Austin, Texas, during SXSW has plenty of options for entertainment during the afternoon/early evening, but as the week wore on more and more people turned out to the FADER/Levi's lounge. Perhaps it was the stellar daily line-up of bands, the free booze, the cool peeps, or the TV/movie stars to ogle, but whatever it was, people couldn't say enough nice things. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the lounge hosted some of the best acts in town in an extremely intimate and casual setting. It was the place to be.
Johnny Knoxville and his folk song-singing cousin, Roger Allen Wade, were all the rage on Thursday. As you can imagine, whenever Knoxville stopped by (which was often over the course of the week), all the ladies in the place kept one on him and one eye on the show at all times. The rest of the day Thursday was filled with performances from buzz bands like Midnight Movies (whom Nic Harcourt has been championing as of late), STARS (w/ members of Broken Social Scene), and The Go.
Friday afternoon played host to a pair of young artists, the first of which was Willy Mason, a 19-year-old singer/songwriter with the voice of a 65-year old country/folk singer. Willy is the first signing to Connor Oberst's new label, and although he got his fake ID taken away the night before, he still seemed to be in good spirits for our party. However, Willy was a bit thrown off by not being the youngest one to play, as is the norm for him.
Sixteen-year-old rock vixens The Like were also on the bill and their mellow-alt rock got more than a few hearts pumping. Still in high school, the trio of youngsters is currently unsigned, so I'd suggest looking them up ASAP.
The Washdown put on one of the most high-energy sets of the week, completely tearing the shit out of their instruments, the stage, the fans - just about anything you can imagine. As I walked through the crowd of dancing crazies, I overheard a great deal of them saying "Who are these guys? They're awesome!" I, of course, stopped to fill them in.
Headautomatica, The Decemberists, Secret Machines and Brian Jonestown Massacre rounded out Friday night with inspired performances, all of which turned out a huge crowd and a great deal of buzz around town.
The highlight of Saturday, for just about everyone it seems, was The Soprano's Drea De Matteo and the one and only David Cross. They spent the day hanging at the lounge, meeting people, and providing one and all with at least 10 minutes worth of conversation. Performances from Trans AM and The Unicorns kicked the afternoon off right. The Unicorns were forced to cancel their gig the night before, so their set at the FADER/Levi's lounge was their only show in Austin. The HUGE line outside the door at 3pm was the result.
Waylon Jennings' son Shooter Jennings and his recently-formed band later blew up the stage. They are totally unsigned, but there is no way that will be the case for long. With the amount of industry peeps there and his inspired performance, I'd expect Shooter's cell phone will be blowing up like crazy this week. Jesse Malin stopped by to play as well, as did Snow Patrol (who played a much-talked-about-performance the night before at Stubb's), Moving Units and the Icarus Line, rounding out one of the best four days of music, drinks, and fun one could imagine. I can't wait for next year!