Rosi's SXSW 2019, Days 2 & 3
Not Missing Jersey
Words and pics by Rose Lamela
My second day in Austin was more of an exploratory adventure of this interesting city located in the big state of Texas. I also wanted to walk around and enjoy the nice warm weather as I had left a cold wintry NJ behind. I walked over to a local coffee shop where I witnessed firsthand the friendly nature of the folks residing in this small capital city.
I chatted for almost an hour with a woman who moved to Austin from LA. She told me about all the cool venues and things to do here. I jotted down notes, and she wished me well on my travels. I walked over the bridge on Congress Avenue famously known for the bats that take shelter underneath it. I took a deep breath of the fresh Texas air and just kept on truckin.
I continued to make instant friends, whether it would be on the street or at shows. Being from the East Coast, I did find this a little strange. I even bumped into the bassist and vocalist from the band Dehd walking around town. I quickly added them to my list of bands to see after our interesting banter about the music scenes in both Philly and Chicago.
I met up with CoolDad, and we talked about who we were going to see that night. I scarfed down a Texas brat and, we looked through ShowlistAustion.com, which I highly suggest if you ever need a great guide to show listings when visiting. We both chose our venues for the night and parted ways. I chose Mohawk as it was suggested by one of my new Austin buddies.
I got to see an array of music there. I arrived right before Night Glitter began to play. A photographer told me that they were one her favorite bands. They had a very psychedelic sound to them filled with french lyrics. I dug it even though I waited for a projector to fill the blue stage that never came. The crowd slowly swayed in response to their music.
I kept bouncing from the outside stage to the inside stage. The inside was more low key. I got to enjoy a touch of country folk with Carson McHone and the Joe Cocker feel of Kevin Galloway's voice. The crowd there was looking more for peace of mind in their music.
Spiral Stairs came on after Night Glitter on the outside stage and was "in your face" with his punchy lyrics and alt rock sound. His fans responded when cued to sing along, and things got a little rowdy but not as rowdy as the crowd for Low Cut Connie. They know how to put on a show despite lead singer Adam Weiner's need to stick his middle finger to any camera shooting his photo. I, of course, don't mind as it makes for a great photo. He did grab my hat which I was able to retrieve, so no hard feelings. Watching him jump on his piano and dance gave out a very mutual energy between the crowd and the performers. It was a satisfying end to my second day in SXSW. Thanks, Low Cut Connie!!!
I woke up super tired on day 3 but more excited to get back out on the road. I had a few destinations scheduled. I wanted to go to see my new acquaintance and her band Dehd at Hotel Vegas, the best venue in Austin in my opinion.
I went straight to Hotel Vegas and got me another food truck meal. It was a nice sunny day, and the heat felt nice on my face and made me wonder why I live somewhere where it can be so damn cold too many months out of the year. Sorry, Jersey. I wasn't feeling you out here.
I walked to the back stage and caught Dehd. I love the hint of surf rock in their music. This three-piece band from Chicago has a catchy live vibe to them. I really like the basic drum kit that I know now contributes to their sound. I especially liked the song "Lucky." They opened up my day for more music in Austin.
There was a backstage on the Hotel Vegas patio that had the sounds of a band named Melenas from Spain. I'm always immediately drawn to girl bands. I had never heard a rock band from Spain live, so I hung out a bit and listened. Anyone that knows me knows one thing for sure. I usually despise Spanish rock bands (I can say this because I grew up around it). Melenas officially changed that. They are cool rockers!!
After Melenas entertained us with their sound, The Blank Tapes came on. Now this band had the 60s vibe that I like from some of my earliest rock favorites. I wouldn't say they sound like The Mamas and The Papas, but they would possibly be jamming alongside them if they were put in a time machine. I especially loved the band's style as it complimented the genre of music they played. I know I mentioned this before, but I love that I get to relive eras of music that I was not alive to witness the first time around.
Somewhere around the end of The Blank Tapes' set, I got a text from CoolDad telling me that The Black Angels were going to be at Mohawk later in the day. I decided to go for yet another walk in the beautiful music city. I got a cup of joe and weaved in and out of thrift stores and shops towards my next destination.
I met up with CoolDad again, which was nice as we didn't really get to hang as we went our separate ways a lot so we could capture more stuff. We got some food and met some cool Texas natives who gave us a quick lecture of the state of our nation. For me it reminded me to be grateful for what I have because sometimes other people are not as privileged as I am. I felt it there under the hot Texas sun. A little history lesson and a bit of self awareness.
I then headed to Cheer Up Charlies to see The Ophelias who I just starting listening to at the airport while waiting to catch my flight to Austin. Anytime you give me some violin in my rock music, you got my attention. I walked in a little after they started, and I heard the banter of the people from Ohio cheering them on as they are Cincinnati natives. They remind me of the band Belly. Very mellow with a pop beat. We already know how I feel about all-girl bands. They are just all way cooler in my book.
The Black Angels are one of my favorite bands to see live. It was exciting to see them in their home base. I managed to get in, and there were two guys up front who kindly let me get in front of them to shoot photos. This kind attitude towards photographers is something I had to get used to but not get too used to, as I will have to eventually come back home someday. I got to be up front for most of their set. They played "Comanche Moon" and "Young Men Dead." I have to say it was odd to see them without all the trippy lights and projector, but I did smell the grass.
After my fill of both wandering and listening to music I hopped into an Uber. My Uber pool rides were also just as entertaining as the rest of my experience in Austin. I got to meet locals and visitors on all my rides. Sometimes, I would end up belly laughing on my ride home with a funny Uber driver right before hitting the bed and passing out from the exhaustion.