraabMUZIK raised the standard for DJs and producers with heavy bass and sharp staccatos. Flying Lotus almost blew the roof off the dark, cramped space. Excuse the blurry photos, dark venues are not conducive to good camera phone results.

Slaughterhouse – Hammerdance by AraabMUZIK

Streetz Tonight by AraabMUZIK

Radiohead at Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX - March 2012

If I was forced to decide, Radiohead would probably be my favorite band of all time. I don’t listen to them nearly as often as I used to because I was kind of disappointed by King of Limbs. But overall, their music is rich, complex and some of the most creative stuff I’ve ever listened to.

I have only seen Radiohead once in my life and I will always look back fondly on that summer of 2008. That set consisted almost entirely of songs from In Rainbows, OK Computer and Kid A, which are (in my opinion) the band’s strongest work. I’d argue that that was the best live music performance I have ever been to and knew it would be near impossible to top.

Last night’s performance at the Frank Erwin Center gave my nostalgic memories a run for their money. Though the set list was dominated by new songs, Radiohead’s delivery of such tracks was outstanding. Introverted individual that he is, Thom Yorke surprised us all with his talent (spanning piano, guitar, microphones and maracas), showmanship, humor and eccentric dance moves. He also led his band, complete with two drummers, through an amazing 2-hour set.

With enough electricity to power a small country, the lights and special effects created an ambiance that rivaled a lot of the electronic/dubstep shows that are gaining ground. Hardhitting Kid A tracks, “The National Anthem” and “Idioteque” were juxtaposed by gorgeous hits from In Rainbows, “Reckoner” and “Nude” hypnotizing the thousands of people populating the college basketball arena with their beautiful melodies.

The band also included “These Are My Twisted Words” and “Everything In Its Right Place” in their first encore, which was enthusiastically well-received from the sea of adoring fans.

A haunting (and punny) acoustic version of “Give Up The Ghost” kicked off encore number 2. Lighters and illuminated cellphones abounded while Yorke’s clear and beautiful voice resonated through the stadium. “Paranoid Android” capped off the night with such energy and electricity that  transported us all back to 1997 when we discovered that Radiohead might be the greatest rock band of all time.

Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place