SXSW: Into the Breach.

Resist the temptation to try to come to terms with SXSW logically. These aren’t tax forms you’re dealing with, but 2000 bands, playing in clubs, in tents, on streets, in parks. By design, it reinvents itself every year, and there are countless pathways through the mayhem, all of them leaving you exhilarated and exhausted. You face the assault on your senses and then pick your spots for visceral gratification. The fact that the festival overlaps with St Patrick’s Day is a blessing or a curse depending on your feeling toward public intoxication and fake Irish accents.

Yes, you want to drive to Lockhart for destination bar-b-que, but it’s hard to pull yourself away from show after show.

You compare notes with friends on bands and then move on to food and drink. Local beer? Here’s a vote for Shiner Bock, though Lone Star makes a strong showing. Is 16 oz. a good size for a can? Verdict: depends how fast you drink. Also: When you’re in the mood for a Michelada, is anything finer? And, finally, would you rather have good bar-b-que nearby or great bar-b-que further afield? Wise men may differ on that matter.

There are so many choices in Austin. The best advice is a quote alternately attributed to Buddha or Willie Nelson: Drink late today, sleep late tomorrow.


Comments on “SXSW: Into the Breach.

    Ben Thompsonon March 19, 2011 @ 11:55 AM:

    Well, the fact that you referenced Lockhart bbq shows that you’re worth reading. Smitty’s is the place for the real deal, but get there early like 11:30 while the meat’s juiciest. Drive even further to Luling’s City Market for ribs.

    Born and raised in Austin like SXSW, I’d recommend going out without expectations. You never know what shows you’ll actually get into and usually “get into” some shows that you never anticipated. I remember really wanting to here Beck and Johnny Cash one year. Couldn’t get in either show, but ended up seeing Cafe Tacvba, under another name, covering the Pixies. Another year, I never left my neighborhood and heard lots of bands at house shows and street parties.

    Oh, and for beer, drink Live Oak…you have to find it on tap. It makes Shiner and Lone Star taste like ragged whores. If you need a bottle in hand, find Real Ale.

    JPon March 19, 2011 @ 12:35 PM:

    Jealous again. You get to do all the cool shit, MW.

    Michael Williamson March 19, 2011 @ 12:49 PM:

    This is the fun of David Coggins, but I have some fun too.

    Michaelon March 19, 2011 @ 12:55 PM:


    jacobon March 19, 2011 @ 9:01 PM:

    What’s the drink in the 6th photo?

    The Brooklyn Good Guyon March 20, 2011 @ 5:54 AM:

    It’s almost 5am Sunday night/monday morning (depending on your perspective) and I am just now back in the hotel room watching sports center before I get some shut-eye and start mu journey back to New York in the morning. Great time out here. I must simply say it was a RAGE!

    Bernieon March 20, 2011 @ 1:44 PM:

    If you’re there you have to see The Black Atlantic. I saw them at Hotel Cafe in LA on Tuesday night…INCREDIBLE and very personable guys. The other must-see is MN native Jeremy Messersmith.

    You can thank me later.

    David Cogginson March 20, 2011 @ 2:25 PM:

    The Black Atlantic are great: They were part of our coverage last year for Interview.
    Saw Jeremy Messersmith–with string section–excellent.

    Alexon March 20, 2011 @ 7:14 PM:

    The drink is called a Michelada. Take any light mexican beer, I like Dos XX, some hot sauce I like Tapatio, tomato juice, salt and lime pour it over ice. delicious. I’m sure there are other fine variants of this recipe btw.

    Kon March 20, 2011 @ 9:21 PM:

    Sad there was no mention of the best local beers from Real Ale Brewing Co., 512, Live Oak, etc. and no mention of the best local taco places like Zocalo, Tacodeli, Torchy’s, etc.

    But thanks for coming to Austin. Hope y’all had fun here.

    Chris Brownon March 21, 2011 @ 12:37 PM:

    Dude, we should have met up.

    John Ron March 21, 2011 @ 12:43 PM:

    I’ve got to agree with my Austin compatriots: Good call on Smitty’s (though, no offense, but most folks not from the area would probably like something in town, such as Rudy’s, about as much as a trip to Lockhart, Taylor, Driftwood, Elgin, Lexington, etc.), but here are some other local beer and taco suggestions.

    Beer: Live Oak, Real Ale, 512. There are several more if you want more.

    Tacos: La Canaria, La Moreliana, El Meson, Julio’s, Papalote, El Taquito, El Chilito, Chango’s, Torchy’s, Taco Deli

    Ryanon March 21, 2011 @ 1:38 PM:

    Great post. Jealous.

    JASon March 21, 2011 @ 6:26 PM:

    I emphatically cast my vote for Franklin BBQ – now in a new, full-fledged restaurant on the Eastern edge – as a worthy competitor to any Lockhart joint,within Austin’s city limits (no pun intended). Purveyed by arguably the coolest (and impossibly unpretentious), hipster couple in smoking. Even seasoned Austinites will tell you their brisket is as good as any for which you’d otherwise have to drive for hours.

    williepon March 21, 2011 @ 6:42 PM:

    Good Post. Glad y’all had a fun time in Austin. Funny story about that house: A homeless man stole a wheel off my bike and as I was talking to the owner of the house his friend rode up wheel in hand saying that he had just bought it off a homeless man. Although he had no legal obligation to return it, he did. Good people.

    Aziccardion March 21, 2011 @ 7:03 PM:

    Nicole Atkins…Ah yes sir!

    Randolph Salsaon March 24, 2011 @ 12:45 AM:

    I see a “SAM!” here in the comments, and a photograph that looks just like him. Sam Amidon. A way to start and a way to end. Lyndon Johnson’s smiling at the good people in Texas. “Sugar Babe” revisited, restrung, rewired. Sinners we are, sinners we’ll be.

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