Live From SXSW: Day One

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Ex-Cult hit the road for SXSW at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and thanks to our smart phones we avoided the horrendous traffic on I-40 west and took a state highway through beautiful rural Arkansas. Why are all the lakes around Forrest City, Arkansas the color of Mountain Dew Baja Blast? Other than a few minor traffic setbacks, we made really good time and got into Austin around 12:30 a.m..

Because we had no desire to get into the chaos that was happening downtown (and because they stop serving booze at 2 a.m.), our first stop was The Grand, a nice pool hall that seemed like more of a local hangout than a hipster haven. However our server assured us there would be live music at The Grand for the rest of the weekend. There's probably 30 bands playing there right now. I suppose I should take this time to give some background on SXSW for those who are unfamiliar. What started out as a festival to get unsigned bands attention (and record deals) has turned into a full-blown shit show, with 1000's of bands playing anywhere they can plug a power strip into.

Seriously, there are so many shows going on 24/7 that businesses actually have signs that say NO LIVE BANDS HERE. Yes, its gotten to the point where its rare for a band NOT to be playing. SXSW is also an energy vortex. Because there are roughly 891735 people trying to Instagram their experience, cell phone coverage is almost non-existent. I left the house we were staying at with a full charge and by 2 p.m. my phone was dead. I've got a charger in my pocket and a camera in my hand, so I promise tomorrow's recap will be HEAVY on the pictures. Until then, enjoy these two photos of La Luz and Ty Segall playing Street Legal Guitars, a new guitar store with a warehouse space for shows.

Seattles La Luz warms up the crowd at Street Legal Guitars
  • Chris Shaw
  • Seattle's La Luz warms up the crowd at Street Legal Guitars

A blood-thirsty crowd inches closer to Ty Segall and his band.
  • Chris Shaw
  • A blood-thirsty crowd inches closer to Ty Segall and his band.

Alex Burden photographed the showcase of Memphis R&B legends at the 2014 SXSW.

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