Ok gang SXSW is right around the corner and it's time to make some preparations. First and foremost you want to have a great time and not spend a fortune. Lisa and I have been doing every South by Southwest together for about the last 15 years. We don't get wristbands and we do our research for the best free shows. Don't get me wrong, there is a ton of fantastic music for badge and wristband holders, but for the mayhem that ensues it is just not worth it to us. Besides there are just too many free parties out there plus there are some private parties that we get invited to. We will give you some suggestions and recommendations on bands and venues and ideas to have as pleasurable an experience as possible. There are tons of places hosting shows but most require an RSVP. Do512 should be your go to site. This site lists every show imaginable and allows you to RSVP for all of them. Our suggestion is to create an email account just for SXSW so that all of your confirmations go there and you don't clog up your regular email account. RSVP for everything!
The music portion of SXSW runs from Wednesday, March 14th thru Saturday, March 17th. although free shows really start up on Friday the 9th. when the interactive part of SXSW starts. We have actually done 10 straight days/nights of SXSW before. We had a Yamaha scooter and just went everywhere. That was just too much and these days we try to pick some good shows and settle in one area. Plus, SXSW has grown so much, as has the downtown, making it harder to get around and find places to park.
Here are our areas to concentrate on to find free parties. The best time for the free parties is during the day. That's when venues that are official badge/wristband venues at night host free shows. These are our recommended venues for each area.
East side: Hotel Vegas, The Historic Scoot Inn and Shangri-La
Rainey Street: Blackheart, Container Bar, Clive, Lustre Pearl and Bangers
Downtown 6th (Dirty 6th): You're on your own as there are just too many to note and you can walk by any of them and pick and choose,
although we do like Flamingo Cantina. Plus Pandora
has their 3 day parties at the Gatsby
West 6th: Dogwood, LIttle Woodrow's, Key Bar, Cedar Street, Rattle Inn, The Tiniest Bar in Texas, Whole Foods and Waterloo Records
South Congress (SOCO): San Jose parking lot SXSJ, Continental Club, Botticelli's
patio, Guero's and Lucy's Fried Chicken.
Other outlying venues: The Hole in the Wall (campus area), Spider House (campus
area), Red Shed Tavern (far south Congress) GiddyUps
(Manchaca), G&S Lounge (South 1st and Oltorf) and
ABGB (West Oltorf). Threadgills (W. Riverside)
Here are some shows that you should check out:
The SXSW Auditorium Shore concerts on the 16th, 17th, and 18th. Thursday features Los Lobos. Friday features Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and also Shakey Graves. Saturday night you get Roky Erickson plus Shinyribs. These shows are free but you need to download the free Guest Pass from SXSW.
Wednesday's choices blew me away and I sure don't know how we will catch everything. Guero's Taco Bar has the likes of Betty Soo, Nathan Hamilton, Beaver Nelson and Matt the Electrician. SXSan Jose has Kelly Willis and Jesse Dayton. Threadgills lineup includes Adam Carroll, Susan Gibson, Gurf Morlix and "Hot Rod Lincoln" Bill Kirchen.
Thursday at Lucy's Fried chicken you get Patrice Pike, The Peterson Brothers, Eve & the Exiles and Ian Moore. Dogwood has Jackie Venson and The Mau Mau Chaplains. Little Woodrow's starts the Party in My Pants series. Levitation Day Party is over at Hotel Vegas.
Friday well it's back to Dogwood. This could be your whole day stop with great music from Matt Hubbard, Eric Tessmer, Guy Forsyth, Shinyribs and closing with Hector Ward and the Big Time. You can always stroll over to Key Bar and Woodrows for a little extra music and then dine at either Frank and Angie's or Huts.
Saturday is St. Paddy's Day so we will definitely head over to Fado's for their last hurrah. The whole block will be fenced off for drinking, dining and plenty of Irish music. This is not free but it is a huge party. For more St. Paddy's you can go to BD Riley's on 6th street (free). Hotel Vegas hosts Burgermania which has a massive amount of nonstop bands. The big soiree is over at Stubbs where Rachael Ray hosts her annual Feedback Party with free food and drinks. It is a really good party but as you can imagine it fills up with people lining up 3 hours before the 10 a.m. opening.
We always try to drop in to our favorite dive bar the G&S lounge. Jimmy has both rooms going nonstop for 4 days. I will try and get the set lists and post but there is always plenty of great music. Last but not least is perennial SXSW favorite, Japanese Action Comic Punk Band, Peelander Z. You gotta catch these guys at one of their sets. They play somewhere everyday Wednesday thru Saturday.
Well, that should get you started. Once again, go over to Do512 and RSVP and see if there are any bands that you want to catch. Maybe we will see you out and about.
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What do you get when you cross a geeky 80's cover band, immaturity, alcohol, no inhibitions and a warm Wednesday night? Why a Spazmatics Party, of course.