By Dana Falconberry
12mid, Brass House
As an Austin musician, I get asked how I feel about the South by Southwest masses descending upon my city. The short answer: I love it.
Yes, the traffic's horrifying, and yes, it's loud. But I get to play music all day long. I get to see bands I love, discover new favorites, hang out with longtime friends I don't get to see very often, and meet new people doing really cool things. This year my band has 15 shows and it's been magical so far. We played alongside some of our favorite bands at our label's official showcase (Antenna Farm Records). We played our PR company's awesome party (Riot Act Media) at Cheer Up Charlie's. And we just played a live KUTX radio show to a room filled with hundreds of people at 7am.
Some of my favorite SXSW moments, though, happen in-between the shows.
On Wednesday afternoon we had one show on East Sixth Street and another shortly after across town on West Sixth. Gina Dvorak (vocals, banjo) and I started the mile-and-a-half hike, guitars and gear in hand, right after our first set. We didn't last long. I got annoyed quickly with the overflowing sidewalks and the heat, so we started hitchhiking. At this point we were cutting it very close to make it on time. The first car drove by and laughed. The next guy made eye contact and slowed down enough for me to notice his empty back seat, and I pounced. I think I actually jumped on his car and told him we were getting in. He complied.
We sorted the destination details and then he asked us what band we were in.
"Dana Falconberry," I said, to which he squinted and shook his finger in the air, saying, "I've heard you guys before! Maybe on KUT? What's that one song, something about a rock or something?"
Gina and I appeased his request and broke into an a capella version of our song "Petoskey Stone" as our generous driver, Clay, darted through hellish traffic and slayed dragons for us. We made it to the bar with just enough time to crash a USA Today party and steal their hummus before jumping onstage.
Thursday afternoon in-between shows we trekked over to a Downtown apartment complex for a recording session with our friend Chris from Halfway House, a blog based in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was a sweetheart and fed us beer and water and let us lounge in his air-conditioning. We eventually all piled into a little room, using an air mattress as a sound barrier from the exploding streets below us. We gathered around one mic and sang a quiet version of one of our new songs. It was the perfect intermission from the fray.
Every year, the Annie Street Arts Collective hosts a secret show for more adventurous fans. This year it was held under a bridge on Sixth Street, smack in the middle of the SXSW chaos, and we were lucky enough to play it. We were joined on the bill by Austin's Mother Falcon, Some Say Leland, and River Whyless. Lit only by candles and the occasional bike light, each band filled the old stone with harmonies and ghost songs. At one point, River Whyless had the whole crowd singing a droning melody that must have carried itself up to the noisy streets above us.
Abby Johnston, Fri., May 17, 2013
Austin Powell, Fri., May 17, 2013
Doug Freeman, Fri., May 17, 2013
Kevin Curtin, Fri., May 3, 2013
Doug Freeman, Fri., April 12, 2013
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