SXSW 2016 Diary
By Rachel Cabitt & Nat Leonard
March 14th, our Editor in Chief Nat Leonard and Digital Director Rachel Cabitt headed down south for POND Magazine's first go at SXSW. Celebrating its 30th year this March, the SXSW music festival is a week long event that spans across the city of Austin, Texas, where acts from all over the world and genres come to perform. As rookies, sponsored in part by The Impossible Project, we hopped around the city taking polaroids and film shots, of our adventures. Apart from the many showcases we attended (27 acts in total), we loved how dirty and sweaty everyone was and that even though the crotch of Nat's jeans ripped, having holes in your clothing was completely acceptable. Also, the accessibility to a good taco and free drinks had its perks.
MONDAY, MARCH 14TH
A 2AM departure from Bushwick to catch a 6AM flight from Newark. An hour in the air and the plane turns around and lands back in Newark. A 3 hour delay and a 4 hour plane nap later we finally wake up in Austin.
Besides feeling incredibly lost on our first day and not sure if we knew anyone within 200 miles, we wandered looking for 1. Tacos, 2. Alcohol, and 3. Boys in bands.
Soon all was cured by margs and a table side bowl of guac made right in front of us. Texas is cool.
We were drinking really dirty Rum & Cokes, not good dirty, but we actually thought the water might have been dirty. Nat was on Instagram and saw that Honduras was playing at Cheerup Charlies a few blocks north. We rushed over, something that we’d be doing a lot that week, and caught their last two songs. The stage was set into a cliff with rad colored lights, Rach’s favorite.
After the set, we turn around to find NYC homies, Jordan and Corey from Mainland. They’d just been on tour with Marianas Trench and another one with Jukebox the Ghost.
After a lot of cucumber watermelon beverages we went on a hunt for pizza, a craving that we should have cured back in New York.
We end up at an overprice pizzeria since Rachel assumed that if they paid rent on Sixth Street they had to be good.
Rachel: "5.75 my ass. We get this for $1 in NY."
...the pizza was good though.
TUESDAY, MARCH 15TH
Rachel: “And then I made Nat eat part of my cream cheese frosted, grilled banana, brown sugared donut.”
Natalie: “And I thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest because of the amount of sugar I had just ingested.”
Rachel: “It was one bite you wimp.”
Natalie: “It was an experience I would rather not relive.”
We see the two bands perform later that night at The Historic Scoot Inn for a D.C. showcase.
(Go Cozy has an album release set for April 9th and will be embarking on an east coast tour through April 24th. You can preorder the tunes here)
On our way from one showcase to another we see a crowd of people around two guys in a pedicab taking pictures, only to find out that it's the two Brooklyn yahoos, Vaughn and Kevin, from Acid Dad. They're too caught up in the pedicab fame to even realize it's us.
Later that evening we met up with NYC band Public Access T.V. on their first day at SX. They just got back from a european tour with Madrid girls, HINDS. On a SXSW food poll: 75% prefer tacos over quesadillas, 75% guacamole to salsa. 50% margarita, 25% beer, 25% neither and while Austin may be a blast, NYC 100%.
Just as we were about to give up from a day of exhaustion, we came across Maggie Mae’s on 6th street. Heading inside, we found Stonefield, a four piece rock and roll band from Australia. All sisters, the girls brought the place down.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16TH
We next arrived at Fader Fort to see long time favorites, Twin Peaks, perform an afternoon set to a large crowd.
We ran into Brooklyn photographer, Daniel Topete and chatted as he took a break from a day of running around. Good friends with the boys of Twin Peaks (he shot the photo used in the artwork on the cover of their upcoming album Down in Heaven coming out in May), the band lovingly came over as Clay ate a banana.
Later that night we got to see the babes Acid Dad perform at Icenhauer's, for the first time since their month long tour with White Reaper. Changed men now, they do laundry more often on tour than they do back home.
Just as we were leaving, we saw two clear rectangular boxes being setup, accompanied by a bedazzled keyboard stand on stage. In a haste, we snapped a polaroid on our way out.
But thanks to the glory that is SX, we got to see Holiday Mountain, the band behind the elaborate stage setup, the next day at the Wreckroom Records showcase, where they literally brought everyone's asses down to the floor.
In between songs at the Roadies showcase earlier that afternoon, we had heard familiar guitar riffs coming from across the street. After googling who was playing the Collide showcase, we ran across the street to catch the end of Hockey Dad’s set, a duo from Australia.
We caught up with Billy and Zach later that evening when they played a late night set at Valhalla.
THURSDAY, MARCH 17TH
Honduras was the first band we saw at SX when we found them playing at Cheerup Charlies on Monday night. Friends of friends from Brooklyn, we officially met the lead singer, Pat, backstage during Sunflower Bean’s set at Fader Fort on Thursday.
After Fader, we were supposed to meet the DREAMERS for BBQ at a food truck across the street, but the Spotify House was next door and combined with the engine from the food truck, you could hardly hear yourself think. It was hot and loud and the streets were filled with drunks. We ventured in search of a quieter place to chill, almost stopping in the Texas State Cemetery for peace and quiet, when we happened upon the answer to our prayers: a literal zen garden with shaded tables.
That night we went south of central downtown Austin, over the river, to Arlyn Studios for the Wreckroom Records Showcase. We saw City of the Sun, Band of Heathens, Holiday Mountain, DREAMERS, and Emily Wolfe.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18TH
It's midnight and with a few hours left of our last night in Austin, we decided to head to a house party around the University of Texas, where White Reaper, who has been on tour with Acid Dad, was set to play.
On our way over we got some free Kale chips from our Lyft ride #lyftsponsorus #kale
We walked right into a hot boxed living room full of a mosh pit of people. There were people sharing cigarettes and beers from a keg on the porch. The living room acted as the stage and people watched the show through open windows that led into a backyard. We had kegs, BBQ, and even a pair of flame throwers (still confused where the flame throwers came from).
We ended our last night in Texas like typical New Yorkers with a large pizza on the curb. The disposable camera selfies taken on said curb are not to be shared, so here's one of Kevin instead.
That morning we woke up to a cinnamon roll the size of our faces for breakfast that the people we stayed with had left us.
We left them a polaroid.
Special thanks to The Impossible Project.