SXSW Diary

As many times as I catch myself saying “I hate SXSW” or “I’m never doing SXSW again,” I find myself “doing” SXSW every year and hastily booking tickets to Austin, to take on the mutant festival once again. I documented my (very) short trip back to Austin with a disposable camera and will attempt to give you insight on how a former local who isn’t a music expert but enjoys a good time spends their SXSW. 1

Day 1: I headed straight downtown to The Side Bar and ordered Lonestar, the official Texas beer. The dive bar was packed although it was the first full-fledged night of music, everyone was saving energy for bigger shows later in the week.

Day 2: I fuel up at Austin Java for a hearty meal before I begin my day of live music and free beer.


Once downtown, I spotted these nightmarish lines everywhere, and I stupidly got in one of them. I naively thought the line would go by quickly, but slowly realized that I was trapped and needed to wait it out because it became more about how much time I had invested in the line than about the bands playing on the other side.


Finally at the front of the line of the Pitchfork Day Party after a whopping hour and a half, but I’m not happy about my decision to wait in it.


I caught the last half of the Delorean set outside.

Headliner Youth Lagoon was next and we enjoyed a full 2 songs of the Youth Lagoon set before they got cut off due to sound curfew laws that forced the entire day party to end strictly at 6 PM.


Here’s a photo of Trevor of Youth Lagoon and his fans pleading for just one more song, where consequently they were still given a harsh “no.”

 After waiting an hour and a half to watch half a set and two songs, I officially decided I wouldn’t do anything else during SXSW unless it was easy.


Later that night, I headed off to the Dr. Martens x Filter showcase by myself to catch the Flatbush Zombies, which was the only show I had been hyped about catching. I snagged this photo of them before they went on to perform where they sport customized leather tees.


Although I was flying solo, I had more fun here than anywhere else watching this trio perform. And as I predicted, their amazing custom leather shirts were a terrible stage choice and left them super sweaty, but it didn’t stop them from thrashing around the stage. This was probably the best show I got to catch during my entire SXSW, but maybe it was because I was equally amused by their hype men perfectly rolling blunts on stage while jumping around on stage.

Day 3: My new mantra of only going to a show if it’s “easy” started my Day 3 off great.


 I headed to the Nylon showcase at the terrace of The W Hotel to catch Youngblood Hawke perform. A close friend’s brother, Simon Katz, is in the band, which made for wristband obtaining and line cutting an easy thing to achieve. Their delightful set was perfect for the outdoor setting, and Youngblood Hawke had restored my SXSW faith.

With this SXSW momentum, I thought I’d continue on and ran over to The Blackheart to watch Diiv. I caught half of their set, and then caught up with Gryphon Graham, DIIV’s newest member and ex-Austinite.


Gryphon and my big sis.


Zach flashing me. (I made them pose for my super professional disposable camera).

They had a few hours to kill before their next set, so we all headed to the nearest coffee shop to pump caffeine into our system in hopes it would get us through the night ahead of us.



I caught their Dickies x Filter showcase to catch the first half of their set that I had missed earlier in the day. (The beauty of SXSW, every band plays 10 times per day). Zachary Cole Smith is probably one of the most charismatic and gracious front men I had ever seen live (no wonder Sky Ferreira is with the babe), and with the performance of their new single ‘Dust,’ I’m sure everyone in the audience just fell in love.

Due to terrible flight scheduling, I had to completely miss out on the last day of SXSW, and this was the end of my extremely short 2013 SXSW experience. Although I missed performances by Prince, Depeche Mode, Usher, Justin Timberlake and Solange, I did pass by Owen Wilson walking down Lavaca, so it almost makes up for my failure of seeing the biggest performances right?

Kathleen Tso