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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!

June 2, 2013

SXSW... briefly (and long overdue)

Not long ago, I was eating a chicken salad sub from Thundercloud at my desk on the thirteenth floor of the WPC building in downtown Austin when a band in the alley below started to warm up.

I had skipped both the Interactive and Film stuff this year so those warmup drum beats, guitar riffs and "check checks" were the first of my SX experience this year. Pretty soon, the band was well into their set and it became increasingly difficult for me to concentrate. I swear they were doing a cover of "Dr Who" that lasted a good forty minutes. WTF? 

Behind the incessant "Hey!"s of the alley crowd, I could hear a cacophony of bands playing bars and clubs below.  The buzz of SXSW is contagious and the electric hum that it brings to the city was heating up.  Outside of the film premiers and the App launches, and the upcoming all VIP shows like Prince and Justin Timberlake, the local news reported on the evolving effects of SXSW on the city of Austin. Last year, the "homeless hotspot" marketing ploy garnered a lot of grief from both within and outside of the city. This year, in an effort to "employ" instead of "exploit" the homeless, Austin's Mobile Loaves and Fishes employed the homeless which prompted my favorite headline during this year's festival.  SXSW food carts turn homeless into entrepreneurs. Back to the music... 

My SXSW plan this year was brief: one morning at the W Hotel with KGSR for their live tapings and the Rachel Ray party at Stubbs. I'm not a reviewer and could care less about finding the right words to describe the musical experience of SXSW. There's enough musicians and experts in this city that do a much better job than me anyway. But I know what I like and I'm happy to share it with you and provide links to other sites so you can experience some of what I like. One of my new favorites is Elle King.  I caught her last year and have followed her since. She's adorable and I want to just squeeze her but instead find myself holding my breath not wanting her set to end. The highlight of the KGSR show for me was definitely the Courtyard Hounds followed closely by an amazing set by Sam Beam, better known as Iron and Wine. Even Elle King found a place on stage to watch Sam serenade and entrance the audience. As as always, whether there in person or watching live via the web, KGSR does an awesome job.

Macklemore
The day of Rachel Ray's Stubbs party finally arrived.  My friend and I arrived the same time this year as last year (took the 8:13am bus from my South Lamar stop downtown) but found ourselves at least another 200 people back and standing on the should of IH35. Nevertheless, we got in with the first wave... hooray! Bob Schneider went old school and it was awesome to start the day singing loudly with the crowd at Stubbs. I was looking forward to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis but had heard that they turned out a mediocre performance at Waterloo earlier in the week. Not this time. I don't know whether it was the free tequila grapefruit cocktails, the Rachel Ray snacks, or the energy of the crowd but this was a fun performance.


Delta Ray was probably my favorite act of the day. What a surprise they were. Looking totally at home and very much the rockstars that I now know they are, they brought the house down from the back stage when they closed with a Stevie Nicks cover.

Kenny Loggins closed out the show. My friends and I had been joking all day about crashing the front of the stage which we now referred to as "The Danger Zone" and wondered incessantly whether or not he was allowed to play Footloose any more since giving the rights to Chase Bank.  So how did it go down? We did crash into the "Danger Zone" and he did sing it all and he looked super cool doing it.  All in all, another successful Rachel Ray / Stubb's SXSW event. This will definitely stay on my agenda for next year (though we might have to take the 7:51 bus instead).


And in case you need proof of how cool Kenny is, here's some pics to back it up!



So, better late than never right? Don't answer that! As the proprietor of a new business that involves delicious pie, my next installment will most likely be about Yippie-Pie-Yay, so stay tuned. Or if you love pie and can't wait, check out the Yippie-Pie-Yay Blog now!

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