After circling the blocks east of Interstate 35 on Sixth and Seventh Streets for ten minutes I found a parking space big enough to squeeze my brother’s ’94 GMC pickup truck into. My little brother lent me the true Texas truck for the time in Austin, and its straight pipes make a gnarly roar, even when parrell parking. I swing my feet from the cab of the truck and let gravity pull my body out into the street, my heels hit hard and I am reminded that this is day 4 of SXSW, the last day. My ambition is running low. Two large cups of coffee, a shot of espresso, and the best breakfast tacos in town [link to] won’t help the body overcome three consecutive fifteen-hour days of music. It’s not that I don’t want to see live music, I have a whole list of bands I want to see today, it’s rather that I don’t want to walk everywhere to see them. This year SXSW felt less attended, however it’s not. It is more spread out. The FADER Fort moved to the eastside of the interstate. Places like The Scoot Inn, Victory Grill, Homeslice Pizza, and the Shotlz Beer Garden have all booked bigger acts. Which means an intense amount of walking. With the amount of technology at SXSW you’d think that someone could figure out an app for the iPhone. Download and run the ‘Beam me up South By” app.


One of the best freebies I’ve snagged this year, and they aren’t as abundant as last year due to economic downfalls I assume, is the Hometapes [] sampler, ‘Here All Beautifully Collides.” The treasure chest of music holds ‘9 Unreleased Gems- 5 Classics- 3 Covers – [and] 1 Remix,” including a perfect and previously unreleased recording of Megafaun’s song, ‘Kaufman.” One of the best performances I’ve seen at SXSW was the acoustic set Megafaun did at Friend Island. The all day party, brought in part by Absolutely Kosher, Team Clermont, and Misra, took place at an art gallery twelve blocks away from the mix of SXSW parties. When Megafaun did their acoustic set the room was packed yet somehow silent. Even though the three laid back Wisconsin guys would never admit to it, their acoustic set is an opportunity for the group to show off just how talented of musicians they are as well as how carefully crafted their songs are. Every element of movement is part of the song, including when drummer Joe Westerlund picks up a string of bells from the concrete floor, induces a slight wrist-flick, and then slowly sets them back down. Or, when banjo player Phil Cook brings his vocal and banjo part futher into the crowd, building a crescendo up to its peak, and completes it with a kiss to a close friend in the audience it’s all part of the song. Their record is slated to come out this summer on Hometapes, which should make a solid track list for those lazy, late summer afternoons that melt into the night.

**To admit defeat would to be to say that I lost, so I would rather say that the entire crowd at the Levi’s FADER Fort that showed up for the Kanye West show was more ‘prepared” than I. If it wasn’t for these [] wristbands and and a quick chat I had with the guy at the door earlier that day, I would not have been able to get in on such a quick minute. The general admission line, standard white wristband required, spanned the whole length of the block-long fort and inside the place was already packed. I worked my way to the front, near the right set of speakers, and waited an hour and half, until I couldn’t move, literally. I couldn’t take it. I tried, but my patience was nowhere near that of Paul Thompson [link to his blog post] It was 9:20, the Physics of Meaning were set to play at 10pm, twelve blocks on the other side of the interstate, and they weren’t done with sound check, so I left and opted for easier breathing.**

The Physics of Meaning,simply put, are amazing. Daniel Hart’s ability as a musician to write songs, lead a band, all while sharing his time with such acts as St. Vincent and John Vanderslice, are only a few reason why his group is so powerful. The energy and congruency of their live performance is a force to recokened with. Their show started with ‘In Dreams, We Discover Ourselves, Broken and Yearning,” a near three minute violin solo from Hart, which then melded into ‘Destiny Reveals An Unbelievable Truth.” The two songs are the first two tracks from their most recent release, ‘Snake Charmer & Destiny At The Stoke of Midnight.” Both performances they delivered on Friday, one where the group more than dented a makeshift stage at Friend Island from the series of foot stomping and then the other at Lambert’s for an official SXSW showcase, were memorizing. The songs have an ability to tap into the rhythm of each person in the audience and hold on to their attention for the entire song. An attention grabber is bassist Wil Wright’s interesting technique of patting the top of this bass and almost rocking the body back and forth to create an organ like addition to songs. This group should be writing songs for soundtracks, and although that may be a whimsical, personal idea, it is a real possibility. Hart will soon be leaving NC for LA, although his belongings have been in storage for the past two years due to extensive touring. The group plans to continue as they have, explained Wil Wright,

‘It shouldn’t affect much. Daniel is on the road all the time anyways. We will just keep doing what we do, or at least I hope so, because I love it.”

There was a long line to get into the Red Eyed Fly Saturday night, not as long as the line for Metallica the night before at neighboring club Stubbs, but long enough to make me worry about getting in to see Dexter Romweber Duo. Dex and sister Sara have a new record out on Bloodshot Records, and its keeping the duo busy and fans happy. The two played for a full crowd of both young and old. The type of crowd that comes to see the pair has always amazed me. It’s a weird combination of young rockers in skinny black jeans and vintage plaid shirts alongside older fans that want nothing to do with Categorizing aside, the two siblings played as tight and smooth as ever. Dex’s Silvertone guitar never gave him a second of fuss and despite what he later said felt weird, the show was on point.

Dex is a character, as Bryan Reed describes in his interview [] with the modest man of rock. He is a cool laid-back guy that enjoys making music, and fun to talk to. I had skipped across the street to check out Floating Action, Seth Kauffman’s semi-new lineup, and then returned in hops of catching up with Dex. So I took a seat at the table behind Austin’s notable, The King’s Hotdog trailer and waited to see if he’d show, and sure enough, in less than thirty minutes I was eating a hotdog with Dex, talking about the clouds moving overhead, and where the next part of his six-week tour schedule takes him. We talked about the new record and the collaboration with Neko Case, who Dex explained was his manager’s idea. Dex, however, was more focused on catching up with Exene, who had preformed earlier that night, and Exene was more focused on talking about how the tracks on his record came out. The two shared thoughts on which track ended up with the best overall sound, when her and John Doe would be touring again, and how performing at the Red Eyed Fly was acoustically weird,

‘It’s like performing in your own bedroom,” Exene said.

‘Yeah, only there are two hundred people watching you,’ Dex added.

I sat there and finished my King Hotdog, dripping with mustard and sauerkraut. My feet were aching and I looked at my schedule of bands left in the last hour of SXSW. I looked at Exene and Dex, leaned in across the table that was scattered with sauerkraut and ketchup drippings. They were on to making plans for when Dex rolls through her part of the Midwest. I put the schedule in my back pocket, forgot about the last indie-buzz band on my list, and looked up at the clouds. Dex was right, they were moving pretty damn fast.