Friday dawned hot in Texas. Big-time hot. High-of-92-degrees hot. Our first show of the day was a quick stop at the Next Big Nashville shindig to see Caitlin Rose. She wowed as usual—even if that first beer went down a little rough. Jason Moon Wilkins put on a chill party in a great venue, and we hear it got pretty packed later in the day.
We stopped by a few more gigs, including the Pitchfork party at Emo’s where we caught the second half of one of Jay Reatard’s breakneck 17-minute sets.
Then, we had to kiss the hand that feeds us, so we headed over to the Village Voice Media party at La Zona Rosa, where there was free food and drinks, and we arrived just in time to see the Black Keys. Later on, we nabbed a sweet sofa out front and spent some time unwinding and schmoozing.
Man, it was hot. After leaving VVM, we walked a few short blocks to the Nylon party. Held on an entire level of a parking deck, the sprawling party featured ice cream, a couple of stages and a bunch of promotional teams. Fortunately, we had nabbed a spot on the V.I.P. list and went upstairs for some free stuff.
When we stepped out of the stairwell, we found ourselves in some kind of magical hipster oasis. There was a pool, a nice breeze and plenty of people in stupid-looking outfits. I took the chance to dip my aching feet and we also ran into Scene freelancer and SXSW-on-the-cheap maestro Seth Graves.
A word on feet: This morning I used Gmaps Pedometer to calculate my approximate distance covered. On Friday I walked over 5 miles. Now, that in and of itself wouldn’t be a big deal (I work out, what of it?), but you are also standing up for hours, and hours and hours. I’ve taken to sitting down wherever there’s a smidge of room—curbs, ledges, the floor. Anyway, if any of you Cream readers want to practice your foot massages when I return, lemme know.
After the Nylon party, we took a quick break at the hotel. Tracy went off in search of some British rock, and I headed back to Sixth St. to see singer-songwriter David Dondero. On the way, I ducked into Prague and watched half of Fuck Buttons’ set. There seems to be an ever-increasing number of bands with “Fuck” in the name.
Before Dondero, I caught a few minutes of Aloha, who had a cool, jangly rock sound. Dondero opened his set with a song about a sandwich—literally. It wasn’t relationship metaphor or cutesy irony, just a song about po boys and how much he loves them—and his favorite place to get them in New Orleans. Dondero had a healthy dose of his cult followers in the crowd, and he played a set that spanned his albums. Unfortunately, Habana Calle, the impromptu outdoor venue that hosted him, wasn’t ideal for his angular, literate rock, but I’m a fan and it was my first time seeing him, so I still left happy.
After about three quarters of his set, I left to meet up with Out The Other’s Janet Timmons and check out Brooklyn’s White Rabbits (a band she raves about) at Club De Ville. Apparently I just missed Elijah Wood. Timmons had quite the luck with celebrity sightings.
White Rabbits were energetic and refreshing—with two drummers and a really dynamic sound.
I left a bit early to head to my final destination of the night: Nada Surf. I caught the tail end of Tapes 'N Tapes when I arrived at the Cedar Door.
Then it was the Brooklyn trio’s turn. The songs from the new album sounded excellent—especially the first single “See These Bones” and “Weightless.”
I also saw my first gendered Port-O-Potty. A fine way to end a very long day.
Still to come: A report on Saturday, a.k.a. The Day My Body Started To Really Hate Me, and a wrapup of my thoughts on SXSW 2008.