This would end up being my third and last day at SXSW, unfortunately. I had planned from the beginning to take the train down on this particular day. I not only wanted to avoid having to find parking, but I had a feeling I was going to get scheduled to work on Saturday morning (which I did) and this would be the perfect push to get me home early on Friday night. The last train departed from downtown at 12:30am, so I didn’t really have a choice. The problem with taking the train from as far north as I live is that it only runs every hour, so by the time I got to the station and found parking (parking is a NIGHTMARE at these Park & Ride stops), I wasn’t able to get on the train till about 1:30. The train wasn’t scheduled to leave until 2!! UGH! What a letdown. At least I know better for next year. I had originally planned to see some other bands before I went to my Day Stage for Vampire Weekend, but I figured since I’m already so late & frustrated, let me just take it easy on myself and go straight to the Day Stage and chill out. I KNEW that the crowd would grow to a ridiculous size for Vampire Weekend anyway, so it worked out better for me to be there early and grab a good seat. And that’s exactly what I did! I had never heard of the first band I saw, Pickwick. They were four guys from Seattle with a very different sound. I never was able to completely put my finger on it, but they were pretty good; the lead singer had some chops, for sure! There was definitely one song that got me groovin’. And here it is for you to check out too:
The guitarist was going crazy, clapping and just jamming out. It was fantastic! This was actually the song that drew me in to their set. It made me want to hear more. I’m glad I caught them. The next band, Dawes, was definitely one with which I was somewhat familiar…at least their name. I’ll be honest, I never had taken the time to really check out their music, but I knew they had toured as Jackson Browne’s backing band. There are four members and the lead singer actually has a very similar tone to Browne. The most entertaining member of this band was easily the drummer. When the lead singer moved aside and I caught a glimpse of him going off behind the drums, and I mean GOING OFF, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t the only one in the audience that noticed all of the crazy faces and movements he was making. AWESOME!! I wish I would’ve caught him on camera…next time. I have to say that I was very impressed with this band. They capture a very 60’s, Laurel Canyon vibe in their music, but their songwriting is truly unique and special to them. They’re the kind of band that tells a distinct story with each of their songs. In that respect, they reminded me of Paul Simon. I enjoyed listening to their stories so much, in fact, that I intend to pick up some of their music now.
It was before & during the Dawes set that the room really started to fill up. It was obvious people were coming in to see them, but the flow of Vampire Weekend fans was very evident. I have NEVER seen this Day Stage pack so many people in. It’s usually more of a secret space where the “adults” come to discover new bands. But since Vampire Weekend is already so well-known and popular, the kids came out in DROVES. It was crazy. Even from my 2nd row spot, it was hard to see because the kids all packed themselves right in front of the stage. I’ve never seen that happen before. It was CRAZY. But I didn’t care. I was just excited to see Vampire Weekend. I had missed them a couple of years ago at Austin City Limits Festival because I had chosen to see Sonic Youth. I do NOT regret that choice, but now was my chance to finally see them. I knew they would be a lot of fun. And when they started the show off with “Cousins”, I was SURE of it! Here’s the tail end of it:
It turned out to be a very short set. They would be playing a full set of music at Stubb’s the next night, so this was more of just a preview. I was a little disappointed, but figured since I would be working at Stubb’s anyway, I would get to hear more then. Little did I know…I’ll get back to that. Because their music is so high energy, the crowd was on its feet the whole time they performed. This show was so much fun!
For some reason, the only pictures that came out were the ones of Ezra. I swear I took them of the whole band. But he is the cutest one. lol When “A-Punk” came on, I had to pull out my phone again to get another video. It’s such a bouncy and energetic song as you can see:
I had a great time at this set and was full of enthusiasm as they ended. I had just enough time to run over to ACL Live to get in line for Green Day. I was bursting with positivity…until I actually got there and the security guard totally burst my bubble. She told me that the only people getting in to the show would be lottery ticket winners. WHAT??!! I even showed her the SXSW program which indicated that the show was for Badges and Wristbands only. WTF??!! I was so pissed! She proceeded to point out the line of people across the street that were “last-chancers”. Ok, I was MAD!! Did I want to wait in line? Did I want to head down to Auditorium Shores and try to catch Divine Fits, Jim James, & Flaming Lips? OR was I that pissed that I just wanted to go home??!! I sat on a bench and mulled it over for around ten minutes. I finally decided to just go home. The reality is that I was very run down & tired and my allergies had been bothering me a lot. Or I thought they were my allergies. And since I had to work early the next day, I figured the smart & responsible thing to do would be to make an early night of it. I had intended to see Green Day & I was completely and utterly let down!! I was so sad! So I started walking back to the train stop and I was almost there, when all of a sudden it started to shower. Yeah, that’s what I thought anyway. I was like, OMG, what’s going on here? And then I realized, wait a minute, it’s not raining, where the hell did that water just come from?? So I looked up and could see water or SOMETHING had been tossed over the side of the building I had been walking next to. Now does that not just complete the picture??!! That was my definitive sign that it was time to get the fuck out of there! What’s sad is this ended up being my last day of SXSW. The next morning I went to work, but I ended up going home early because I was actually sick. I was so depressed. I had really wanted to make it for my last shift & day of SXSW since I overall had so much freakin’ fun this year. I probably had more fun than I ever had, simply because I’m more experienced at maneuvering this conference. Well, all good things must come to an end and I will now look ahead expectantly to SXSW 2014!