SXSW recap #2: THE SHOWCASES

In my previous SXSW recap, I discussed staying in Round Rock and the all-around good vibes that put my band and me in the right mood to rock out for our three showcases…In this recap, i’ll talk specifically about the showcases, the other acts that played and provide you with some pics/videos and such.

Flamingo Cantina's 3/16/2010

the first showcase we played was Tuesday, March 16 at Flamingo Cantina on 6th street for the Tono Music Group showcase. Merry-Go-Round, being on the label and having organized the whole shebang, headlined and played a full set. i rocked out pretty fucking hard to “be with me.” -aka my favorite country song since ‘you were mine’ by the dixie chicks…Jordan Tarrant, Sam Riggs, Nini+Ben, Zac Taylor, and Kris Roche also played, and we did lean, mean 5-song sets, and I debuted Prescilla…

who is prescilla, you may ask? well, let me rewind a bit to that afternoon of the show…whereby we went to guitar center, and I, having been on the hunt for a decent guitar to replace/supplement my 150 dollar mexican strat that i got for xmas when I was 7 for quite some time, found a hollow-bodied gretsch and it just felt right. Yes, i used a brand new guitar for some of the most important gigs of my lifetime. But like everything in austin that week, the vibes were right– the guitar sounded great (though went out of tune a bit more than i would have liked) and i think its visual appeal was an asset.

Courting Prescilla in Guitar Center, Austin

now about the name– im not one of those people that like to name inanimate objects…i generally think it’s kinda douch-ey. but in this case, i didn’t really pick the name- it kind of picked me, or her- the guitar. Her name is Prescilla: Queen of the Desert. The logic behind the name was unconscious but unimpeachable– number one, i bought her in arguably the desert of texas (at least portions of the state are considered desert-like right?) and number two, it just made sense that, while in texas, to give her an uber gay name. so there you have it…prescilla

at any rate, the show went really well. to be honest, i was a little wary about playing at flamingo cantina’s because the first thing that pops up when you google the place is “homophobic”– im not kidding– apparently, it booked THE homophobic murder music reggae act, Baju Banton and got a shitton of appropriately bad press.. but it was sxsw and a bunch of east coast lib’ruls were in town, so good vibes all around. no murder music…

the place is indeed a reggae club from what i hear, and there are colorful paintings of island life and oceans on the walls. it definitely has a unique and fun design as a club. There’s a back patio that has two stories, the upper level overlooking the back of the stage. To the side of the stage is kiva-like seating. And then there’s the bar in the front. i think there’s an upstairs stage/venue too, but i didn’t venture up there…

The second showcase my band and i played was on Thursday, March 18 at Lucky Lounge– an unofficial berklee showcase put on by trustee, david klem.

rawking it at Lucky Lounge. Photo by Alexa Tarrant

my brother and my mom flew in from Ohio to see me play, and we met up at this showcase. It was incredible to see them- and slightly surreal…Lots of introductions and a crossing of streams, if you will, in terms of music/friend mode and family mode. I also met up with Berklee publicist, Margot Edwards, who was the point person for the student artists who played at SXSW. She organized our transportation, hotels, logistics, etc and went the extra step. Perfect example: if Margot hadn’t texted me on Saturday night reminding me of daylight savings time and catching my flight an hour early, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog right now.

The sound guy didn’t really know what was up (apparently the monitors straight up weren’t turned on for the first 3 acts) but i’m pretty sure he meant well. By the time I got up there, having watched so many acts struggle with faulty sound, I vowed to rock the fuck out. Even if were all out of tune and playing off, my band and i pep-talked and were on a mission to get by on sheer raw energy. thats why i busted out “ringmaster” – pretty much for the screams. as it turns out, based on the video ive posted below, the sound for us wasn’t too bad at all…

Here’s us doing “Trophy Fuck” at Lucky Lounge

Anyway, the show featured two pretty big indie acts and alums: Amber Rubarth, who has a huge myspace presence and Melissa Ferrick, arguably the biggest rock star in the lgbt indie musical world. I’ve aspired to open for Melissa for a long time with my side project, MRS DANVERS, so it was pretty cool to share a bill with her…

something that was pretty cool/insane about the lucky lounge showcase is that it was an open bar…the entire showcase…but truth be told, i couldn’t really enjoy it because i had been out pretty late on 6th street the night before, bar-hopping and then seeing my friend, Julie Neumark rock her showcase at the fancy schmancy Driskill Hotel (really wanna play here if just for the homophone aspect).

I do enjoy my libations- No teetotaler am I– but the culture of Spring Break…in Texas where the beer is good and cheap– had kind of run its course by Thursday…That night, with a huge showcase ahead of me on Friday, i threw in the towel, went back to the hotel around 9pm, watched some food network, and fell right asleep.

Friday, March 19, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated for our third and final set at Friends on 6th street- the official berklee sxsw party. yes, you needed a badge or an rsvp…(or i think 5 dollahs) to get in… The sound here was wonderful. alum, Shayna Zaid and the Catch opened with weird, energetic punk-oldtimey set. Jordan Tarrant played and never sounded better. Nini+Ben performed a fucking phenomenal, riveting set. Derek on bass and Jake on drums poured their hearts into it- you could really tell. Young Republic played a great-sounding set and caused a bit of chatter with a comment about how “berklee stole our money then invited us to play.” Love like Fire, the most brooklyn-sounding band from Cali ive ever heard, played. they reminded me of asobi seksu in a good way. I played after them and wore a little black dress that occasionally exposed my underwear (as the earnest, helpful hipster indie chicks in the front row pantomimed to me prior to my set) and red tights.

Friends, March 19, 2010. Photo by Kelly Davidson

i don’t really know exactly what happened nor whats become of what did or didn’t happen, but something cool may have resulted from the showcase at friends…but im not gonna jinx it from writing about it. whatever it was, or is, or will be, my band and i celebrated with kisses and hugs afterward, gratified by the opportunity to play this hard, have this much fun, and have hope for our futures in rocknroll.

Playing at Friends, March 19, 2010. Photo by Kelly Davidson

…so there you have it, the showcases.

third and final installment will be devoted to my two thrilling celebrity sightings, some of the great bands i saw at random showcases, the food, and most importantly: why i wont be moving to austin anytime soon, but why i hope to visit there all the fucking time. stay tuned.

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1 Comment

Filed under Solo Career

One response to “SXSW recap #2: THE SHOWCASES

  1. Pingback: SXSW pt. 3…Mary-Louise Parker « Annie D in Boston

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