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I am back on the mainland and blogging from Seattle with South Austin in the rearview mirror. Don't worry Virgin Island fans, I will most certainly be back in the Caribbean for visits if not full-time. And I'm sure St. Thomas will creep it's way into many future posts. For now, it's all about living in the Pacific Northwest!

March 24, 2012

Chicken 'n Waffles & Jimmy Cliff

After years of breakfast tacos and live SXSW music at the Four Seasons courtesy of KGSR, this year brought a welcome change with Chicken & Waffles at the W Hotel. The SXSW music was of course still awesome! You can check photos and videos from the live broadcasts on their site. Live streaming anytime also makes a boring day a work a lot less boring. So plug those headphones in because KGSR truly is Radio, Austin style. After a little Jimmy Cliff (the energy coming off of him was crazy... even at 8am) came some new stuff from an old favorite, Rhett Miller.
You Can Get It If You Really Want
W's Chicken n' Waffles!











I was playing hooky from work so I left after Rhett. But I was listening to the live streaming at work when I heard that day's special guests come on. Tenancious D made an appearance on the couch!

I didn't get quite enough Jimmy Cliff but I know I'll see him again on Saturday. Some friends and I have a plan to start early (9:07 am Cap Metro bus) to get in to the Rachel Ray Party at Stubbs.

But first, I finally get to see Counting Crows (free show at Auditorium Shores). I expect that they will play some old favorites along with stuff from their new covers release.

A friend and I take the short 1/2 mile walk to the park early enough to catch some of the Diamond Rugs so the atmosphere is great as we arrive. The weather is perfect, not too warm and a nice breeze. We munch on free single serve packs of hummus and Sun Chips while waiting in line at the margarita stand. While in line, my friend attempts to meet up with another friend with a series of misguided texts.  There are two sets of margarita stands. He is in front of one that is clearly not the same one. I suggest that she text that we are in front of the West stand. She looks at me, spins around, and says "what if he is facing this direction?" I don't respond but involuntarily tilt my head sideways, doglike. I see comprehension come into her eyes and we both laugh out loud.  By the way, she is a super intelligent teacher (science) and we had been sipping on margaritas for awhile at this point. So... friend located! We make our way through the crowd to the front of the stage and wait.

 As the sun goes down, the crowd fills in behind us. I snap a shot and later appreciate the smiling guy in front who I don't know.

They open with an extended version of "Round Here" that is changed enough so the crowd can't really sing along though we clearly want to.  They do the same with "Mr. Jones" but it works and I'm happy to finally catch them. I think they might be a little tired of performing these songs.



But they sound awesome and do a full set with old and new and beautiful Austin is the backdrop. The sounds of SXSW all around the city can be heard in the quiet between numbers. The Frost building is lit alternating between red and green and from this angle really looks like an owl with glowing, watchful eyes.  Afterwards, we make the short walk back home. I want to get some sleep so I'm up for the 9:07 Cap Metro.

I missed Rachel Ray's SXSW party last year and was determined to make it this year. As it is also St. Patrick's Day, I can't think of a safer, better party to be at. Free Rachel Ray Food / Free Blue Moon / Free Deep Eddy Cocktails / Train / Jimmy Cliff / Blitzen Trapper / Bob Schneider / More! Though we are early, there's already a line around the block. But the line is made up coffee swigging people dressed in green (more green than this picture portrays) ready for a party.

The line for food gets started right away and so does the music. My friends and I find a perch halfway between the stages and next to the bar. From here, we can easily make our way from stage to stage to bar to stage (and on and on and on). Rachel Ray comes on and says some nice things about Austin, Austinites, and SXSW in general and then introduces Bob Schneider.  



All the bands are great and I wiggle on my perch exchanging commentary with my friends throughout but am insistent on moving to the front for Mr. Jimmy Cliff and Train. Both are great sets and in this venue, there always seems to be a real connection between the performers and the audience. It seems especially so today. 



Although Rachel Ray does seem to be everywhere these days and I hear some exasperation with her, I have always liked her. Her food is delicious. I couldn't help but love her when she literally starts bouncing in her shoes like a little girl when Train starts playing "Don't Stop Believing". She bolts out on stage and belts out the tune with a huge smile on her face.  After the show... my group wanders downtown through 6th which is a madhouse of SXSWers and people just out for the normal St. Patrick's Day shenanigans. The city is buzzing. Although there is still one more day for films and music (the Cult is playing Auditorium Shores tonight), I'm happy to have this be my final experience for SXSW 2012. I grab a cab for home with a full belly, a song on my lips, and a happy heart.  


P.S. I discovered later that night that I could hear the Cult from my lawn. So the true end for my SXSW

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