What You Haven’t Read about SXSW

Here’s what you haven’t read about my trip to Austin, TX for SXSW so far…

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending seven days in Austin, Texas. Not only was it great being in Austin, but it was also a pretty popular time to be there. South by Southwest (or SXSW) is the interactive, film, music, and comedy festival that completely takes over the city for almost two full weeks. As part of the completion of my interdisciplinary degree at Columbia College, I was able to attend the festival as part of the AEMMP Digital Distribution & Promotions Practicum course. For my project in class, I was able to incorporate something I was planning on doing down there, anyway. I got to write about all of the bands (good and bad) that I was able to catch, and it was published over on Atwood Magazine. If you’re interested in the music portion of my experience, click on the day-header for those ramblings. This post will serve more in the nitty-gritty of the trip, and what you won’t find on a publication. Thus, “What You Didn’t Read about SXSW Already”

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136,340 Streamed Minutes in 2016: The Breakdown

I broke down the year overall already – now let’s dig into the tunes behind it

According to my Spotify Year in Review, I listened to well over 130,000 minutes of music. That doesn’t include the hours I spent listening to records, or the radio, or podcasts. I take in a lot of media, but I didn’t think it was nearly that much. I figured since I clocked in so many hours of streaming, I should probably put my two cents out there in what the year looked like musically. I shared with Atwood what I thought the album of the year was — but you’ll have to check that out to see what I thought. I’ll link it here when that gets published. Here, though, we’ll break it down by month, and what struck me as big for that period of time.

January

Hamilton — Original Cast Recording
The past few years over the few days it takes to ring in the New Year, I spend the time with one of my closest and oldest drum corps friends, Kayla. The last two years, she’s introduced me to new musicals I end up being obsessed with for the year. Last year, it was In The Heights. This year, it was the musical that’s taken the world by storm, Hamilton. This bad boy has been on repeat periodically throughout the year, but mostly during January. Easily.

Galway Girl — Steve Earle
Since I spent most of the month traveling, and much of that in Ireland, this was a song that we’d listen to as we got ready for the day or a night out and want to channel our inner “Irish bar music.” “Galway Girl” will forever remind me of the craziness that happened over those two weeks abroad this year.

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(Review) Hari Kondabolu @ Columbia College, Chicago IL

I said awhile ago I would make a point to take in more art. I’m pretty sure it’s one of my resolutions I seem to fail on and give excuses for every month, too, but on Thursday night I finally took advantage of one of the events on campus — one I wasn’t planning, for once.

Columbia is pretty neat in the fact that there are so many different student organizations on campus. One of them is the Asian Student Organization, and in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, they’re hosting various events throughout the month of April. One of these events I found early in the month, and couldn’t help but squeal when I did. Hari Kondabolu is an American Stand-up comedian who I first discovered on a few episodes of Wits. I thought he was hilarious on the podcast, even after listening to those episodes multiple times, and leapt at the chance to see him live right on my campus. And best of all — for free.

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(Review) Firekid, Kaleo @ Bottom Lounge, Chicago IL

If it wasn’t for Facebook this time, I might have forgotten a long-booked ticket to Kaleo at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago mid-week on March 2nd. Thankfully, notification flashed at the beginning of the week that there was something fun happening this week — otherwise, I might have found myself breathing deeply in yoga class, instead of trying to catch my breath from jumping around to some crazy awesome music.

After scarfing down dinner after an eCommerce class, I rushed from the Ashland green line stop to the Bottom Lounge. I haven’t had the chance to visit the venue yet, but it’s another one of those venue-in-a-bars that I’ve found is pretty common for Chicago. Lucky for me, the show was 18+.

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(Review) Elliot Moss, Wild Child @ Thalia Hall, Chicago IL

Wild Child has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard them on the KAXE morning show about three years ago. The song was “Crazy Bird,” and almost immediately after I heard that track, I found myself downloading and devouring everything I could that was theirs. I grabbed tickets to the first show I could, which was in Chicago at Lincoln Hall, and continued to love their music more and more. Almost a year later, I found myself in the crowd again at Lincoln Hall, dancing to some of the new tunes they would release later that year (well, this year, Fools is the new album).

Of course, being a fan of their music, I had the utmost faith that they would release another solid record, so I pre-ordered it on vinyl when sales went live. I grabbed a ticket for their show that was coming in October to Chicago again, pleased to see a venue change for them: Thalia Hall.

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Chicago: Jeremy Messersmith (Review)

Although Riot Fest is happening this weekend in the southwest side of Chicago, and Zac Brown Band was playing at Wrigley Field on the north side; the place to be on Friday night was even further north of Wrigley. In a family’s backyard in Rogers Park, Jeremy Messersmith had his “Supper Club Tour” Chicago stop. Messersmith‘s Supper Club Tour is unlike any other tour you may have heard of before, he describes it as eating great food, hanging out with cool people, and hearing him test-drive some new music. Which, in a nutshell, is exactly what happened. The food was great, the people were definitely cool, and the music (which is our focus here), was actually spectacular.

The attention was drawn from the conversation and the food to Messersmith with one sentence: “My name is Jeremy, thanks for bringing me dinner,” he said, before launching into “Dillinger Eyes.” Since the show took place in a backyard with limited space and power, Messersmith played solo accompanied only by his own acoustic guitar. He continued to warm the crowd with the opening track from his latest record Heart Murmurs, “It’s Only Dancing.”

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Rev. Arts HN: Drum Corps Influence

Maybe the band kids were mocked in high school. After all, they’re a bunch of nerds running around the football field, or maybe pounding the pavement on a concrete “field,” squeaking through the clarinets with some drummers diddling just behind the drum major’s tempo. There was probably also some girls trying to throw and catch flags, doing their best to look graceful. Take that concept, age the kids about three years… and put them in the sun for 16 hours a day, every day, for four weeks. Whatever their show was is now close to flawless. The horn line is crisp, loud, and nailing their dynamics. The drummers’ tips and taps are so together they sound like one very loud drummer, or taking the whole section together could make their own band. The color guard is together, turning under their tosses, and the rifles are making one loud smack as each member catches it at the same exact time. This situation goes by two words: drum corps.

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