From the previous updates dispatched by our SXSW correspondents James Collier and Ryan Jones, it sounded like Austin is a crazy place to be right now. But I think Ryan’s picture above shows that better than any words can. Wow.
Anyhow, here’s another update about some of our local bands crawling around the mammoth music festival. Words by James, photos by Ryan. It’s a bit of an extension from the discussion in the comments of Thursday’s post.
We’ve been following the Fresno-area bands around to small venues all over town. Yesterday that took us to a strip-mall coffee shop several miles out of downtown — far from any official SXSW showcases. It was one of Rademacher’s first shows.
Let’s be clear: these aren’t glamourous gigs. There’s hope of selling a few items (CDs, t-shirts), or of connecting to someone that can point to another gig, but the audience is sparse — especially during the day. Nick from Old Tire Swingers told us they’re making more money, and getting better exposure, by busking.
But it’s these small gigs that make this such an incredible experience. Sure, watching Andrew Bird play the big stage at Stubb’s was awesome. So was Patrick Watson’s performance last night inside a church sanctuary. But the smaller, unofficial venues give you direct access to the artists, and there’s a tangible sense of camaraderie.
Anyway, it was at that coffee shop last that we met Danny Garcia from Foe Destroyer, a long-time friend of Mike from Rademacher. After hearing that we were there following local bands around town, he smiled and said, “I love Fresno. That’s where I was born.”
Today, we’re checking out a few more acts that have Fresno connections. We’ll probably check out a few official acts, too–it’s our last night here, after all.
PHOTOS (from top): Rademacher’s Malcolm Sosa and RC Essig, Rademacher crowd view, Rademacher’s Jon Hadden, ex-Fresnan Danny Garcia of Foe Destroyer and Fresno band Strange Vine.
[all photos: Ryan C. Jones / Special to The Bee]