Vicariously Visiting SXSW

I’ve never been to SXSW. Been meaning to, but just haven’t jumped on that caravan yet  to check out all the insanity and charm such fest could offer.  I asked a couple of noisemaker buddies to share their experience of this year’s event and thought I’d share with fellow Yab Yum readers! I spoke with Jackie Cruz of Man Hands and Jeff Doing of The Rebel Set.

Jackie Cruz of Man Hands

Photo courtesy of Man Hands

Dusty Rose: First, let me start with…that was your first time in Austin right? Or have you been there before? Was it everything you imagined it would be?

Jackie Cruz: This was actually our second time in Austin but first time playing SXSW. Last time we were there we played Hotel Vegas and that was an awesome show. We actually spent most of our time at Hotel Vegas during SX too, since most of the bands we wanted to see were already playing there. It was better than I ever imagined it would be! I’m generally a pretty cranky person (ha!), so I didn’t think I’d be able to handle the crowds, but it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had.

You crawled under a fence to see Ty Segal…what other shenanigans did you guys get into?

Haha well…after we snuck into that show I actually fell on top of a table trying to crawl across the crowd. There were like a few hundred people there and all I wanted to do was get to the front. I was kind of in crazy mode by that time. Then I look up on the stage and James (our bass player) is up there with Ty Segall! So we end up sneaking backstage too. You needed these black wristbands to get back there, so when I walked past the bouncer, and he asked me where mine was, I told him that my band was back there and I needed to get through. He said ok. Then they came up to us asking if we needed anything so I asked where our beer was. He took me to the keg and we had free beer the rest of the night haha. It was nuts. Also, one of our band members got kicked out of Hotel Vegas the night before and we somehow got him back in!

What band blew you away?

There were so many great ones, it’s hard to pick just one. I know Marc will say Entrance Band was his favorite. I thought Speedy Ortiz and Ex Cult were amazing. And our friends Xetas and Lie were incredible as well.

Where did you guys stay?

We stayed at my friend Amanda’s apartment. We actually didn’t have a definite place until about 2AM the morning we got there. I was still texting and messaging people as we were pulling into Austin. We finally got there and to bed by 4AM. She took such great care of us and we love her forever!

What was the neatest place you saw?

I think being in downtown Austin, in the midst of all the chaos, was the neatest thing I saw. The way I’ve been describing it has been, Mardi Gras for punk kids haha. It was really exciting being in the middle of it all.

Were you able to check out any other fellow AZ acts?

We got to see some of Destruction Units set at Empire before our Friday show. Other than that, we didn’t get to catch any AZ bands.

Any  delicious grub?

I got Bibimbap out of a Korean food truck! It was the best thing that I ate. We also got some delicious tacos from a truck. It was like food truck heaven out there.

How many days were you in Austin?

We were only there for 3 days unfortunately. Next time we’re going to try to go for the whole week.

Were there any places you wish you could have checked out but didn’t have time to?

Yes. My biggest regret is missing the Coachwhips and Tyvek. By the time we would play and go to a show, it was really hard to get to another show in time. Especially trying to drive and park the van. I’m sad that I didn’t get to go to Beerland or Red 7. The lines were crazy long and we just didn’t have time.

What was your favorite moment/and or funniest moment?

My favorite moments were: seeing friends from all over the country in the same place, the free margarita bar and VIP leather couches at our B.O.B. showcase, the ridiculous stage at our B.O.B. showcase, playing New Movement Theater and Helm’s Deep and meeting our new friends Lie’. The whole experience was incredible and I can’t wait to do it again.

Photo from Burger Records.
Trailer Space Records Showcase.

Jeff Doing of The Rebel Set

Dusty Rose: You played Trailer Space Records for the Burger Records showcase…What did you like about that space? I think it would have been neat to see this band White Mystery…A frizzy red haired brother sister duo.  I guess they played after you guys.  What band were you looking forward to seeing there?   What band did you wish you had time to see there, but couldn’t? Did you buy any records?

Jeff Doing: We didn’t get as much time to see the bands at Trailer Space as we would’ve liked, due to our schedule and also because Trailer Space was packed to capacity pretty much all day, so by the time we headed back over there, the line out of the door was insane. But the bands we did see – Party Plants before us, and Lust Cats of the Gutters, Froth and Habibi – were great.

I know you were saying when you played Cali recently you guys put on Green Jellos giant costume heads amongst the crowd … any band shenanigans or funny stories occur during this SXSW trip? Did you meet anyone interesting or see anything crazy? What was your favorite part of this trip?

Obviously we were freaked out when we heard about the drunk driver accident that happened right by where we had performed. Luckily we had only been there during the daytime (not that there wasn’t a lot of drinking going on then, too) but we had decided to stay in that night in order to fly out early the next morning, so we were safe. So thankfully we weren’t around any of the kind of “craziness” that was going on that day.

Austin is known for its delicious grub…I know half of you guys are vegetarian and you were looking forward to the infamous Texas BBQ…were you able to get your hands on some good eats…any place you recommend?

Trailer Space is next door to a pretty good pizza place called East Side Pies. There was also a taco truck across the street. That provided the bulk of our food for the trip. No BBQ this time.

How many times have you been to South by Southwest? I know you guys went once before… What is one of your fondest memories there? I remember your bandmate telling me once you checked out the Dazed and Confused  Moonlight Tower and Office Space’s Initech…

This was our second time going. Last time we were there we had a van and more free time to go check out some of the sights that Austin can provide. This time was more limited, both in time and how we got around town. Next time we go we’ll get more time to see whatever hasn’t been seen already, or we can show Brandon around more, I guess.

Did you see Willie Nelson? I heard he was at your show. Not really.

Must have missed him.

How do you keep sane amongst the chaos…do you stick to a certain routine…place you stay…people you hang out with? Or do you just party all night long, get no sleep, and have coffee IVs ?

It depends on what’s going on. Obviously having to fly out at the crack of dawn in the morning, we weren’t going to be out all night. Plus we’d been out in the sun all day so it was a nice evening for relaxing. But other times are better for hitting the town and enjoying a night out. Just depends on what’s been going on.

Cowboy boots or bolo tie?


What was different about this year’s fest compared to other years you’ve been?

It’s hard to compare two different trips and say which one was the different one. But it seemed like things were more hectic this year, and it was a tighter strain on the city to keep the event functioning.

Lastly, Texas is known for its history of outlaw music… if you had to cruise through Austin listening to one outlaw musician or song who or what would it be?  

Charlie Shooter.


by Dusty Rose
Contributing Writer