March 07, 2013

Dirt Cheap Guide to SXSW 2013

Yes, it's THAT time of year again. RSVP links are hitting Twitter, inboxes are filling up with releases from PR companies you've never heard of and wistful think pieces are beginning to crop up all over the web. It's the week before SXSW and if you're a fan of music (or popular culture in general), you've been hearing about the year's biggest music orgy with increasing regularity for the past two months. Hopefully you've made up your mind about whether or not you'll be heading down to Austin, TX next week (if not, you better hurry up and request a few days off from work, and a few more to recover from the resulting hangover).

This year marks my third trip down south and, as usual, I'm heading into the city-spanning festival without an official badge or wristband. Unless you're an industry type who needs access to every single showcase or want to see Justin Timberlake perform an intimate show in an abandoned tortilla factory, you simply don't need those exorbitantly priced credentials. And get this: even if you do pony up for one, you'll probably still have to wait in some lines (which will transform you into one of the grumpiest assholes in all of Austin).

As you've probably heard before, it's possible to see a ton of music (and eat a bunch of tacos and drink an unhealthy amount of booze) without spending a dime. If you don't believe me, just ask Oh My Rockness, South by Free Noms or the Wild Honey Pie. Sure, you're going to have to do a little bit of work. But by "a little bit of work," I mean that you'll have to type your name and email address into several online forms in order to RSVP for free parties and showcases. If that seems too hard, just imagine that you're writing tweets or posting Facebook statuses in return for free music, beer and food. Or just don't bother coming, you lazy bastard.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the festival (aside from finding inconspicuous places to apply another layer of sunscreen) is the sheer number of options that you're presented with over the course of a day. With this list, I've tried to narrow down the daytime options (which is when the majority of the free festivities take place) as well as provide some insight on worthwhile evening diversions. This is by no means comprehensive as some parties have yet to release detailed set times for their performers, but I'll try to update accordingly. So, if you're headed down to Austin next week, you'll likely find me hanging out at these events:

Wednesday 3/13

Paste Stages on 6th (508 E 6th St)
This party runs Wednesday through Saturday, but the first day's lineup is the most impressive. Get there early to catch Guards (1PM) and Foxygen (2PM). Usually this party gets fairly packed by mid-afternoon, but if you're not interested in hopping to another show, Matthew E. White (4PM) and Shout Out Louds (5PM) are worth waiting around for.

Under the Radar Party @ Flamingo Cantina (515 E 6th St)
An alternative to the Paste party (and so close that you can probably hop between the two early in the day) this three-day series of shows gets off to a strong start on Wednesday, roping in Shout Out Louds (1:35PM) and Marnie Stern (2:25PM).

CoSigns @ The Parish (214 E 6th St)
Currated by Consequence of Sound, this party's lineup gets progressively better as the afternoon wears on. You should arrive by 3PM to get a spot for Jacco Gardner (3:30PM) and then prepare to have your eardrums assaulted by Thurston Moore's latest project, Chelsea Light Moving (5PM).

BV Chicago + Epitonic Day Party @ Swan Dive (615 Red River St)
Last year's multi-day Brooklyn Vegan party at Hotel Vegas was one of the best spots for free booze and a killer lineup of bands. This one is being thrown by the Chicago branch of the popular blog, featuring local talent like Twin Peaks (3:45PM) and JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound (5:15PM). Meanwhile, Epitonic will be bringing in The Benard Lakes (4:30PM) and Generationals (5:15PM).

Windish Agency SXSW Music Kickoff @ Red 7 (611 E 7th St)
You're going to have to start lining up for this one early, as it's probably the biggest free showcase of the evening. If you manage to make your way in, stick around for Mister Lies (8PM), The Thermals (11:30PM) and CHVRCHES (12:30AM).

Brainfeeder Showcase @ Empire Automotive (604 E 7th St)
This one kind of popped up at the last second, but it seems as if you'll be able to get in sans badge or wristband (no guarantees). The party kicks off at 8PM, and features sets from Brainfeeder associates like The Gaslamp Killer and Captain Murphy.

Thursday 3/14

Paste Stages on 6th (508 E 6th St)
As on Wednesday, the Paste shindig seems like a good place to start your day. Grab your first beer of the day and then post up for back to back sets from Mount Moriah (1:30PM) and Thao and the Get Down Stay Down (2PM).

MOKB Presents Vaya Con Tacos 3 @ Peckerheads (402 E 6th St)
As the name suggests, there will be tacos. There will also be sets from Sam Flax (2PM), Free Energy (5:30PM) and Pokey LaFarge (6:30PM). Also, tacos.

Pitchfork Day Party @ 1100 Warehouse (1100 E. 5th St)
This seems like the lineup to beat on Thursday and, as such, (apologies to Pitchfork, but Austin Psych Fest wins) may warrant camping out all throughout the day. Showing up early will mean catching sets from Rhye (12:25PM), Mikal Cronin (2:05PM) and Parquet Courts (2:30PM)while staying through the afternoon will allow you to catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra (3:45PM), Foxygen (4:45PM) and Youth Lagoon (5:30PM).

Converse x Thrasher Death Match @ Scoot Inn (1308 E 4th St)
Another stacked lineup on Thursday afternoon, featuring back-to-back sets from the likes of Bleached (2PM), King Tuff (3PM), Chelsea Light Moving (4PM) and The Black Angels (5PM).

Austin Psych Fest Presents Levitation @ Hotel Vegas (1500 E 6th St)
Who ever booked this four-stage day party earned their paycheck. This lineup manages to best Pitchfork's, bringing in a host of band to trip out over all afternoon long. Sailor Jerry is a sponsor, so the booze is sure to be flowing liberally. Commence band list: Buffalo Killers (3PM), Akron/Family (4:15PM), Stagnant Pools (4:15PM), Jacco Gardner (4:30PM), Helado Negro (4:30PM), Suuns (5PM), The Black Lips (6:30PM) and Besnard Lakes (6:45PM). 

Fader Fort (1101 E 5th St)
Those of you who were quick on the trigger when the Fader Fort RSVP opened up last week have a ton of free alcohol and music to look forward to. Those of you who weren't should hang out around the wristband line and try to snag somebody's +1. Thursday's lineup is stacked thusly: CHVRCHES (1:30PM), Cayucas (4:30PM), DIIV (6:45PM) and Solange (7:30PM).

Blackout Booking Showcase @ Headhunter's (720 Red River St)
If you're looking for highly affordable evening plans, toss in a few shekels in return for a night chock full of tinnitus-inducing garage rock, including Obnox, Useless Eaters, Greg Ashley Band and White Mystery. The music gets started at 7PM.

Friday 3/15

After the Gold Rush @ Red Eyed Fly (715 Red River St)
There's nothing better than a day party with a veritable smorgasbord of musical offerings. This one-day event at Red Eyed Fly offers up a fairly eclectic batch of bands spread out over two stages. The late afternoon lineup is the strongest, including half hour sets from Caveman (3PM), Phosphorescent (3:30PM), Surfer Blood (4:30PM) and Youth Lagoon (5:30PM).

Laneways Festival Day Part @ Red 7 (611 E 7th St)
No RSVP required, just show up and check out Parquet Courts, Merchandise, Guards and CHVRCHES. No set times yet, so you may have to wing it.

Windish House of Vans Day Party @ The Mohawk (912 Red River St)
Likely to be just as packed as their Wednesday night showcase, you're best off showing up early for this one and sitting through a packed lineup in anticipation of sets from Guards (3:45PM), Toro y Moi (4PM) and Alt-J (5PM).

Tiny Mix Tapes + Northern Spy Present Unisex Earplug @ The Museum of Human Achievement (Springdale and Lyons Road)
You'll have to RSVP to learn the exact location and set times for this somewhat secretive unofficial showcase, but once you've got the info, you can take in sets from Sinkane, Dustin Wong, Guardian Alien and Sun Araw. There's also an interactive art installation curated by Zs, so it's sure to get weird.

Auditorium Shores Stage @ Auditorium Shores
This is the big, free SXSW show that you'll notice people streaming down to on Friday afternoon. If you want to join the throngs, you can see Divine Fits (6PM), Jim James (7PM) and Flaming Lips (8PM). The sets are likely to be pretty short and you'll have to deal with some intense crowds (especially when exiting the area), but it IS free...

Team Clermont Showcase @ Palm Door (401 Sabine St)
A few bucks will get you through the doors and into an evening of music that's not the usual SXSW fare. Seth Olinsky of Akron/Family starts the evening off with a percussive performance as part of his Cy Dune (8PM) project. Other notable appearances include Roadkill Ghost Choir (9PM) as well as Asthmatic Kitty cohorts Fol Chen (11PM) and Helado Negro (1AM).

Saturday 3/16

Waterloo Records Day Party @ Waterloo Records (600A N Lamar)
Newly reunited, The Zombies (12PM) seem to be playing a ton of shows at this year's SXSW, but this early afternoon slot at one of Austin's post popular record stores is your best bet if you want to see them up close. I'd also suggest catching Mikal Cronin (1PM).

Brooklyn Vegan Day Party @ Old Emo's (603 Red River St)
It's the Brooklyn Vegan and this party is sponsored by Jameson, so expect to be knee deep in free whiskey. In between gulps, feast your eyes and ears on Foxygen (12:45PM), A Place To Bury Stranger (1:30PM), Doldrums (3PM), The Orwells (4:30PM) and Unknown Mortal Orchestra (5PM).

Hometapes Friend Island @ The Museum of Human Achievement (Springdale and Lyons Road)
If you're willing to travel off the beaten path, you'll find free beer, Pop Tarts and Topo Chico galore at this annual day party. This one goes late, but you'll be able to see folks like Akron/Family (2PM), Helado Negro (3PM), Matthew E. White (5PM) and Sinkane (8PM)

South By San Jose @ Hotel San Jose (1300 S Congress)
If you're walking up from the south side of Austin via Congress, this is an extremely easy party to hit on your way downtown. As usual, they saved the best acts for the last day of SXSW, with appearances by Foxygen, Phosphorescent and Heartless Bastards. Just keep your eye out for set times.

Chicago I Love You BBQ @ Barn Fantastico (2507 Willow St)
Located nearby the infamous Fader Fort, this BBQ-fueled day party features a host of emerging talent from the North Coast. Stop by after you've filled up on free booze down the street to see sets from Twin Peaks (12PM), Scott Lucas and the Married Men (4PM) and Grandkids (6PM).

Graveface Records Showcase @ The Velveeta Room (521 E 6th St)
Graveface marks their return to Austin with a showcase that serves as a portrait of a record label in the process of an exciting transition. Highlights include sets from Dreamend (7PM), Dosh (10PM) and Whirr (1AM).

That's all for now folks. More to be added as lineups solidify.

1 comment:

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