Hello BTH friends! While I wish I could have seen every band that SXSW had to offer, I made it to a select few and enjoyed some days of travel. This is my first (I hope not last) SXSW travel diary.Picture 52

I had never been on the road with a band. I have traveled to shoot with them, meet at the venue and then continue my travels, for SXSW this year though, I got to travel the 1,300 miles from Austin, TX with my good friends the guys of Everyday Animals. When we discussed the travels, they were very concerned about my ability, as the only girl going on the trip, to stand the sounds and smells that come with traveling with four men. Truth be told, I was lucky! They are not nearly as gross as they lead me to believe and we had a great time.  We took 2 days to make the drive there and arrived at 4am. The guys had a show at 3pm that day so we crashed in the hotel room and SWSW was under way!

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Vocals and guitar come from Kevin Shima, Bass from Will Schulz, Keyboard from Brian Hobart, and Drums from Adam Darlin, the band has been writing and performing together for years. This was their second year at SXSW.

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Playing on the roof of The Handlebar on 6th street, Everyday Animal's audience grew by the second. Bringing in people walking down the insanity of 6th st, the band made a lot of new fans. Solos from each member, especially in their Cali song Anaheim, brought cheers from the crowd. In support of their new album, Under the Tyranny of Good Weather, Everyday Animals played new songs from the record. Most notably, John Anderson of Yes fame collaborated and offered his vocals to the album (though not in person at SXSW). With so many bands in Austin, they were refreshing and stood out. I was happy to be there to capture the shows on film (and digital...). Before their final show we were given what I am told was Texas Pie. Basically it was Fritos with salsa and cheese, spicy? yes. Made me miss the food of Los Angeles? Also, yes. It was though, a great show put on by the guys, and who can go to Texas without some Texas Pie. Though the set was earlier in the day than ideal, the guys made new fans and plenty of friends came to watch them close out the week.

With three  shows in three days in Austin, the schedule with the guys was hectic, but left time to go visit my friends in the quickly up and coming band NO. Sean, Bradley, Michael, Reese, Ryan, and Simon played almost constantly through the week but I made it to their show on Thursday night where in a dark but lovely venue, they blew everyone away. Most of the conversations I heard involved someone saying that they Picture 96loved this band and needed to see them again. Bradley's deep vocals brought out the emotions in Stay With Me, still one of my favorite songs of theirs. With a new album out later this year, I am expecting great things for the 6 guys in NO. I met the band's newest member, Simon, a new transplant from New Zealand (Home of the band's frontman). Though he was a very new addition, there is a new depth brought by his percussion that did not go unnoticed. Happily I also got to catch up with the guys one more time about 10 minutes before leaving Austin. Playing on the roof of Whole Foods (Everything turns into a venue) They recovered well from some technical difficulties and with an audience filled with new fans, they ended my SXSW experience well.

If you have not yet heard NO, they will be playing the Troubadour on April 4th. (See you there!)

Picture 143I also made my way to San Fransisco band The Stone Foxes. The last time I saw them was at the El Rey in LA. In Austin though they rocked the outdoor venue and put on a great show. I am always impressed with their constant movement from drums to frontman and back. Their changes in style are somehow pulled off perfectly. My review here of their El Rey show still stands, they put on a great show and they keep alive the love of the live show.

Through the week we wandered into and out of so many shows it is a little hard to say how many bands we saw. Will of Everyday Animals and I managed to hear Erykah Badu for a few minutes before making our way to another venue (Note to anyone setting up a portable potty trailer. Do not decide to drain your stinkyness right next to the line into the venue. No one will stay in the line. Really. Venue rules 101 right here.) That little note aside, Erykah sounded lovely.

Walking down 6th street at any moment you could hear numerous bands and street performers, some better than others, showing off their skills. There was the mobile venue/painted school bus which I should have gotten on. Picture 158Every coffee shop and every restaurant in the city was booked solid with bands or singer songwriters. It was a strangely beautiful week. I look forward to going again!

For more information on Everyday Animals (Great musicians as well as my friends and travel buddies) Visit their site here.

For more NO visit them here and be sure to join Behind The Hype at The Troubadour on April 4th

Also, be sure to read my interview with the Stone Foxes here

Thank you to the lovely locals I met at a bar that served Long Island Iced Coffees and chocolate martinis. Thank you to the numerous bands that entertained me and wooed me this week and above all, thank you to Everyday Animals for taking me along and sharing your music with me for the week.

Cheers to you all.


(For more photos of the week, feel free to check out Everyday Animals, NO, and Stone Foxes all photos by Tamea)