Photo by Asia Ashley
I started the day by drinking a large cup of water and putting on three pairs of socks. The second night of my SXSW had gotten cut short due to Austin Fire Marshalls with weak capacity rules and my feet weren’t getting any better after subjecting them to what was essentially a barefoot marathon in Converse. With my feet neatly packaged into my Bucketfeet sneakers, I set off for my busiest day yet since getting to ATX. Catching a ride downtown by the grace of friends, I was able to make it to the Big Picture Media showcase at the Thirsty Nickel where I met up with The Tontons for the first time since we met at last November’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, also in Austin, and caught up on all the band has been through in the few months since the festival that seemed to be their big stepping out party. I had expected to talk about their new album, Make Out King and Other Stories Of Love and the big rise in popularity they’ve seen since. Instead we talked about burst appendixes and the intricacies of Spenzo’s hit song “Wife Er” which is plastered on seemingly every pole in town, staring down a familiar face on the opposite side of the street as Lil Herb’s Welcome To Fazoland gets a big push down south. After the Tontons, I had the chance to talk to another BPM client, the Philadelphia-by-way-of-Los Angeles indie rock foursome Cheers Elephant. Interviews from both acts are coming soon, but check out the short Instagram previews for some fun facts about both.
After watching both perform, I hiked my way down sixth street to The Fader Fort presented by Converse, slipping in and managing to snag a free drink in time to catch one of my most anticipated bands, Elmhurst, Il-based punk band The Orwells who showed why their building a buzz as one of the leaders of a new school of the genre, as lead singer Mario Cuomo, always an enigma, was at his best in front of the Converse chucks mosaic of the Fader Fort. Writhing on his back onstage, standing in the crowd, singing with his fans, the frontman made sure to leave his mark one of the most popular unofficial showcases at SXSW. The longtime family friends played good, played hard; and then walked offstage. One of TDE’s latest signees, Isaiah Rashad took the stage afterwards, another act with a lot to prove. The Chattanooga native did just that, working through his catalogue and tracks of his latest project, Cilvia, even bringing out label-mate SZA who performs there later this week. After Rashad, my photographer Asia Ashley and I ran to our next interview. Continuing on the punk trend that had been established at the Fader Fort, we arrived at The Hangar Lounge just in time for St. Joseph, Missouri-based punk trio Radkey who put on one of the most authentically punk rock sets I’ve ever seen. The three brothers, Solomon (16), Isaiah (18) and Dee (20) absolutely killed their set and set themselves as a perfect complement to an act like The Orwells in the rise of punk rock again. The preview of that interview is also below. After that, I cruised sixth street, watched people pack the sidewalk outside of the G.O.O.D. Music event on 4th and Brazos and managed to not get caught up in the ugly car accident that left two dead and several injured after a motorist ran his car into a crowd watching the Mohawk/Tyler, The Creator show. Wednesday was also the first day of the vaunted IllMore after party, long known as the premier after party for SXSW. Moved to a larger complex this year, the event, put on by IllRoots and Scoremore felt more concert-like than last year, having traded the old plantation-style home and surrounding grounds for a modified indoor skating rink. Big Sean took the stage and ran through his hits, joined onstage by Travi$ Scott after several DJs rocked the crowd, fueled by a steady supply of Red Bull and Tito’s vodka. Overall, not a terrible day at all despite the tragedy that took place last night. Check back in tomorrow for more updates!