SXSW in Review: The Autumn Defense

I am so full of tacos and Lone Star right now. Let me clarify that that statement is in no way a problem. It’s just that everything I have ingested since I arrived to town has either been wrapped in a tortilla or had a single gold star on the can. Just stating the facts.

In any case, after I spent a solid hour after the Neil Young presentation telling complete strangers how awesome Pono is going to be. Where’s my check, Neil? Truth be told, I would strongly consider knuckle tats that read PONO ARMY if I could hang out with Neil for a day.

It was a solid break, but the music showcases started immediately after, so I headed back to the east side of Austin to grab a beer and catch a breather. Shortly after, I had myself a “Royale with Cheese” from a Pulp Fiction-inspired food truck (menu items also included “The Mia Wallace” and “The Gimp”) before heading to the dreadful 6th Street to post up for The Autumn Defense’s set.

John Stirratt and Pat Sansone from Wilco are a low-key duo, so I wasn’t surprised to see Stirratt in the back alley scribbling a set list unbeknownst to everyone but Chicago rock band fanatics. It is nice to know that musicians here aren’t hassled, but it may be because Stirratt isn’t as recognizable as Jeff Tweedy.

When I arrived at Red 7, I caught the tail-end of My Gold Mask’s set. I provide reluctant testimony, but I can appreciate it when a band can pull that sound off. I could not tell if the next band playing was attempting to mimic Evanescence with an upright bass and acoustic guitar, so I began showing my badge in an authoritative way to allow access to a power strip to charge my devices.

The turnover on this stage was quick, but The Autumn Defense played to a slightly less packed house. At some point, the door guys told everyone the place was sold out (I don’t know what that means at SXSW, though), which prompted a small exodus of hipsters from the patio area.

The Autumn Defense’s sound is even more agreeable than Wilco. Call me old and lame, but I like that stuff. There’s a lot of ’60s-style pop in there, so I wasn’t surprised to notice that many of the people that stuck around for the set had graying hair.

After a quick stop at the old Emo’s to meet my friend that flew in from Amsterdam, we proceeded to Hotel Vegas. After midnight, that place can only be described as “crunk.” The guy that runs Schoolkids Records in Chapel Hill (R.I.P. Athens Schoolkids) was around and had complimentary things to say about our town. I met some very cool folks from Nashville with strong Athens ties before going into the bar’s upstairs apartment to catch a few drinks. After my power-ups, I got weird on the dance floor for a minute while listening to DJ Slinky drive the crowd wild.