Keeping It (Real) Local: A Guide to SXSW 2016

Despite the ever looming cloud of basic-bro culture and the evil Doritos mass-media corporatizaton strangling out the last death-rattle of all which was once pure and true in the world, SXSW remains greater than every Coachella, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and Bonnaroo ever put together combined. Each year I watch someone’s younger sister and their tag along carbon-copy battery-eating robot clones unload their bags in my living room with a notebook well scripted with an airtight itinerary of bands they need to see, cross-referencing via text with some other car full of douche bags about their flawless time-table only to go home talking about how “epic” the week was for them all over social media, even though I personally heard nothing but bitching and disappointment every night when they stumbled in. Look, I love nothing more than to see over-privileged trust fund babies pretending to like good music feeling bitter and confused at how all of the hype personally chalked up to a mediocre experience from actually having to rub shoulders with all of those scuzzed-out post-adolescent drug addicts always handing out flyers in whatever shithole college town they caravaned to Austin from, but since you’ve managed to land on ANON Magazine I’m assuming you’re not a complete lost cause so I’m going to lay out a few guidelines that will actually make this the greatest year of your life. First-timers beware, take heed of what follows or you are going to miss out on the greatest cosmic ride in the universe.

Before I go any further, the most important (I can’t emphasize IMPORTANT enough here) fact to repeatedly remind yourself from the second you arrive is this; SXSW was created BY locals FOR locals. SXSW is not meant to bring in money, it’s not meant to attract hordes of outsiders into our town, it’s not meant to be an entrepreneurial opportunity for anyone. SXSW is how a town full of burnouts trick their favorite bands in the world to drive into the middle of nowhere to hangout with them for a week. So before you ruin everyone who puts on this damn thing’s good time, be respectful, this isn’t some beach created by destroying the indigenous people of a third world country, this is a city which looks nearly identical on an average Tuesday (minus all of the bullshit flower headbands and non-existent parking), it has been this way since before you hit puberty and will continue on long after you trade in your Chuck Taylors for a desk job, so remember what Skynard said, “a southern man don’t need you around anyhow.” RESPECT THE LOCALS, RESPECT THE LOCALS, RESPECT THE LOCALS, we did not invite you, we do not want you here, just give us your money and keep your head down.




Jay Armstrong: From what I hear food trucks are becoming much less of an anomaly elsewhere in the country but if you’re from Idaho or something don’t take it as a joke when you ask the door guy about where to find the best food and they mention a pop-up trailer run by coke-heads in unwashed clothing. When in doubt on what to eat, look for a spot with minimal options on their menu and a shitty picnic table nearby and you are going to be content. Walk-up windows are to be embraced, not to be avoided. The best tacos in town are at Tyson’s (4905 Airport Blvd), Counter Culture (2337 E. Cesar Chavez) has the best nachos (and they are vegan), Gourdough’s donuts are beyond being worth the wait (I recommend the one on South 1st), and Home Slice (1415 S. Congress) is probably the most legitimate spot to grab pizza around. The food is as legitimate in this town as the music, don’t be another shitty person blocking the intersection at 6th and I-35 trying to get Wendy’s.




Trish Connelly: Food trucks this time of year are your best bet; anything from Detroit-style pizza at Via 313 (1111 E 6th St), East Side Kings serving Asian-fusion treats (I would recommend the east side location at Liberty Bar), Koriente (621 E 7th St) located right in the heart of downtown Austin whose bubble tea and vegan options are to die for (not to mention everyone working there is considered rad folk in my book), or Thunderbird Cafe (2200 Manor Rd) and Quacks (411 E 43rd St) on the outskirts of downtown if you need a little break and pick-me-up coffee and snacks from the chaos.






J.A.: ————I should point out before going into this that six of the eight bands we said would Restore Your Faith in Humanity in 2016 are playing multiple sets at SXSW this year, find out for yourself whether we know what we are talking about or not —————–
DO NOT GO TO A SHOW FOR A SINGLE BAND, find a lineup of five or six bands you dig and that’s what your plan should be. The lines are garbage everywhere, you’ll end up losing half a day trying to go from one spot to another, it’s not worth the energy when a little bit of research could have been your saving grace. Showlist Austin keeps a list of every free show in town, use that smart phone of yours for something other than Tinder and mediocre Facebook offerings for once. Have a backup plan for your backup plan.
The number one bummer that happens for people is going to check out some band who put out an incredible album who show up to play spot on with the record and still manage to practically put you to sleep (I’m looking at you, Real Estate). That approach is fine if you are a Pearl Jam fan I suppose but in Texas it’s about the experience, these are the bands who will give it to you:


The Bad Lovers – This is the best under the radar band in the world, Austin locals who never play a flat show or forget to hit on your sister. If you miss these dudes while in town you completely blew it.




Big Tits – You know that scene in Almost Famous where Jason Lee says, “I find that one guy who isn’t getting off and I get him off,” Oakland’s Big Tits’ frontman is the only embodiment I’ve seen nail that kind of charisma day-in and day-out, he seems like a complete asshole and it seems to work in his favor with a mic in hand. Whether there are five people or five thousand, you will get the exact same energy and feel equally involved either way.




Lochness Mobsters – The band all of the other bands can’t shut up about, having zero fucks to give, we like to take it. They write the kind of songs where you are already singing along to the chorus the very first time you hear it.




Banditos – This collective of denim babes will restore your faith in Rock N Roll and that’s not even the genre they play. If you are the type of person who says uneducated childish shit like, “I hate country music”, then I would personally drag you to one of their sets just to prove you wrong. They put on the tightest, most well-rounded set you will see all year: fact.




The Spits – If you’ve heard of them then you already know I should be writing this in all-caps. The Spits put on the kind of show John Dwyer aspires towards; it’s wild, electric, everything that Pitchfork has been missing since day one. An hour before you go on stage, in the midst of a thousand incredible bands, you will tangibly feel the energy building, by the time the first song is over the place will be on fire. They put on the kind of show you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life.




A Giant Dog – Having just signed with Merge Records, it looks like the days of A Giant Dog being Austin’s best kept and overlooked secret are over, see for yourself what all of the hype has been about.




Sheer Mag – The next band to conquer the world is probably going to be Sheer Mag, enjoy them before your kid brother ruins them for everyone else.




KÜKEN – These dudes are finally coming stateside from some country I couldn’t find on a map to save my life. They’ve only put out a 7” and a full length so far and it’s better than great. Ideal noise to get you all close and personal with a room full of unbathed burnouts, let’s show them what we look like when we’re alive.




The Mystery Lights – Personally this is the only band I HAVE to see this week. I’ve been bitching almost daily for far too long about missing them last year, I’m not making the same mistake twice.




Loteria – Loteria are the embodiment of the entire SXSW ethos with their Doug Sahm meets Natural Child strut. They are as humble as they are substantial, having watched them develop over the last two years from sounding like your buddies’ band to the band your buddies’ bands are attempting to sound like, it feels great to know just how many believers they are going to make this week.



T.C.: With such a plethora of bands coming into town, our vast and impressive local scene gets caught on the wayward. I agree with Jay in that it’s best to make your way to a venue with at least several bands you want to see throughout the day, trekking to a single venue for a single band whose set time may or may not be as they say could lead to eventual disappointments. With that in mind, here are a few shows happening next week with some of my favorite local talent playing – no wristbands or fancy badges needed!


The Austin Town Hall and Side One Track One Showdown – both Austin Town Hall and Side One Track One are located in Austin and are here to bring you the best that the music world has to offer. The duo are teaming up for a show at Hotel Vegas and The Volstead on Sunday starting at 3PM – catch over two dozen bands spread out over two stages all day long.



Big Bill – “I Wanna Do Evil”




Priced for Punks Unofficial Showcase – Things kick off at 3PM sharp for this show at LGBTQ friendly bar/venue, Cheer Up Charlies in prime location for SXSW shenanigans. Catch dream-pop bands (both local and non) at this showcase on Monday, March 14th.

Molly Birch – “Only One”


Très Oui – “Fall Back (Demo)”


Boss Tweed Backline Presents Psychedelic Pig Roast – Celebrating their fifth anniversary, east Austin’s the place to be for Boss Tweed Backline’s feast of music, artists, booze and swine. This lineup is not to be missed Wednesday, March 16th from noon to 9PM.



Lord Buffalo – “Your Days Are Numbered”



Black Liquid Drop – “Come Down (Live)”


Super Secret Records & Twistworthy Records Showcase – Focusing on the local punk and underground scene in Austin, DIY labels Super Secret Records and Twistworthy Records have a solid lineup coming up mid-week at Beerland on Red River St, not to mention a couple super-secret, super-special guests throughout the showcase.



Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes – “Rob #1”


Bum Out


Fuzzland & Burger Records Hangover Fest IV – Hosting a bill of over thirty bands, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea getting out of town the Sunday post-SXSW to take part in the festivities happening at Paper Tiger in San Antonio. This one breaks the Free-rule, but for a lineup of such caliber we think it’s totally worth it. This one’s all ages and runs all day, be sure to purchase a ticket here before the ultimate hangover party on Sunday, March 20th.



The Rich Hands – “Take Me Away”




Jay Armstrong is one of our regular contributors at ANON Magazine. He writes with an honest and knowledgeable voice and runs Heycoolkid!, a means of changing and highlighting good dudes creating unpretentious incredible art that perpetually go unnoticed.


Trish Connelly is the Austin-based guru who does booking and promoting at Cheer Up Charlies under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and plan a show or event in town. She’s an expert with mixtapes (for all musicians out there you’ll want to send her your stuff!), and making connections with the cool kids. She may have a tad obsession with comics and Corgies, but she keeps it under control. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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