Anna’s Diary from SXSW 2009: Part 1
My book is open in my lap (Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live, in case you were wondering), but I’m not reading it. Currently, my brain can be occupied by only two things: 1) That I am en route to Austin for my very first SXSW music festival experience and I am unbelievably excited, and 2) my BART train to SFO from Berkeley was delayed 30 minutes and is moving impossibly slow, and there’s a good chance I’m going to miss my damn flight. I have to stop myself from checking my cell phone every five minutes to determine whether or not I’m actually going to make it. After rushing through check-in and somehow being blessed with a ridiculously short line at security, I arrive at my gate just in the nick of time to board. I sit between two really unfriendly frat dudes talking about how excited they are for the Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, and the rest is history.
Actually, no, the rest is not history. This is only the beginning of my first SXSW journey, which I am hoping to chronicle here at the Owl from now until when I leave at the crack of dawn on Sunday, March 22nd. I’m armed with camera, comfy shoes, and courageous spirit. And sunscreen.
My first official event at SXSW was the 2009 Bay Area Takeover, presented by our friends at the Bay Bridged and Tricycle Records. It was a perfect way to kick off SXSW for yours truly – some familiar bands and familiar faces at an excellent venue in downtown Austin (the Beauty Bar), to help me ease into such a crazy journey. The Takeover was very well-attended, the performances were all great, and most importantly, the event truly represented some of the best bands that the Bay Area has to offer and brought them to a forefront of the national indie music scene.
Other Thursday highlights:
Annie and the Beekeepers (Thru Windows/Canon Records party): A charming alt-country band, fronted by crisp, lovely vocals and augmented by lush cello and upright bass. The band’s songs are sweet and well-written, and their lively cover of an Aretha Franklin song (though I can’t, for the life of me, remember which tune) was particularly engaging.
Joe Pug (Thru Windows/Canon Records party): It’s a shame that more people don’t yet know about Joe Pug. His Dylan-esque prowess is extremely addictive and admirable, and his songs will simultaneously break and warm your heart. His performance at Fado Irish Pub was simply a joy – I couldn’t believe there weren’t more people there, singing along to “Hymn #101″ right beside me. Check him out now, if you haven’t already.
Stay tuned for Friday and Saturday!