SXSW Day Three- 2011
Total Number of Bands Seen: Nine; Paper Bird, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Dolorean, Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, Vetiver, Colleen Green, Shabazz Palaces, The Moondoggies.
Total Number of Tacos Consumed: Three, though I had only ordered two. The nice Mexican man in the taco truck window misunderstood me. But it was totally okay. You know why? Because it is absolutely impossible to refuse a taco when it is shoved under your nose. Taco trucks, take note; there is potentially a lot of money in this for you. If the taco man had thought I'd say "doce" instead of "dos," I would have eaten all 12 without noticing.
Best Show Seen: Probably a tie between Vetiver and Jason Isbell, though Paper Bird is jogging close behind and could have nosed into the lead, had I caught more of their set.
Notable Shows I Was Unable to See: Fuck, so many; it makes me SXSStressed. But mostly Cass McCombs, Little Scream, Wye Oak, Sharon Van Etten, Fergus & Geronimo, and Ted Leo. Luckily though, I live in Portland and not Lake Wobegon, MN, so there is a good chance I'll catch all of these acts within the next few months.
Celebrity Sightings: This is probably not true, but I think I saw Charlie Sheen accosting one of the Sparks girls at the Swan Dive.
For those of you that have never visited Austin (which should really be renamed Redemption, TX), it is strangely similar to Portland. It has a near-identical urban layout, minus a few directional discrepancies and a few more barrios, as well as a comparable number of biking alcoholics (more on this later). Yesterday, however, the two cities were totally interchangeable. The Brooklyn Vegan/Partisan Records day party was lousy with Portland bands and buddies, all much sweatier and red-faced than I'd seen them on past occasions. Sallie Ford and her band are sounding better than ever, and of course, Dolorean held a large audience captive. And although I had broken my silent vow to avoid Portland bands while at SXSW, it was exciting to see an overwhelmingly positive response to so many of these standbys outside of our temple of gloom.
On another note: Paper Bird. Please do yourself a favor and check out this band immediately. Absolutely gorgeous, well-executed Americana from Denver that we serendipitously stumbled upon after gorging ourselves on flautas and pickled carrots at Polvo's. They snapped us right out of a potentially-debilitating Mexican food coma.
Back to biking alcoholics, though; did you know that this actually exists? It's essentially a bar on wheels called the "Pub Crawler," that fits up to fifteen drunkards under 300 lbs who are then prompted to pedal around the busy streets of Austin—like, seriously busy and swarming with aggravated Texan drivers who use expletives much more than blinkers. There are also no seat belts. It's fucking terrifying, and demarcates Austin's superiority to Portland in pushing the limits in the bike/beer department. Perhaps the litter-byline-turned-state-motto reigns true; we really shouldn't mess with Texas.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!