I can’t tell if I’m exhausted or still hungover, but I know that my post-SXSW sickness -- and the one that everyone who was in Austin is currently suffering from -- is completely worth it. Did YOU get to light shots on fire with some of your best friends/favorite musicians, watch Deer Tick smash their gear to blithereens shortly after belting out “Lithium” and almost get motor-boated by Carmen of Bodega Girls?

Because somebody did. And that somebody was ME.

SMOKE AND SAND: Great party, great friends, great time. Ryan’s got impeccable taste (hey, he and I tend to agree on who’s up-and-coming out of Boston—as demonstrated by the fact that half the Boston to Austin crew also played Smoke and Sand!) and is a good buddy, so naturally we made it a point to stop by. Favorite moments: finally catching Dave Godowsky live (as I’ve been meaning to do for what seems like forever now), shaking it with Nikki and Jen as Bodega Girls rip up yet another stage, dancing like a teenager at their first rock show during the amped up McAlister Drive set and doing about three tequila shots too many on the back patio because it was Ben V’s beautiful girlfriend’s birthday. (To those of you who are probably rolling your eyes at another mention of alcohol: Deal. Serious boozing, fortunately/unfortunately, is a reality and—though not always—a necessary evil at SXSW. Plus, the bartenders in Austin are cute, okay?!)

DASTARDLY: When May You Never… came across my desk in January, I had never heard of Dastardly and now that I know and love their music I can’t imagine why them silly critics in Chicago haven’t smartened up to their sound yet. The night before, our Boston caravan had attempted to hit a house party that our friends from Chicago were playing but we got sidetracked and the place turned out to be pretty far out on the west side of town. Needless to say, we made their set at the Jackalope a priority after Smoke and Sand, and I’m glad we did because Dastardly sounded just as exuberant and effortless with their homegrown Awk-ericana as they did when I saw them a month or two ago at the Lily Pad.

(Awk-ericana: trying to make it happen. It’s a nerd rock/roots rock hybrid. Get it?)

After that, we walked across the street to a bar where Naseem insisted on ordering flaming doctor peppers and Mikey documented the ensuing explosion. How we escaped this alive/unsinged, I have no idea.

GIRLS GUNS AND GLORY: After running into Ward, Mike and Chris at every other show all week, it seemed only fair (and polite!) to stop by the Girls Guns and Glory set at the Ginger Man before making our way over to Dawes. Jenée and I danced like maniacs; the rest of the dudes kind of hung out. Favorite Girls Guns and Glory song: “Soft Raccoon,” where Ward vamps for what feels like hours talking about all the girls he used to love. The build-up is sweat-and-shake-inducing.

That sounds gross, but I’m trying not to get too carnal, here.

Evidence below, and don’t cheat and fast-forward to the end:

DAWES/DEER TICK/”DEERVANA”: My favorite show of SXSW 2011. Hands down. As previously demonstrated, I am an unapologetically huge Dawes/Deer Tick/Delta Spirit fan, as are the majority of our friends we were hanging with at SXSW, so a bunch of us rushed over to the Lustre Pearl to ensure we’d get in for what promised to be one of the most packed shows of the festival. Taylor Goldsmith’s voice is incredible. Period. You don’t see “exquisite vocal technique” a lot when it comes to writing up a rock frontman these days, but Goldsmith’s got it. I jumped up and down like a moron for about twenty minutes after Matt Vasquez, John McCauley (Taylor’s Middle Brother partners in crime) and half of Deer Tick stormed the stage to help Taylor out with “When My Time Comes” and my friends can all attest to that.

I was expecting Dawes to kill it, per usual.

What I wasn’t expecting, however, was the frightening/violent/absolutely fucking incredibly Deer Tick Nirvana cover set, complete with McCauley sporting red hair dye and a really hardcore/hammered fan hopping on his back like a baby chimp. Deer Tick smashed their guitars to pieces and threw half the drum kit into the audience at the end of the set and there were at least 10 instances of crowdsurfing between McCauley and Vasquez alone, so … yeah. I can’t do anything else but widen my eyes and shrug bewilderedly. “Deervana,” well done. (Clip of the set below — we were off and to the right, ten feet from the stage or so.)

BODEGA GIRLS TRIUMPHANTLY DESTROYING THE PEREZ HILTON PARTY: As we were leaving the Lustre Pearl, I got the following text from Jake at 3:10am: “We literally just got the plug pulled at the Perez Hilton show. Stormed the stage with the crowd.”

“We have pics. Insanity. Where are you guys? Miley was there.”

We then booked it across town to meet up with the Bodega crew fresh from the Dirty Vegas set, where I found Carmen in her typical headdress/evening gown combo and a bunch of our other friends hanging out in front of the Ginger Man. (Side note: Are the Ginger Man and the 512 the new Boston music homes-away-from-homes in Austin? Seems like everyone and their mother played there at least twice at SX …) Anyways, a cell phone pic from Jake of the madness that ensued:

A SXSW STREET FAREWELL: The roving Boston caravan attempted to get into the Vice party—which was being swarmed at the door like the entrance of a Walmart in Milwaukee on Black Friday—so this is the point where we said our goodbyes and “see you back home”s on 6th Street. I made it back to the hotel a mere four hours before I was to be heading out the door again on the way to the Austin airport, my only regret being that I hadn’t attempted to crowdsurf myself at the Deervana or Middle Brother shows.

Overall, though, I think we can all agree that SXSW for team Boston was nothing short of an indomitable success.

HFH from SXSW 2011, over and out.



As the Music + Arts Editor, Hilary gets 10,000 emails a day. Send her one!


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