There comes a time during your SXSW experience when you start to clarify your priorities for the day. That priority could be staying in one place that has a good line up because you’re just too tired and sore to walk a whole lot. Or it could be seeing those acts you earmarked prior to arrival, checking out the party you haven’t been to yet, etc. The list really goes on and on. But the point is, you figure your priority out. My priority was to cover some ground, sample a little bit of everything, but not stress about missing a show.
However, sometimes going with the flow means realizing you missed a band or two you had really hoped to see and that kind of sucks. Looking for a new plan, I decided to check out the StubHub party that has had a massive line all week because now the line was very minimal. Sounds like a good choice, right? Well, yes and no. The line-up was stellar but the StubHub party was still a very happening (aka: busy) place to be and it was only going to get worse with the evening entertainment lined up. So, as Kenny Rogers says, “you got to know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em” and after catching a full set from Dreamers and the first half of ASTR’s set, it was time to walk away.
Then there are times during SXSW that things come up that prevent you from continuing to pound the pavement. There’s nothing wrong with doing that because when it gets down to it, you have to respect your body and what it’s telling you. So if it tells you to chill out for an hour in your hotel room and enjoy the thunderstorm, you do it until you can get back up and into the game.
The “game” included swinging by Tellers to catch the first half of someone’s set, not hearing any music, and walking off to The Driskill for some Matt Woods and James TW. It was wonderful to be in the Victorian Room on the upper level sitting and watching from a balcony. Talk about setting the mood.
Not wanting to miss out on other things, it was time to mosey on down to The Firehouse for The Unlikely Candidates which brought some minor disappointment upon discovering their set time had been switched with another band’s. Bummer. Heading through a very busy and crowded 6th St. instead brought me to Ester’s Follies for the always enjoyable band The Royal Teeth. It was surprisingly, and delightfully, not busy upon arrival and seating was ample. Always a bonus. The room quickly filled up and a massive amount of people who were previously seated, got up and went right up to the stage. Their set was packed with energy bursting at the seams. From vocalist Gary Larsen getting up on a speaker with someone’s phone and shooting the crowd, to expertly co-mingling new material with old favorites like “Mais La” and, of course, ending with Larsen in the crowd during “Wild.” Such a lovely thing to watch and a wonderful thing to experience.
PRO TIP: When you’ve experienced a set, towards the end of the day, from a band that just seems to be the cherry on top leaving you buzzing inside, that’s when it’s time to retire for the night. You can go home knowing you’ve done it right. And that’s exactly what the set from Royal Teeth was, the cherry on top.