Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Fresno goes SXSW: Day 2


Once again, we check in with James Collier and Ryan Jones — two Fresno guys who are in the thick of the madness that is the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Tx. They’re tracking some of our local bands as they wade through the throngs of shows happening every day. In this installment, that web of local music has tangled in a most lovely way.

Here are some words by James and photos by Ryan:

Okay, so the story goes something like this: 

- Strange Vine books a show at a house party for Tuesday. Due to travel delays, they have to cancel the show.

- On Monday, Ryan receives a call from a music connection, asking about equipment. His friend mentions that Kat Jones is in town looking for gigs. Ryan helps Kat connect to the house party.

- Kat invites Nick and Frick from Old Tire Swingers (pictured above) to stop by after her show, in hopes that they can set up a gig with Tara, the organizer. 


- Tara books Old Tire Swingers for Shiner’s Saloon the next day.

- At Shiner’s, we meet the guys from From Indian Lakes (they’re actually from Oakhurst, but they showed up to support another valley band).

- After Old Tire Swingers play, San Diego band Family Wagon sets up — they played with Strange Vine and Stone Foxes last time they were in Fresno.

After Shiner’s, we caught another set from Old Tire Swingers down the street, walked across an alley to catch Strange Vine (above), the hopped in a cab to catch Fierce Creatures. We split from the crew for a bit to catch M. Ward, Alabama Shakes and Andrew Bird (tough gig), but caught a second Fierce Creatures show (below).

They killed it. And members from all of the local bands mentioned above (along with John Hadden of Rademacher) were there to see it.



Here are a couple pics from the Andrew Bird set:



[all photos: Ryan C. Jones / Special to The Bee]

Responses to "Fresno goes SXSW: Day 2"

Stephen says:

I hesitate to say this, but why is this considered SXSW coverage?

That’d be like saying “Hey, did you see that great Rogue performance?!? Yeah, Anthony Taylor did an impromptu one-man “Hello Dolly” at Mike Oz’s house, and afterwards the OzBaby(tm) rapped along to tracks of GhostFaced Killah.

Best Rogue Ever!”

I think if it ain’t scheduled by the SXSW organizers, then it’s just a kinda-cool happenstance thing.

I have the same whine about people who say they’re going ‘on tour,’ when they’re just riding town-to-town and trying to book coffee shops. If you don’t have a pre-booked tour with T-shirts noting the cities, it ISN’T a tour.

And for lovely talented performers like Kat Jones, she’s not ‘playing sxsw.’ She’s just in town playing some pick-up gigs.

Best to them all tho.

Mike Oz says:

I’m calling shenanigans here.

Fierce Creatures and Strange Vine each went to Austin with a handful of gigs scheduled — they’re unofficial gigs, put on by record labels, blogs, etc. But still scheduled gigs. Rademacher is officially on the SXSW schedule.

But here’s where I call shenanigans: You’re right that it’s like the Rogue — but it’s like the Rogue in that there are a bunch of BYOV shows. That’s how SXSW is. The official festival provides the main structure and people build around it. Just like the Rogue. I don’t think anybody would say BYOV Rogue shows aren’t real Rogue shows. They’re just a part of the entire festivities.


James says:

Stephen, have you been to SXSW? Unlike Rogue, many – if not most – of the performances this week are “unofficial.” The bands are here busting their ass in hopes of gaining an audience; maybe next year they get a showcase. Maybe they go on tour. Maybe they just drive town to town picking up gigs in coffee shops.

Stephen says:

I’ve never been.

But Mike, BOV’s aren’t the same as ‘house parties,’ right? And the official Rogue program shows the BOV shows. The SXSW doesn’t show house parties and coffee shop shows. The Lamppost had some ‘thing’ they were calling a “Rogue” event, but it wasn’t at all.

I think SXSW would be pretty pissed if my sorry butt showed up promoting an SXSW show/house party/unofficial event for people to hear me sing. Nobody wants that, and they’d be pretty upset I was dropping their name and reputation into the mix.

I do get the point of just showing up and trying to get seen, but the beehive posts are tagged as if these are official SXSW gigs. Which I guess maybe they sorta are, if SXSW is that loose and that’s the expected ‘way.’

But don’t get me wrong, good on ALL the Fresno based acts – seems Fresno is certainly VERY well represented there by Fierce Creatures, Rademacher, Strange Vine and Kat. Yay for them all.

Mike Oz says:

I’d say the Rogue can teach us that a venue — any venue, be it a house, a thrift store, etc. — is what’s made of it. Who’s to say a record label in the world can’t have a kick-ass showcase in a downtown loft?

I don’t actually think the Rogue is the best comparison though. I think it’s ArtHop. There’s an official organization, some structure, but there’s a lot of room to do your own thing, be creative, etc. And sometimes you’ll see some people do amazing things in spaces that aren’t traditional.

james says:

Mike’s comparison is much more accurate, though to be completely honest, Fresno doesn’t really have *anything* that compares–few cities do. SXSW organized, but it’s also extremely chaotic, and the overall festival *experience* consists of a wide range of official and unofficial activities.

I’ll give one example: Shiner’s Saloon. It’s not an official gig, but at 5th and Congress, it’s in between several large venues; the group that’s organizing music there is the same that hosted the previously mentioned house party. They’re giving smaller acts a chance–Old Tire Swingers included. That’s where we discovered Family Wagon, a band that Ryan and I both agree is one of our favorite discoveries here.

On the sign out front of Shiner’s (and countless other venues in the heart of everything)? “Welcome, SXSW.”

If the organizers pitched a fit over the use of the festival’s name for “unofficial” activities, I’m certain they’d lose the much needed support of the community, which is currently host to thousands of visitors. They’d likely lose the support of many of those visitors, as well, as many (if not most) do not have badges, or perhaps even wristbands.

Now, back to official coverage: there’s a lot of people on 6th Street.

Stephen says:

Guess I should shut the eff up about thing of which I do now know or did not do research on:

Ryan Jones says:

Stephen, I think you’re getting a little too caught up on the semantics of “official” vs “unofficial”, which, after being here all week makes that distinction a blurry and, ultimately, irrelevant one.

Yes, there’s the *event* of SXSW, but more importantly there’s the *experience* of SXSW. This entire city and community rallies behind the experience it hopes to bring to its attendees and bands, and I can guarantee you that the official SXSW organizers aren’t curmudgeonly shaking their fists at the unofficial acts with the mentality that it’d somehow diminish the value of the whole SXSW experience. I’d say that of all the shows we’ve gone to over the last week, maybe 20% of them were official, so if we had to cover just those it’d be a pretty short trip [considering the scope of our project].

We’re here to show our support for the Fresno music scene, and to highlight some of the incredible artists that are tangentially related to Fresno — and there’s a LOT. The bands truly appreciate that we’re here telling their story, and it gives a much needed boost to the visibility of our local musical talent.

Hmmmm, we better get some t-shirts printed before we continue on our “tour”.

the Old Tire Swingers

MARCUS. says:

Guys,find something more important to bitch about than “what makes a touring band a touring band”. These bands bust their asses off and spend every f***ing dime they have to record, press records,and play out of town gigs.The last thing they need are people belittling their efforts. if these musicians could quit their jobs and live the rock and roll lifestyle and tour non stop, they would. Kat Jones has done it for years, The Old Tire Swingers are doing it NOW. Fierce Creatures tours as much as and and so forth…Who gives a s**t who’s doing the booking. Who really f***ing cares where, when, and how many shows they are playing. They’re all on the road traveling from town to town playing gig after gig to share the fruits of their hard work….Live Music…..ITS A F***ING TOUR.

Robin says:

Anyone who thinks “unofficial” SXSW isn’t SXSW has never been. THE ENTIRE MASS OF 1,400 BANDS and over 100 venues – our 6 day celebration of music and community are the flesh, bone, blood and nervous system of SX. It’s an ecosystem. Come to Austin for SXSW and see if you can possibly stick to just “official” events. And why would you? You’d be losing out on so much of what the whole thing is about and exists for. In fact, some of the most famous “SXSW discoveries” were found on the street or in small, “unofficial” SXSW gigs, playing their guts out in a quasi- “audition” for anyone with any pull who might hear it. SXSW is a force- a common love of music in a chaotic frenzy of festival madness, music of all kinds, day and night, in all sort of venues, from clubs to rooftops to parking lots. Everywhere, music – some known, most unknown. SXSW is a spirit. Readers like you who are getting the real coverage, the essence of the whole ecosystem, are the lucky ones.

Tara Daniel says:

Thanks for the SXSW 2012 coverage! The house party and Shiner’s Saloon gigs mentioned above were hosted by Austin Collective. Altogether we booked 55 bands at 6 different venues. All of the Fresno bands blew me away with their talents and awesome attitudes! Thanks again for everything and hope to see everyone again next year.