fpsf five

Though I missed Wildcat! Wildcat!, First Aid Kit, & Lord Huron due to the rains, Free Press was still a success. We made it down just in time for Chvrches, who went beyond my expectations and were my favorite act of the weekend. That show combined with White Noise, a specialty brew from Saint Arnold, made my Fest complete.

The rest of the weekend was compiled of great acts that I had seen before: Big Gigantic, Washed Out, Poolside, Edward Sharpe & Jack White; some old school music: Welcome to Houston and Wu-Tang; some new music: Anamanaguchi and White Sea. My Line-up and links below.

The stage locations had changed from years past nearly eliminating The Hill that had become such an integral part of my FPSF experience. One main stage still featured The Hill on the side of it but it lacked the stadium or amphitheater feel. The stages that were on the street meant less impact on the grass and parks but unfortunately meant it was harder to get around to other stages. The one thing I would change from this years set-up would be additional restrooms; in the center of the festival and in the fancy pants areas. I am glad to see this festival continue to grow providing more must-see acts and adding to the overall fun-level; I just hope that the organizers and staff can keep up with its growth.

Chvrches Washed Out
Welcome to Houston White Sea
Anamanaguchi Poolside
Ishi The Kills
Big Gigantic Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Twin Shadow Wu-Tang Clan
Zedd Jack White

never look back, never give up (a year end review)

Today’s title comes from the band Haim’s song, Falling.  Haim is just one of the bands that I fell in love with this past year. Others include Air Review, Lord Huron, Chvrches, Poolside, Phantogram, The Joy Formidable and St. Lucia.  Phosphorescent’s Song for Zula takes my song of the year, at the least.

White Lies, Local Natives, The National and Arcade Fire gave us new albums. I was able to catch a Mumford & Sons‘ show with my brother Joe and two of my cousins, Mary Elizabeth and Annie.

My year began with a snowboarding trip with my brother Joe. He is a skier but gave boarding a go. It was a good, yet cold adventure. At the end of the month and in contrast, I took Lindsey to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for her 30th birthday. We enjoyed the warm weather and beach views from the pool plus its fruity and sugary drinks. The few days we were there reminded us that we could take a vacation and simply relax versus go – go – go.

Three other trips that Lindsey and I took, and I have already blogged about include, Vancouver, Chicago and Charlotte.  Vancouver, in May, to visit the fabulous city and I ran the marathon. The Chicago trip was to visit some old friends and celebrate the 4th of July. Charlotte was to visit her family and explore what the city has to offer; we took a second trip there for Christmas.

Two of my favorite places to eat in Houston grew this past year. Good Dog, formally a food truck, opened its brick and mortar in the heart of the Heights; walking distance from Lindsey’s. Liberty Kitchen, still a favorite in the Heights, opened a second location that has a gorgeous interior and a Japanese influenced menu. My final word regarding food and drink in 2013 would be the introduction of the Untappd app. It allows me to find, track and rate the many craft beers I get to experience.

Finally, some life experiences of note. Two of my brothers graduated from college. One of which, Robert, has been living in Houston for all of 2013, meaning I was able to see him more. Some of my most memorable dining and concert experiences included that young lad. Running is a major part of my life. This year I ran fewer marathons and less mileage overall but found joy in coaching running. I helped a few friends run their best races, whether it was a 10k, half marathon or marathon. Coaching two soccer teams, I was reminded the happiness that can be found in coaching soccer, the fun to be had while learning. To top them all, last Saturday my niece, Mary Elizabeth, said “Wuv you!” for the first time, it was to me, her uncle John.

I look forward to the adventures, meaning and moments that 2014 will bring!

miscellaneous monday: sxjd #trumpet

When I left you last Wednesday, SXJD had been crowned the week’s champion. Since then he made a number of appearances and took a couple VIP victory laps with his entourage. If you havn’t, you should read last Monday and Wednesday’s posts.

I tweeted where I was listening to whom I was (where service allowed) @themohawkmoon

Allison Gueli, the event manager at Austin’s renowned Parkside, placed a number of us on her VIP listing through BMF Media’s party listing. The first of these, a VH1 party, fell on Wednesday night at the W. Free food and drinks are commonplace at these events; the food here was some of the best: incl. Kobe beef sliders. I attended this particular night party for a band: St. Lucia (pronounced Loo-sha). I was only gently partying, because I had a track work-out early the next morning. This band ranked among the top new-to-me acts I witnessed at SXSW.

Thursday, I didn’t venture down until the late afternoon, but in time for the Enterntainment Weekly party at 219 West. This was my first time to the establishment’s new location. They had a great line-up of food: beef and pork sliders, mini-corndogs, quesadillas. Musically they featured The Lone Bellow (whom I had seen at Stubb’s earlier in the week) and Gold Fields (whom I knew from last November’s Funfunfun Fest). I really enjoyed the intimacy of seeing these two in this venue. The Lone Bellow features a front-three that harmonize beautifully and Gold Fields led us all in a Bloc Party meets Cut Copy dance jam. From there we ventured across town (from far west 6th street to the eastside of 6th) to Liberty to watch an old friend of my newer friends. Cavin Balister has an incredible story and is still (while also improving as) a talented musician. You can find his story here: cavinbounce.com

Friday, was another SBikeSW day for me. Loved parking by the lake and riding my bike in. It made it easier to get around once downtown and easier to drive home, as I was parked next to the freeway. I started my day at Cedar Door for the ASOS party. Their line-up featured Ghost Beach and Angel Haze. Now you, can begin to see that not every performer receives bold font from me; you should certainly check out the bolded bands. The next few stops, though very vivid in their moo-ments are but a blur to me now. They included: Hype Hotel, Handle Bar, a pizza from Backspace, wondering around dirty sixth, and the Red Bull Sound Select with some self-proclaimed rapper.

A SXSurprise: Rainey St. for Lustre Pearl, thanks to Taylor for linking us up with Christian who hooked us up with VIP wristbands into an official showcase; we were even able to by-pass the ridiculous badge and wristband lines. To add to the excitement, my brother Robert joined us just in time. We saw Small Black, DIIV, The Joy Formidable and Fitz and the Tantrums.  Now I should mention that all of these were talented musicians but only The Joy Formidable truly came to play and perform. They not only created energy, as they followed a more mellow DIIV, but maintained this energy till the end of their show. Fitz and his crew seemed to take the stage with an heir of expectation; they seemed to hope to ride the hype wave that surrounded their prior Austin performances. I will give them some props for turning this show, this attitude around. By the end of the show they had everyone involved and enjoying themselves.

On Saturday, started off at the Cedar Door with some free food and drinks. After one artist cancelled to prepare to play a bigger venue later (understandable), I headed to the American Rag showcase by Filter at Cedar Street Courtyard. This is THE venue I’ve attended every SXSW.  We really enjoyed K.I.D.S. but maybe I should also remind you that I am a sucker for a frontwoman. Then back to the Cedar Door for Hits, whom I would actually talked with later that night – cool guys – hope they come back to austin soon. To make the most of our newly acquired VIP wristbands, we headed over to Dickies party to see Poolside. As the party and the week were wrapping up, the crew from Dickies unloaded their remaining free swag.

To conclude the week we hit up the Perez Hilton party as VIPs. The lines had not formed and wouldn’t till closer to Macklemore. Charli XCX and Capital Cities put on good shows. The trumpet player from Capital Cities inspired the title of todays post. Much like The Joy Formidable show defined what it meant perform live, this trumpet spoke to a band’s individualism or uniqueness – the something that sets them apart. Couple other acts then Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who put on an amazing show. Since it isn’t my preferred type if music it means even more for me to say so. Along with most of the crowd, we left at the end of their show, skipping out on the last two acts. While walking across town to the car, we came across the Smashing Pumpkins secret show. Listening to a couple of their songs was a very good way to end a great week.

SXSW ’13 #trumpet (or thing that made it my SX as opposed to the SX everyone else experienced) was made possible by Lloyd A., Allison G., & Taylor W. I plan to give them each a token (or bottle of something in this case) of appreciation.