Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sat. 3/20/10

Sat. SXSW -  The fun continues...

I roll into town just in time to get in line for the Black Keys, get a wristband, and get back down the street to catch "The Tenant" from Orlando, FL at Side Bar, per Joran's request. Dig it. I get some great, sort of intimate-looking shots with the filtered light coming in through the front window,
enjoy the gritty chill vibe, and then literally hop, skip, and jump back in the hopes of weaseling my way up to the front for the Black Keys.

The Mohawk is PACKED, of course, and they won't allow anymore Photographers into the little press area so I'm forced to fend for myself and I politely ask a short girl if I can borrow the chair she's standing on to grab a couple shots from above. She agrees but I realize the shots are crap and well, screw it, I love this band and I'm done being polite to all these out-of-towners who have not always been polite to ME this week. I decide to do it A-Hole style, throw my camera with it's visible press pass up on my shoulder and do the "excuse me, excuse me, I'm with the press" shuffle until I finagle my way right up to the front, pissing off several people who've clearly worked really hard to garner and maintain their positioning up front.  I know this because I hear them bitching in between songs as one of them fires up a smoke and blows it directly at my camera.  I honestly don't blame her and normally I wouldn't do this for a band like this but hey man, I had another band to shoot up the street and I didn't have the liberty of standing here for an hour holding my spot before they went on. So there.

Ok, now I feel better...

Anyway, so the Black Keys blow my face off completely. I am standing no more than four feet from guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach but you'd think he was in a room by himself; eyes closed, gripping his guitar like a woman he's clearly shared a tumultuous relationship with for a LONG time. He beats her and he...well, let's just say my brain was toying with ways to meet him after the show and I'm not even like that (For the record, there was a ring on his finger anyway.). I actually hear myself talking to my camera under my breath, going, "Oh yes, right there - Yeah, Oh Yeah - Give it to me."

This is by far the high point of SXSW for me.

By the time they finish, I feel like I need a cigarette and a cuddle so I meet back up with friends and eventually Joran at Habana Calle for 'Visqueen.'

I can tell almost as soon as we enter that Visqueen is from Seattle by the crowd of dark clothing and detached "nothing can impress me" faces, but Singer, Rachel Flotard cracks jokes in between songs and lightens them up a bit.
They're good and it's nice to see a chick so confidently rocking lead guitar and vocal but again, it's really not my thing so I grab my shots and head back over to Light Bar only to be distracted by the goings on at the Red Bull Thre3 Style Party featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff (Yes, Fresh Prince DJ Jazzy Jeff) for a few minutes but the cold and the surly crowd put a damper on it quickly.

Fortunately, Joran appears along with his cabbie and we head FAR east for "The Mantels" from San Fran at Club 1808.

Anyone who's spent any time in Austin will tell you that the east side crowd is quirky, hip, and often very young, and this was definitely no exception. At least there's good lighting. We are out in no less than twenty minutes, sending Joran with hugs back to the hotel to pack for the trip back to Tampa in the a.m.

Scott and I make it to the "You Make Me Function" Detroit techno party at the Hogg Building, two levels of various rooms with dj's, vodka, and energy drinks. We dance the night away trying to ignore the crowd which becomes increasingly douchy after 2 a.m.
The music is great though until we realize all of Scott's friends have left and he can't leave me for more than two minutes without some collared shirt sleazing up next to me, so we follow suit, head out of town and fall into respective comas until almost 4pm the next day...


Thank you to everyone who made it great, but most especially to Creative Loafing, for giving me a badge and trusting that I'd get some great pix!  It was truly an awesome experience!!

See all my 'South By' pix here:

See you next year!! :)


Monday, March 22, 2010

SXSW Day 3 - Friday

I totally miss Fanfarlo yet again, along with another band I've been assigned to cover for CL because sleep has become increasingly scarce.  Fortuntely, they're playing again tomorrow.  Unfortunately, due to continuous running around like a chicken with no head and a small cold at the beginning of the week, I have lost my voice.  Naturally, this is also the day my friend and I are playing host to a trio of Brits (Meat Katie, Kid Blue, & friends) who've come in to spin at various electronic parties.  The no voice thing makes me sound a bit like Marlon Brando choking on glass in a library but I try my best to just keep nodding and smiling, knowing that come night fall, it won't matter anymore so long as I can still shake my can.

Lunch at Iron Cactus begins the day with the tastiest spicy broccoli ever, then we meander with the Brits over to the swanky Shangri-La on the east side.  Sugar Sugar Sugar

lays down some uber-heavy, melodic, Sabbathy, White Stripes-ish strangeness.  A husky voice which sounds, oddly enough, like mine at the moment, growls out from a 'Cousin It' looking hesh in the front.  The drummer is a smokin hot mess of sticks with a saucy red flower in her hair to match her red kit and lipstick.  I make fun of them a little bit, mostly just because it's just too damn early for my fuddy-duddy brain to handle such noise.  My prog-rock friend, Skippy however, loves them enough not only to buy a disc but also to buy me a t-shirt as a joke which I will later wear to bed if I ever find one..

Next up is Emo's, outside stage, since once again, the whole max capacity thing prevents us from getting anywhere near Neon Indian on the inside.  Japandroids, a two man wall of sound, start off their set by yelling "We're gonna tear shit up!" (or something along those lines).  The Singer/Guitarist stands on the drum riser slamming into his guitar Who-style, and otherwise goes bananas, perhaps to compensate for the fact that the actual music itself really isn't all that, but hey, maybe i'm just getting grumpy and critical from the lack of proper sleep.

My good friend Matt's band Quiet Company, who I genuinely love and even have a little cameo spot in the back of their video for "On Modern Men," has played three times during South By, including a showcase, and I've not been able to catch any of them so after he texts me to say that they are on the east-side (as am I), I exchange friends and make what turns out to be about a fifteen block trek only to find they played a short set and I've missed them yet again, dangit.

For the first time since moving to Austin, my tired, sick body demands a pedi-cab ride back downtown to Club Deville; that is, until we get up to 6th St, at which point my friend leans over and says "You know we've lost all our street cred by staying in here," and we tell the guy to let us off early.

After enjoying a much needed "Stray Dog" at the Hot Dog King, I catch Tan Lines at Club Deville, an experimental pop duo out of Brooklyn.
The singer says, "You won't hear music like this anywhere else at South By."  He's right. 
It's cool but not really my thing so I bail and realize as I pass Stubb's that Muse is playing tonight not tomorrow.  Amazingly I'm inside within 15 minutes and though cams aren't allowed in the front half of the venue (just for Muse), the tail end of the show is an amazing array of epic arena rock with an entire venue singing along loudly.
I make a little gay friend in line and he offers to 'smoke me out' in his car after the show but seeing as how I haven't partaken in those sorts of festivities in about a decade, I pass and head for Shakespeare's Pub where once again, I amazingly only wait about 15 minutes (thank you Creative Loafing for the badge!) and score a spot dead center right next to the stage.

I may have mentioned, I got hooked on Fanfarlo off thesixtyone.com and have been addicted to their happy, infectious pop ever since.  The singer sounds uncannily like David Byrne of the Talking Heads so for some reason, I'm expecting someone older but he's just a kid.  A very talented kid with a Fanfarlo-astic band behind him.

This show is the highlight of my night.  I dance hard to "Luna," the last song of their set and then hobble my broken carriage back east across the 6th St gutter mayhem to The Independent, where my friend, Scott says "Daedelus is Killin It." 
"It" turns out to be this insane sort of thrashing techno.  I'm told he started with dub-step and lo-fi doo-wop and then worked his way up to the thrashing point but never the matter cuz I hit the wall about two hours ago and this is more than my brain can stand. 

Walk back across 6th, find my bike amongst the insanity of drunk people, half eaten pizza slices, and general mayhem.  Ride to the car, go home, soak, pass-out, rinse, and repeat again tomorrow if I can get out of bed...

Sasha Rae

See all Sasha Rae Photo SXSW pix here:


Shooting SXSW Day 2 - Thurs. 3/18/10

Day 2 SXSW

Three strikes and I finally get to see a band.  After a much too long first night at 'South By,' I get a late start and spend the first part of the day riding my big brown old school Dyno cruiser all over town only to find lines much too long to actually get into anything. 

First attempt and biggest disappointment was 'Fanfarlo'
at the Ghost Room, the Talking Heads sounding band I first discovered on thesixtyone.com (the greatest music site next to Pandora). 
On a positive note though, as I pulled up to the front, I approached the first approachable person I saw and Said, "Did I miss them?!" to which he replied, "Yeah, we're done," to which I replied, "Wait...You ARE Fanfarlo?" 
Indeed, he was the horn player and a very nice guy, to boot, so of course I gave him my card and told him to look me up.  *Smile*

Second try was Sharon Jones and the Dap KingsThe Mohawk was filled to capacity but I could hear her whaling from outside as I stood sweating and cursing the extraordinarily long line and the long bike ride I had just made with a camera bag that was starting to feel like a bowling ball slung over my shoulder (parking is not even a possibility).  I've heard from several musician friends that she puts on a show like no other and judging by the crowd noise and the excitement emanating from the people in the upper level visible from the street, I'd say they were right. 
O-well....maybe next time.

Back on the bike to traverse across town yet again, this time to Mellow Johnny's bike shop to find yet another line wrapped around the building.  I decide to wait this one out though and am rewarded with a sleepy, blue-eyed California mellow trip from Rogue Wave,  including the song "Lake Michigan," which I recognize also off thesixtyone.com.  I realize this is the first time I've stopped moving and exhaled possibly in several days.  It's quite nice. 

Knowing these lines though, I leave early to get up north to Urban Outfitters where I find myself wading through a veritable sea of young people who look like they've just finished shopping there.  Washed Out takes the stage promptly at 6:10.  'Washed Out' is one guy.  One super smiley, sweaty, happy guy; Part DJ, part Singer, and all fantastic.

Immediately following his set, he is joined by the rest of his band mates and quickly transforms into "Mexican Summer."  They sweat and bump their way through their set and by the end, even the most jaded and cynical hipsters are smiling and bobbing their heads. 
Very impressive.  Now a quick run home to change clothes for 'STP' tonight.

*One hour later*

So the plan was to shoot Stone Temple Pilots, however, as it turns out, no cams are allowed unless you're on the list.  The list has two people on it and I'm not one of them.  Neither is CL writer, Joran, so I offer to swing by the venue anyway to pick up his video camera so he can at least go inside and see the show but when I get to the corner near the venue, he just jumps in the car and says, "Eh, screw that place.  Let's go hit Stubb's and catch Band of Horses and Local Natives."
I'm already booked to go catch a drink and enjoy some peace for a second with a friend who lives in one of those downtown condos everyone's always bitching about, which I have to admit is Quite nice (concrete floors, floor to ceiling glass door/window out to the balcony overlooking two beautiful pools below and an amazing view of the entire city.
Sorry.  I get the complaints but it was gorgeous), so I drop Joran at the corner and tell him I'll meet him there soon.

Two vodka ginger ale's later, I've lucked into a killer downtown parking spot in his garage and I'm off again on the bike to Stubb's.  Being sadly out of touch, I'm unfamiliar with Local Natives
but they knock my socks off with their 'making love to their instruments, totally "in it"' performance and like many times throughout the festival, I find myself thinking that if I didn't have somewhere else to be, I'd gladly catch the whole set.  However, I'm off to meet friends for afterhours electronica to destroy my immune system some more...
Peace out.

See all SXSW pix here:



Creative Loafing SXSW blog where some of my SXSW pix are being published

Wading through the biggest mess of Photogs I've ever seen, Austinites, 'Spoon' took the Stubb's stage at around 12:30, playing to a packed house of head bobbing hipsters from all over the country and the world (I'm hearing so many different accents this week, I almost feel like I've traveled to some distant place).  Their live sound, amazingly, is just as thrilling as their recordings and despite getting constantly bumped, I managed to get some nice shots out of it.

See all SXSW Sasha Rae Photo pix at:

See 'Creative Loafing SXSW blog featuring some of my pix at:

Tomorrow promises to be pure mayhem...

Catch ya on the flipside,

-Sasha Rae


Sunday, March 21, 2010

So I've been shooting SXSW on behalf of 'Creative Loafing' - Tampa, FL, my old alma mater and I've been journaling my experiences, starting w/ Wednesday, 3/17/10 here...