Preparing for our trip to Austin for SXSW, I felt like a kid preparing for my first day of school. Not really knowing what to expect and full of questions. What’s it going to be like? Are people going to like me? Do I have everything I need? Did I pack enough shoes?! Needless to say, I was nervous, but excited and I think we all felt that.
Once we landed and drove away from the airport towards downtown, it was a little bit of a shock that Austin wasn’t at all what I expected. Where we all the cowboys?! Downtown Austin actually reminded each of us a lot of our home in San Francisco. The main differences were the food trucks everywhere and the fact that everyone was more than willing to have a conversation. Meeting so many friendly people quickly eased all my nerves and made my decision of whether or not I liked Texas and easy one; I loved it!
I thought that being a female fronted band an event like this was going to be a bit of a challenge, but it proved to be the opposite. I think we got a little bit more attention for that. This was refreshing considering back home being a female fronted rock band makes it harder for people to pay attention and care. Or, at least, that’s how it feels sometimes. However, we soon found out that the only negative thing about being a “chick” band (sorry Bobby – our drummer) was how the humidity affected our hair! God bless Helene Curtis for inventing hair spray back in the 50’s. (yes, that’s a fact.) My sister, Naomi, and I would’ve been lost without it.
Day time on 6th street during SXSW can be compared to your typical street fair only multiply the head count by about a thousand. Night time transforms 6th street into a madhouse (multiply the head count by a million! Or, at least, that’s how it feels). Crazy outfits. Music EVERYWHERE! People performing on the roofs of their cars. Anything just to get heard. Cd’s, flyers, food containers, etc. cover the streets like a grassy field in spring. It can be overwhelming at times, but that fact that everyone there has traveled for miles solely for the love of music makes the vibe out on the street unlike any I’ve ever experienced before.
When I was a kid first learning how to play guitar, SXSW and Austin, TX seemed like a million miles away. I had heard about it and was in awe of all the bands that were able to make the journey across country or across multiple countries and seas to be a part of it. To actually BE there, experiencing something so beautiful was a dream come true for me. (The SXSW tragedy is exempt from this statement. Our hearts go out to those affected and their families.)
Now that we’re home, I have a whole new list of questions for myself, only this time they’re a little bit different. What has this experience taught me? So much it’s hard to summarize. I think I’m still taking in the lessons. How and what can we improve? I am more aware now of my areas of opportunity as a performer than I ever was. Did I pack too many pairs of shoes? No way! There’s no such thing. Are we going back next year? Hell yes we are! And prepare yourself Texas, because we’re going to come back stronger and rocking harder than ever!