And then, because I've heard that sitting still in a conference room under fluorescent lights and watching people talk is a great hangover cure, I stuck around the convention center for the "Nashville Now" panel moderated by Next Big Nashville's Jason Moon Wilkins. Would anyone who wasn't from Nashville actually show up for a talk about Nashville in Austin? Surprisingly (to me, anyway), yes!
As panels go, this one was pretty lively, and I'd say that by the end there were about 40 people there to hear expert real talk — via Wilkins, Third Man Records' Ben Swank, Turbo Fruits' Jonas Stein, Claritas Capital's Mark Montgomery, Ditto Music's Lee Parsons and Grimey's' Mike Grimes — about Nashville's musical diversity, our industry infrastructure, our tech infrastructure, our publishing, recording and sound reinforcement infrastructure, and also our talent infrastructure. Grimey especially loves the word "infrastructure," so be sure to mention it when you see him. (Thanks to Jonas for a nice shout-out to me and the Scene, by the way.) Fun talk, actually, and the first indication of the day that people are noticing Nashville in new ways. Using technology you can listen to it, too. I chatted with folks for a bit after the panel, and Jay Millar from United Record Pressing handed me one of those JEFF the Brotherhood mini-records we told you about. I haven't played it, so I don't know whether or not I won the 500 free 7-inches yet. Fingers crossed!
I was still feeling like sun-baked cow dung at this point, so I wandered around for a bit contemplating food vs. music, food vs. music, food vs. lying down in the street. I ended up outside of Brooklyn Vegan's party at Swan Dive, and ducked in for the end of a set by Braids, a Montreal band whose members look like they're about 12 years old. I was ready to be unimpressed by them, based on some fly-by listens here and there, but they were quite engaging live — some very Cocteau Twins-esque atmospherics, lots of reverb, as is the fashion lately, pulsating synths, and some interesting wrinkles in the arrangements, all expertly played. I thought about yelling the name of a Braid song but knew there was absolutely zero chance of anyone in the very young-looking crowd getting that joke. Also, it's not a very good joke. (Side note: Braids singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston looks enough like Tristen in certain press photos that Tristen's own father mistook her for his kin, but in real life she actually looks more like Jessi Darlin if Jessi Darlin were Canadian and twee as fuck.)
From there it was off to Mohawk for the Panache showcase, and Natural Child were already on when I got there. DPR already gave a run-down of the show in his recap, so I'll just add a few things. First, the place was packed for JEFF the Brotherhood, and just because fellow Nashvillian Dillon Watson (aka D. Watusi) was one of the first people to jump on top of the frothing crowd doesn't mean he was the last. Second, the place was buzzing after they played, as it was much of the night. After Turbo Fruits powered through probably the best set I've ever seen from them, I unexpectedly ran into a friend who lived in Osaka, Japan, when I met her 12 years ago, and who is now apparently in a band from Brooklyn called The Hard Nips. Small world! I also chatted for a minute with Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber up on the balcony. At one point I said, rather immodestly, "There's a lot of cool shit happening in Nashville right now," to which he replied, without hesitating: "Definitely." I give that response a 9.2.
While other members of Team Cream split off to the Tazerfest at DFA, the drunkfest at the Vice afterparty and wherever the hell the phone-less Seth Graves wound up, I ambled over to East Austin to drink half a beer with P.J. Tobia and Heather Courtney, who had witnessed a PTSD incident earlier in the evening. (Somehow I managed to avoid much mayhem.) At this point the crowds were fucked-up and either getting belligerent or falling over themselves. If you've ever been to Bonnaroo, imagine the clusterfuck of Centeroo at 3 a.m., but with a highway running through the middle of it and concrete everywhere instead of grass and mud. So I decided to call it a festival. In the morning, I emptied my pockets and it looked like this:
Thanks for everything, Austin.