best of sxsw 2014, sights & sounds

Here are the bands I enjoyed the most for SXSW 2014:


Lindsey Stirling 


Kishi Bashi


Moon Taxi





So that should get you started on some good music.  I also want to give Honorable Mentions to The Dolls, Haerts, Simian Ghost, The Mowgli’s and Boy & Bear. Most Improved since last time I saw them live goes to: Charli XCX. Most of these shows I owe to Palladia and Pandora; wonderful music selections this year. Other pictures I took can be found on my Instagram.

Happy Listening!! Much Love!!


sxsw, the rest of the story

After spending Sunday recovering from SX and yesterday mourning its passing, I can finally sit down to process the event. After my Thursday morning post, the return of sxjd, things really picked up for me. Pandora Discovery Den became a home base for me, I met a number of other fascinating people and Lindsey was finally able to make it into town.

The Gatsby played host to Pandora for the week. Tommy Page came through on his promise from Wednesday and added me to the VIP list. Sometimes a VIP badge or wristband is just that, an item.  The things it can get you include some of, but rarely all of, the following: expedited or separate entrance; free drinks or food or both; a separate, often elevated viewing platform. This particular wristband provided all of the above. I think I most enjoyed being able to actually speak with the staff of Pandora and its associates, as well as those that work at The Gatsby. Turns out, I have a number of mutual friends with the owner, Scott Cook. I most assuredly look forward to returning once they renovate and reopen.

Thursday, Lee Fields & the Expressions opened my day up. Mr. Fields soulfully rocked it. While he is  in his sixties, and played during the 60’s, he backed by a band whose members are closer to my age. This show was a gem because it won’t be too long before we will no longer hear this genuinely soulful music live. Generations that follow may try to replicate it and will possibly get away with it because none of them have experienced the real thing, but it just won’t be the same. Following this show, The Coup gave me the best hip-hop performance of my week. Especially impressed by the talents of Silk-E.

For Thursday evening we rendezvoused at Rainey Street. Lustre Pearl had a hip-hop showcase which a friend let us into; incidentally, we returned the favor with our bar tabs. Lindsey, Taylor, Allison and I did not stay at Lustre Pearl long. As hip-hop is not our favorite genre and it takes a really good act to keep us engaged. We ventured down to Container Bar, the newest establishment on Rainey. As the name suggests, the bar is constructed of shipping containers. They were hosting DJ’s for the week by Filter #rethinkmusic; I posted a picture of the place #rethinkarchitecture. We did go back to Lustre for  Schoolboy Q. Though he was significantly better than the acts playing Lustre earlier, I don’t have much to say about him; nor will I see him again.

Friday, Pandora for The Mowgli’s followed by Boy & Bear. Both of these bands fall into a genre of music that I prefer. This beginning set the tone for the day. After Pandora we went to the Cedar Door, a frequent hangout for us at SX. This year’s party was sponsored by Naked Grape. Per usual, they brought in good line-ups. We caught the end of The Dolls, which both Lindsey and I really liked. In addition to an elite musical talent, they also rated high on showmanship. During the MIsterwives set, we headed to Fader Fort then (due to line) decided to meet some friends for dinner and drinks at The Hightower instead. This is an establishment I will revisit in the future. We specifically enjoyed the pickled suspects and pork jowl tacos. For Friday night, we returned to Lustre Pearl, catching the Internet, Panama and LeMaitre, with DJ sets in between. Panama, familiar to me from Spotify,  proved to be one of my top shows for the week.

Saturday, I spent the day with my brothers Joe & Robert and roommate (also considered a brother) Jacob. We spent our entire Saturday at the Pandora Discovery Den at The Gatsby. This is when I realized that Jacob knew Scott and was able to meet him as well. The day shows were all good. Kishi Bashi followed by Lindsey Stirling were both brilliant. After their shows, someone arranged Fireball shots for the entire upstairs VIP bar. This is the largest shot call I have ever been a part of or even witnessed. The final day show was Black Lips. I liked their performance here more than the time I saw them at Fun Fun Fun Fest, where Val Kilmer was the main attraction as some promotional production piece.

Saturday evening, we went back for more Gatsby. Marie Miller led things with a folk/bluegrass set. My brother Joe actually spent a good time talking with her and my photo of her band is now on Entertainment Weekly’s website.  Moon Taxi was up next; an indie-rock band that I look forward to seeing again. They will be included in an additional post which will feature music (or videos) from my favorites of the fest. Little Daylight, the next act, also makes that list. After a stand up set from Albert Hammond Jr., which drew celebrity Macaulay Culken, only one show remained. Bleachers!! Thought some of the acts I saw throughout the week featured bands that have grown and matured over months or years since I last saw them, Bleachers proved to have done the same in just three days. They were bigger, louder and better “better – better – better” than the Palladia showcase. It was a great way to end such a wonderful week.

There will be a supplemental SXSW 2014 post: featuring my pictures and the web’s music clips from my favorite bands. Additionally, possibly most importantly, here is a link to help the victims of the drunk driver that careened into a crowd. SXSWCARES

the return of sxjd

As the winds of SX blow music into full swing, today is a good time to give a little report on my adventures so far. Another way to consider it is, three days down, three to go; even though the next three are supposed to be bigger! For now pictures have been posted on my Instagram & Twitter but I will come back and add some of the better ones here, later on.

On Monday, I started my SXSW with a long line at the Spotify House. Last year, the house was at Cenoté, my favorite Austin coffee shop but this year they moved closer to the action, into a building (and backyard) on 6th street. About 30 minutes into my wait, and 10 minutes away from walking away altogether, some friends of mine sent me a text from @sxspotify that allowed me to skip the line. Inside, free drinks and great music from: Holy Child – Jetta – Phantogram.

After Spotify, my friend Chris and I headed to Scoot Inn for the Applauze party. Check out their app, a way to follow events and even RSVP. This was a party I was looking forward to because MS MR was one the headliner. My phone was near death and I asked a guy near me (who I noticed still rocked the ancient 4s like me; Apple, feel free to send me a 5s) if I could borrow a charger. He said sure, but instead of reaching in a pocket or a nearby backpack, he walked backstage and reached into his luggage. “Oh! You’re playing later?” “Ya, we were supposed to play now but due to noise ordinances we’ve been moved to later and inside.” This is important because I was sitting inside, in between sets of course, charging my phone when I asked a guy with a laptop to update me on the schedule. Apparently, he was in charge; he returned with a freshly printed schedule that he had just finished typing on said laptop. When I saw him later I asked if he’d seen Rich, because I had his phone charger. This seemed like a good time to ask if I could get some guys in that were stuck in the VIP line. Not a problem at all for him. By dropping his name to another staff member I also scored drink tickets for my friends and me. The line-up at Scoot Inn: Charli XCX – Robert Delong – MSMR – RAC (DJ set) – the kind and talented Rich Aucoin.

Tuesday, I started my day with yet another line to pick up my Hype Hotel wristband. That I will need it is yet to be seen. I stopped by the Empire Control Room and caught Stag. After this I ran over to the Spotify House as home base. My text worked again but then noticed others with the text were turned away. Meaning I may not make it back to Spotify this year. After regrouping at a friend’s apartment we all walked to Cedar Street Courtyard for Dyn’s party. Here I became a philanthropist VIP – making sure non vips were having a good time and not spending a ton of money – if anything the bartenders received more of a tip 🙂  Though we were there for the headlining Deertick, we also caught these shows: Tan Vampires – Baskery – STRNGRS – The Felice Brothers – J Roddy Walston & the Business.

Wednesday was to be a day of music rather than party, self-implemented after over zealously VIP-ing it on Tuesday night. Pandora Discovery Den was where I began, another wristband pick-up and most definitely my favorite stage set-up yet. It is held at Gatsby, across 6th from Easy Tiger and right alongside Waller Creek. I caught just one show there this time around: Haerts (yes, that’s how it is spelled:)

I went back to the Empire Control Room because of Tuesday’s success in finding Stag. The lawn party was in full bloom outdoors, drawing a little more of a crowd than the day prior. Indoors, once again, was Simian Ghost.

After spending a bit at Empire I stopped in Parkside to treat my body to better food and drinks. While enjoying some oysters, I was personally able tell this to the man behind the Pandora Den’s vision, Tommy Page. I look forward to visiting the Den again later this week.

My final stop for the night was the Palladia party at Cedar Door. A small stage with big sound hosted a number of talented musicians and voices: Bravesoul – Johnnyswim – Sam SmithPhantogram (again, I know, so worth it) – Aloe Blacc & the Grand Scheme – Bleachers. I was most looking forward to Phantogram, as I knew them, but was very curious to see what the others would have to offer. I was not disappointed; contrarily even, quite impressed with Bleachers as this was their first show ever. Look for more from them in the near future.

Finally, those involved in last night’s tragic accident near the Mohawk are in my thoughts & prayers. I hope that everyone can manage to have a fun and safe rest of the week. Much Love!

sxsw 2014 rsvp’s (updated)

That time of the year to begin RSVP’ing to all things SXSW. Last year, was the first year that I attended some of the interactive parties and hope to do so again this year. However, this also means that my SXSW starts sooner.  I attend SXSW to meet people, enjoy great music, and spend time with friends. There are a number of day and night parties that allow one to do just that, while enjoying free drinks and sometimes food as well. Some parties require rsvp and then wristband pick-up prior to party; be sure to read the fine print.

RSVP’s competed to date (mostly music), click on the party to open the RSVP:

Sparefoot – Friday, March 7

Spotify,  Monday – Friday

Applauze – Monday, Scoot Inn

Windish Agency Party – Friday @ Mohawk

Fader Fort, Wed – Sat

Pandora, Wed – Sat @ The Gatsby

Red Bull Sound Select, Wed – Sat

Universal Music Group – Thurs & Fri @Palm Door

Filter: Showdown at Cedar Street, Thur – Sat

Filter: Haggar @ SXSW, Clive Bar – Rainey St. Wed & Thur

Filter: Dutch Impact Day Party, Bar 96 – Rainey St.  Wednesday

Filter: Dr. Marten’s, Bar 96 – Rainey St. Thur & Fri

Filter: Tumblr, Clive Bar – Rainey St. Friday

The Hype Hotel, Tues – Sat @ 505 E. 7th

The Green Room, Wed – Sat @ The Brew Exchange

Paste, Wed & Thur

Fresh Catch, Wahoo’s, Thur – Sat

Rachel Ray Feedback, Sat @ Stubb’s

Urban Outfitters After Party, Sat. 10 – 4 am @ Scholz

and, of course, I will be on the look-out for a few others. I will add to the list above any new links worth checking out but the most immediate post will come via tweet.

There are many other free day and night shows that do not require any credentials or RSVP. Without any planning you can catch great acts at Waterloo Records, Hotel San Jose & Mellow Johnny’s.

an American listening to White Lies

Above is the first released single from the new album, BIG TV by White Lies. The UK release of the album was last Monday, but Harvest Records brings it to us in the States today. BIG TV is the band’s third album and reveals the same poetic, dark, electro-punk-pop romance that the previous albums did.

Releasing their first album To Lose My Life in 2008 – White Lies really ‘brokethrough’ scene in 2009 with accolades from UK music magazines Q and MOJO, nominations from MTV Europe and NME.  I found them courtesy of a fellow soccer coach from Manchester, who told me to check them out at SXSW. The afternoon show at the Filter Magazine Cedar Street Courtyard in 2009 was my first experience with them and encouraged my first ever ‘doubling-up’ on a band during the same week. Their Stubbs’ show that week solidified my good opinion of their brilliant sound. Since then, they have released Ritual another hit which proved, once again, their ability to passionately tell story through music. Their intoxicating sound has only grown Bigger Than Us over the past couple of years; remaining consistent yet more confident, today we have their newest BIG TV. Enjoy!

I have previously posted the below song, but in case you missed it: Getting Even is available as a free song, follow the links from their Soundcloud.

“little hurricane” ‘s a comin’

One of the things I love most about Austin is the live music scene. As I have mentioned before, this scene is at its pinnacle for a week each year in March, during SXSW. It is an ideal time to find new music; I mention it now because a band I stumbled upon in 2012 is going on tour.


That week and continually since then, Little Hurricane has reminded what rock n’ roll can be. The energy these two put into each show make them a “must see act”. On twitter they use the moniker “dirty blues”, I’ve said “bluesy rock” myself. Give them a listen to decide for yourself.



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:

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.

after further review: sxjd reconsidered & continued

Previously on SXJD, it was evident that the SX version of myself won Friday night; Saturday was forfeited due to this shellacking. I then made some strong stands and was better with pacing on Sunday. A come-back was inevitable!!

Monday was amazing. I had plans to attend a couple parties that I RSVP’d for, but as these things tend to go, I ended up elsewhere. I hit up Viceland for free drinks and to check out the Oblivion movie drone demonstrations. Then over to Rainey St for the Blackberry party (while on my iPhone, nonetheless) more drinks there but then memories of Saturday’s forfeiture triggered a timeout for food and water. Met up with Taylor then and ventured back to Viceland for a couple drinks. The night only got better from there. Earlier in the day, I had been forwarded an email regarding a “secret” party hosted by WillCall. It was Javelina on Rainey and as Taylor set off to bike across town, I went to the venue early.  Brilliant: 1) Completely open bar for the first couple hours. 2) Great line-up, filled with new music to me (another plus) It included: Blondfire, Giraffage (dj), Alpine, Guards, Generationals. I should note that I really like Javelina as a venue too. Great drinks, staff, and food till LATE. Lauren and the folks from WillCall know how to party; I hope their app is equally successful.

SXJD – 12, JD – 9 (most improved), Gosling – 3 (no change)

Tuesday, was my very first SBikeSW experience. I parked (for free) by town lake and took the bike path into the fun. Began over at Rainey with Taylor, Will, Riley and Bethany. Then we headed to Red River. I caught Delorean at Mohawk before meeting them at Club Deville for Lucius, Polyphonic Spree & Wild Cub. Molly & Takats joined us here. After eating a bite, we headed to 1886 (bar at the Driskill) for a couple, okay three Irish Coffee’s. According to my FB post, probably that sneaky SX version, they were just whisky’s. Which of course propelled us into the BOOM! Much Love hook-up from Jenn (through Taylor) to the AMOA (with a reentry, skip the line VIP wristband). Here was another open bar on the roof, killer DJ sets including Flying Lotus. A good balance of free drinks, food, and friends helped to even the score a bit. Biking was pretty clutch as well.

SXJD – 16, JD – 14, Gos – 5 (@sallesea tweeted from AMOA)

However, after further review, we came across this blog post. No seriously, go ahead and read it! That’s right Gosling was such a huge hit on Friday, he was still being talked about on Monday. Since his existence (in this case) was the product of SXJD (@themohawkmoon), it is SXJD that should be awarded the points.

SXJD – Champion, Ryan Gosling – Honorable Mention, JD – Participation Ribbon

SXJD will now “run” his victory laps for the remainder of the festival.

miscellaneous monday: sxjd (the score so far)

My SXSW began earlier this year than in previous years. On Thursday night, after catching a great show Tall Tall Tree and Kishi Bashi at the Belmont, Steve and I went to the tail end of the Start-up crawl atop the Omni hotel. We met up with the guys from Own Local and Campus Slice. Mostly everyone else was gone but we were able to enjoy the drinks and view. I would give this night a score of SXJD 1 – JD 2.

Not happy about his loss from the previous night, SXJD came back stronger on Friday. The night began at the Sparefoot party at North Door. Good music, packed with people, good space for dancing. The thing with free drinks is that they are harder to keep track of and most definitely favor the likes of SXJD. From there we made our way, some way or another onto the Wired bus; this was not far from Bono’s bus in Across the Universe. At some point the bus stopped moving but my mind kept going.

SXJD 7 – Ryan Gosling 4 – JD (-3)

Saturday was a bust and while I worked, the score from the night before was proven through and through, painfully so.

Sunday night, I went to Stubb’s for the Automatic SailThru Party for the People benefiting Charity: Water. The Ton Tons and The Lone Bellow gave me the SX experience I had been looking for and typically enjoy. Other party-goers agreed that bouncing from one party to the next just for free drinks in no way compared to the good music and atmosphere that this party provided.

SXJD 10 – JD 4 – Ryan Gosling 3 (Gosling lost his points but by his lack of appearance)

SXSW is coming!!

We are just under three weeks until the music portion of SXSW!; one of the most amazing weeks in Austin, another great reason I live here. My first two years of attending ’06 & ’07, I acquired a wrist band and go to a show every night with a small bit of anxiety of whether or not I would get in. The hierarchy works like this Badges – Wristbands – general public. Pretty sure I’ve written something in the past where I compared the badge-holders to the Star-Bellied Sneetches; however, it should go without sayingI would absolutely love to be one. In 2008, my roommate at the time, JT Longino, won two badges from 101x!! He took me as long as I showed him where to go and which new acts to check out; MY PLEASURE. ((Should anyone else, EVER, want to treat me to the same experience with said challenge, I would gladly accept)). Then in 2009, I went back to the wristband – though I had an amazing experience, quite the downer from the previous year’s majestic treatment. 2010 to present day I have not purchased a thing. I bring money for tips and am enjoying more acts than ever; that’s right – I go for free. The trick to this is RSVP’ing your life away. Because I love you, I wanted to share some of my tricks on here today.

Follow: whatever music related website/twitter/facebook you can think of, especially Fader, Filter, Spin, NME, 101x, etc.

Research: find out which bands you can see during the day at free day parties and check out less known acts at night

Here are some of the websites and blogs I use to achieve this very thing:

So whether you are going for a good party with free swag, drinks and food OR you want to experience the next greatest sound, OR BOTH – this should be a good start. See you out there!!