First stop was Hotel Vegas, where even the unbadged (gasp) could enjoy some live music. Australia's nearly nude The Gooch Palms, Dallas' Sealion and Phoenix's Man Hands got to break our music seal for the festival. While I'd seen Man Hands a few times and knew Jackie Cruz could totally wail in a way that would make Cassandra Wong envious and maybe even a little frightened, I was pleasantly surprised with the caliber of the other acts, as well. I was also pleasantly surprised to notice that the first three bands had women in them—point one, SXSW.
By the time my car mate and I got to Fredericksburg, I was done being in the car. 15 hours of overnight driving—switching off listening to the "Bossypants" audiobook and then Rumours and then this Smash Mouth song she likes to listen to on the road only half-ironically—had taken its toll. Our eyes were red and puffy and we'd each gotten about two or three hours of sleep huddled up on the passenger seat.
Fredericksburg is my new least favorite place in Texas. While I enjoy its German kitsch, that last hour or so of driving on the stop light addled stretch of the 290 went on forever and I discovered all sorts of fun new swear words I didn't know I had in me, reserved especially for the drivers in that town. (Sorry, drivers of Fredericksburg)
So when we pulled up to the place we're staying for the week, shower was first on the agenda, though a nap would've been more wise. Lyfting our way into downtown proper, the streets were swarmed with people, which only got more congested as the trifecta of SXSW Music Day 1, St. Patrick's Day and UT Austin's spring break converged for one drunk, silly mess.
Wandering around, out first instinct led us to food, which meant a housemade duck and fennel sausage on a fresh pretzel bun and maybe a touch of rye and Mikkeller's imperial stout at Easy Tiger. After geekily approaching comedian Nick Thune and telling him he was funnier than Trevor Moore on @midnight the other week, we were ready for the fest.
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