Austin’s Sixth Street is where the main action happens at night, along with Rainey St. I walked between the two and the Austin Convention Center in total of 25 miles over the four days. I was wrecked by the end, especially my feet, but I had plenty of stories to reflect on.
Covering big festivals can be stressful at the start. Making sure everything is booked and packed. The red-eye flight there. Figuring out the plan during the festival. But most of all the pressure to find a good story, and get it on paper.
It’s good stress that’s both invigorating and inspiring. Whether you’re there for work or fun, the key is to keep an open mind & heart. There’s always a story to tell, so don’t stress the good stuff.
Besides the musicians it books, the historic Fillmore in SF is known for its free apples and posters. You can have as many apples as you’d like, but not every show comes with a poster at the end of the night. I talked with one of the coordinators there and she told me that sold out shows and any of the bigger names will get a custom made poster for all attendees.
I’ve gotten three posters so far. My first was at Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, then a few months later at The Knocks, and finally for Noise Pop Festival’s 2017 show to see, BADBADNOTGOOD.
I still can’t believe how well a jazz band could rock. BADBADNOTGOOD is known for their low-key instrumental playfulness, and while that dominated the show, it got real rowdy at its peaks, especially towards the end.
Their music isn’t all jazz though. Their experimentation in electronic with jazz is among the best playing now. They had a collaboration with Ghostfast Killa a few years back. And they also recently teamed up with Kaytranada & Goldlink for the best dance song of 2016.
The 10th and final Treasure Island Music Festival was a rainy one. I’ve been to festivals with some showers before, but the rain got many crammed in tents for hours a day, if they could find one, and a few sets were cancelled. People were pissed.
By the second day I saw a long list of people’s complaints on Treasure Island’s Facebook & Twitter. They were selling their tickets for $20 and a hug or bitching about how unprepared the festival was for the storm. The Tunnel stage could barely handle the rain and the grounds should’ve been more accommodating to the conditions. Even the fans knew the rain was coming a week before.
The festival was still something to remember. People concentrate too much on the music and the creature comforts, but forget why we’re really there. To experience something together. If the music gets delayed, all the better to find people to share some stories with.
Let me know if you’ll be at Treasure Island this year. Close it out with us :)
For the second year in a row at Symbiosis I wasn’t prepared.
With camping equipment, the right clothing and food. All the things you should prepare for when your off the grid for a few days. But one thing makes those problems a lot easier to deal with, friends. It’s easy to survive in the city alone, but not out there.
There’s no better place for short bursts of conversation with people than places like Symbiosis. Even the occasional longer, deeper ones and more rare one’s that last past the moment. But there’s one thing that can make finding these connections easier than ever, friends. The more friends you have in your own camp, the more connections you have going around Symbiosis.
It’s hard to get friends there, but it’s much harder to survive & prosper without them.
I was a big fan of Lenny Kravitz back in middle school. And what I mean is I listened to Fly Away on repeat while playing Beetle Adventure Racing on the N64, and I played that shit often. That’s a fan when you’re 13.
When I saw him on the lineup for Kaaboo, I was pretty set on going, but Jimmy Buffett sold me… My Uncle is one of the biggest Parrotheads on the planet, or at least Minnesota, so I had to see what Jimmy was all about.
Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Buffett weren’t the only two the lineup had to offer. Kaaboo 2016’s long list of talent stretches from Hall & Oates and Macy Gray to Aerosmith and Ludacris, none of which played together.
The comedy was right up there too, but there was one thing missing for me. The electronic acts. My almost perfect lineup was about 20 miles South of Kaaboo, one year ago in San Diego at CRSSD fest, and this electronic lineup looked nothing like it.
There was one producer I wanted to see. Even though he produces a lot of pop vocals that aren’t for me, with over three hundred tracks on SoundCloud, RAC had a handful that I liked, especially that Zee Avi remix. Beautiful voice.
Outside Lands 2016 hosted my long awaited show from The Knocks. I had a run in with one of the members, Patts, on my blog almost six years ago and it was a major influence for what I do on here now.
He didn’t like what I had to say about Chiddy Bang’s remix of The Knocks ‘Dancing With the DJ’ and told me “if you don’t like it don’t post it.” I get what he was saying and as much as I stand by my words, I haven’t posted a single track I haven’t liked since (maybe one). I don’t give a fuck about music I don’t like (fuck might be a little harsh).
Their performance may not have been the highlight of OSL (he’s next), but it was so much fun to party with The Knocks & friends in the sun at Golden Gate Park. And they played all the hits, ‘Comfortable’ being one of my favorite dance songs of all time.
Kaytranada ditched out on me and the rest of the crowd in two different locations. Once opening for Disclosure at The Greek in Berkeley and the other this past year at Symbiosis. Finally, I got to see him live at Mamby, the festival’s second year on Lake Michigan in Chicago.
My expectations weren’t too high for Kay. My favorite producers DJing live haven’t been anything phenomenal at festivals in the past and going in with high expectations is a recipe for disaster (see Mayer Hawthorne). However, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well he kept the crowd bouncing.
Bass is what gets people moving. I’ve seen plenty of it, but Kaytranada live was the most stark example. When the bass wasn’t bumping the people weren’t bouncing. Get that signature kick in there and Kaytranda has the crowd in a jig. Guess this is why house music and its many iterations are what we love to dance to most. Except Bill Withers, of course (soul music) […]
First off, these festivals with acronyms for names leave little to the imagination, which doesn’t make it easy to remember. I got BFD mixed up with TBD with the promoter and I feel like a dipshit. As I should. Always good to start off with a little humility.
BFD, or as I recently found out its full name, Big Fucking Day, leaves a lot more to the imagination and is Live 105’s annual summer festival at the Shoreline in Mountain View. The show had three stages this year: the main stage, one for local bands and a tent for the electronic acts. Of course I was there for The Offspring, not really, I was there to see TOKi. And Joywave.
The amount of music going on in a few small areas around Austin, supported by all the music tech that’s trying to help it flourish, makes SXSW the place where my two loves come together. Quite literally this year with my job and this blog. Both helped me find places to go and people to do it with, but SXSW could’ve helped a lot more.
The SXSW Go app could have better helped with both finding and keeping track of events throughout the night and day, as well as finding the people to spend it with – it’s where the future of live music is going. I did find a handful of good performances and the same amount of not so good, but mostly because of the people in Austin and their recommendations. Some seriously nice people.
Here are a few stories I had with them.
I’ve never seen Del live before his performance after the ICBConference last Saturday. I went to Hiero Day last year where I got to meet my favorite right now, Anderson .Paak, but couldn’t catch Del in time.
After seeing Tommy Chong close out the conference, he was a good closer, Del performed a few hours later at Pier 23 Cafe. Actually, like every other damn rap performance, we had to wait for him until the wee hours of the night, but not as ridiculous as the Ghostface-Raekwon show. While waiting for Del to come on, I saw a familiar face waiting around too. […]