Photos + Words by Bryan Lasky
Well, I got down to Austin a little early to hang with friends and get my badge. It was the right move as I had a literal zero minute wait time to get my credentials and then I saw some of the art exhibits and saw the city gearing up for the oncoming storm. East 6th was already shut down and people were definitely already in full festival mode. The mood was ecstatic.
As for the art installations, I saw Weaving by Cocolab, APPARATUM and hash2ash by panGenerator (Krzysztof Cybulski, Krzysztof Golinski, Jakub Kozniewski), and EVERY THING EVERY TIME by Naho Matsuda. Each exhibit was very engaging and I love that the arts are represented very well here at SXSW.
From there I saw some more friends and eventually made my way to Hotel Vegas for their 8th birthday party with Leather Girls and A Giant Dog. I knew of A Giant Dog, the local heroes from Austin the past few years) for some time now and they didn’t disappoint one bit. They were absolutely rocking and everything I had hoped to see. Sabrina Ellis is an absolute rock star leading the charge for the band. Starting my festival off with this band was 100 percent the correct choice. Leather girls, another local band, tore through their set non-stop opening the evening. I got home early to rest up for a long first day ahead, but it was a fantastic way to kick off the festival.
I got up the next morning, ate some good breakfast tacos and made my way downtown to the exhibit Hopscotch on the recommendation of some locals. It was a stirring experience of light and sounds, but since it’s not really part of the festival I’ll move on. I found my way to the Palm Door for International Women’s day and met some friends, had some food, and saw some fantastic panels about women in the workforce, women’s sexuality, and trying to move everything towards women being considered as equals, which honestly at this point women should be the leaders of anything and everything happening around the world. In addition to these panels, there was the first official music of the festival for me with Molly Burch performing a handful of songs and she sounded as amazing as ever. Her voice just soothes what’s on your mind. I just wish there had been some time for some more songs from her.
Next, I went to Antone’s for the Capital One House and though I had to wait fairly long, I got in just as Duncan Fellows began. Their set was raucous with members of the band going into the crowd. They are locals burning up the current scene down here all the time, according to a few people I talked with. These guys have that special little spark and are sure to put a smile on your face. The weird thing about the Capital One House was that none of the bands really belonged on the same bill, but it somehow worked. The crowd was all in for every band. Second up was Mt. Joy who brought some new tunes and a few covers, along with their bigger songs, to the crowd that sang almost every word back. The band made mention about how happy they were to only be playing one show instead of ten this year. Headliner Bishop Briggs took next with a ball of energy and all the smiles. During her entire set she didn’t stand still for more than a few moments at a time. The crowd was turned up to another level from the moment she stepped on stage. I don’t know many of her songs, but many is she something else to see live. The whole set moved quickly and felt like it was over before it should have been, but the slightly over an hour was a good way to end day one as this is a marathon and not a sprint.