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SXSW DISPATCH #1

Our Roving Correspondent Gets His Feet Wet and His Nose Bloodied

The Lonely Wild

At the moment, at least, 2015 feels like the year my SXSW luck ran out. In years past, I missed the riot at the Death From Above 1979 show, where a guy punched a police horse, was 10 minutes and a few blocks away from last year’s tragic auto-pedestrian accident, and didn’t get caught up on the conga-line fracas that jailed Ozomatli way back when. So last night’s trip to the hospital for lip stitches after being intensely assaulted by an (apparent) venue goon after approaching the wrong entry may have just been a matter of finally falling prey to the law of averages in a hectic place where violence seems vaguely endemic. [Ed. note: Maybe the dude found out Jeff was from HITS.] In light of the likely legalities to follow, this isn’t the forum for me to say any more about it, but please don’t market #justiceforjeff shirts without at least calling to discuss royalties.

Prior to that wild interruption, however, I managed to pull off a solid portion of the schedule, including stops at a lush and compelling Steve Gunn set—for those who don’t know Steve, he’s essentially quietly our generation’s mix of Richard Thompson and Mark Knopfler in the guise of a sometimes Kurt Vile/War On Drugs fellow traveler. The Lonely Wild played a great set earlier in the day, while Twin Peaks played a tight, fun but very brief set at the radio day stage inside Buffalo Billiards. Sprinkled in, I caught a few moments of Badflower, Hand Job Academy (every bit as camp as you’d expect) and Dreamers, all of whom delivered in their respective ways.

My own weird night aside, things do indeed feel more manageable this year, even as Austin itself seems to build and build and build to host bigger crowds—there are cranes everywhere in downtown and clearly some kind of boom continues to continue.

Presumably my week gets easier from here, so we’ll live to rock another day and keep reporting.

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