Saturday at SXSW

Our final day at SXSW- and I must say we were quite tired. Friday had been a late night for me, but I got up early anyway to head downtown. Luckily, two gentlemen in Mumpsy gave us a ride so we wouldn’t have to pay cab fare. Once in town, we waited on a brief line to get into Rachael Ray’s SXSW showcase at Beauty Bar (yeah, I’m not sure what she’s got to do with music either, but the food was awesome, and DJ Emily was more than a little excited to meet her.) Free mojitos and mini burgers were abundant, so I was happy, especially when The Raveonettes started their set.

Being a longtime fan, surprisingly I’ve never seen this band live before, and I have to say, their performance was one of my favorites during the festival. Beauty Bar had the same noise issues as the previous day with Nada Surf, but again the fans didn’t care. The set was far too short and I must say that I absolutely cannot wait to check out a longer show. My personal favorite was their closing song, the head-bobbing “Aly Walk With Me.”

After that, I was psyched to head over to the Hot Freaks day party to catch a set from Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes. The plan was a solo acoustic set, but Barnes had some guitar issues. He ended up borrowing an electric guitar from White Rabbits and off he went. It was a great set, including a cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street,” that I was psyched to have caught. I did stay for White Rabbits, which was amazing- essentially the same set as the previous night. I didn’t get my “Maggie’s Farm” that I was wishing for, but they compensated by joking that they were Spoon from Austin, TX. I will say that some show-goers checked their programs to check, but I’ll spare you the rest of the performance details since I’ve posted about them copiously. However, I will share a photo:

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I was ready for a break, so I headed to dinner with some friends. I need to do a plug for the restaurant, because it was truly amazing. We decided to venture off the beaten path (and boy did I need a break from BBQ) to a French place called Aquarelle. If you’re ever in Austin, you must eat here! Re-energized, I was psyched to catch my main event for Saturday night: Okkervil River at Stubbs. Hailing from Austin, Okkervil River is one of the best bands around. This performance was a special one for the band, as it was Brian Cassidy’s final performance with the group. They started the set off great with “The President’s Dead,” and kept the momentum going for the entire performance. The huge venue filled up, with everyone dancing to their folk-infused indie rock.

Unfortunately, since I needed to be up at 4:30 for my flight home, it wasn’t the right night for me to stay out ’til 4. I went to sleep a little disappointed that I needed to cut the festival short (if only by a few hours) but satisfied with all the great artists I’d seen and people I’d connected with. As I write this from the Houston airport waiting for my connecting flight, I can honestly say that I feel that this year’s SXSW was even better than the last. Later Texas, see you next year!

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