By Troy Vita
If you’ve tried to go to SXSW events without a badge, you know how hard it is to get in. You wait in the general public line while more and more badge-holders walk right in, and you’re worried about whether the venue will fill up, and you finally get to the door only to find out it’s 21+ only and you can’t get in anyways. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Fortunately there’s another option to catch all your favorite showcasing bands: free day parties.
There were many options for your SXSW afternoons this year, including House of Vans at Mohawk, Waterloo Records day parties, South by San Jose, Pitchfork day parties and Urban Outfitters Live. Some acts that played sets at these events were D.R.A.M, Spoon, Cherry Glazerr, Black Lips, The Drums, Beach Slang, Real Estate and others. The best thing about these shows is you don’t need anything to get in; the only true cost is the parking. You have to show up early to get your spot, but there’s a lot of room and most of them don’t give priority to badge-holders.
The highlight of the day shows for me was seeing Spoon on Friday, which happened to be the day their new album Hot Thoughts released. They played several of their new songs in front of a record store that just got copies of the album. It was both the best premiere and best sales strategy I’ve seen. The winner for best overall performance I saw this year was Cherry Glazerr at South by San Jose. Lead singer Clementine Creevy and her current band brought the kind of energy music festivals usually don’t see in the early afternoon and brought down the hotel parking lot they were playing in. Another highlight was the strong message and amazing music queer-punk band PWR BTTM brought to Waterloo Records, South by San Jose and the Pitchfork Day Party. They were everywhere this year and they had a lot to say.
I went to a different day party every day Wednesday through Saturday to try to get a feel for all of them, and although House of Vans had the best parking situation and Mohawk is always fantastic, I loved Waterloo and South by San Jose’s open air set-ups. It made me feel like I was at the earlier sets at ACL before it gets dark and overcrowded.
If you find yourself bored waiting for the evening SXSW showcases in years to come, or you just want an easier SXSW experience, get yourself up, park far, take a bus and make your way to one of the many daytime events.
Featured image by Troy Vita.