3/18/2012 9:20 PM
The final day of Southby happened to fall on St. Patrick's Day, so the streets of downtown Austin were packed not only with the usual hipsters and fashionistas, but with a flood of green. After a quick free lunch from the SquareSpace cart, we met up with some of our friends for an event sponsored by the 40 Watt, the largest music venue in our hometown of Athens, Georgia.
Despite its small size, Athens has an impressive music scene and is the proud birthplace of R.E.M., the B-52s, and Of Montreal. Ponderosa
, a band that we had both heard of but never seen, lived up to the city's reputation. Their strong vocal harmonies were similar to The Fleet Foxes, but with powerful guitar hooks and an americana rock vibe.
Later, we stopped at a cafe for a snack and then lay in the grass to people watch. There goes the lady with the half shaved head, a punk with more patches on his jacket than a WWII vet, and of course the occasional naked old man on a bicycle. We decided to see one last area of Austin before we left, so we took a bus to the university area (called “the drag”) to have one last nice meal and explore. After dinner, we went to a place called Mohawk Bar. We were surprised by the diversity of the bands that played in this venue – when we walked outside, expecting to see the indie electronic group we had come for, we were confronted by a shirtless rapper. The night before, they had been playing exclusively dubstep.
Because we weren't huge fans of the rapper, we decided to see what was going on inside the bar. We stumbled upon an indie pop band called Slowdance. Like many of the other bands we've seen, they call Brooklyn home. The female lead singer sang in both English and French, but in whatever language she sang, the melodies were equally catchy and addicting.
We could only stay for a few minutes before it was time to see Delicate Steve, a band known for fantastically creative, psychedelic music videos, on the back patio. In spite of what the name suggests, this band is in no way “delicate” – they take instrumental music to a whole new level with catchy guitar melodies that build into dancey climaxes. As soon as they started to play, we were captivated. Throughout the whole week, we hadn't seen a band with such amazing stage presence and talent. The main guitarist played melodic leads, often using a slide. The lead guitarist was a master of his craft, and the keyboardist made us jealous with his Roland Juno-60 keyboard.
After seeing Delicate Steve, we considered going to look for another show, but we felt that there was no way more perfect to end the trip. Instead, we got a delicious vanilla cupcake from the Hey, Cupcake truck and went home early, exhausted but throughly happy. All in all, the versatility of both the crowds and the music at SXSW made for an interesting and fabulous experience. We will never look at Austin or music in quite the same way.
by Melissa McDaniel and Joseph Perry
By Melissa McDaniel and Joseph Perry