After being somewhat perturbed at the Hot 8 Brass Band performance the other evening which had been marred by the comedian, I was thrilled at the opportunity to see them again at the SXSW Hackathon Championships, not having to share the stage with anyone else. There was a still a smaller crowd than there should have been for this concert, but at least those that were there began to get a little more lively and involved as the Hot 8 played. After all, it’s impossible to resist the grooves of New Orleans-style brass band music.
I suppose I had vaguely heard of the Magnetic Zeros before, but I certainly had never heard any of their music, and probably wouldn’t have made a point of going to see them if they hadn’t been on the same showcase line-up with the Hot 8 Brass Band. That being said, I was both impressed and amazed with the performance by Magnetic Zeros’ drummer Crash and other members of the band informally playing at the SXSW Hackathon. The songs were melodic and showed the influence of a number of American roots genres of music. Again, I was disappointed at how empty the hall was given how great the music was.
I didn’t quite know what a Hackathon is, but when I saw that the Hot 8 Brass Band was scheduled to perform at the Hackathon at the Austin Convention Center, I walked over there after dinner. Unfortunately, not a lot of people had chosen to come to the concert, despite its being free, and the upstairs ballroom was sparsely filled. Albert Hammond Jr was on stage, and he was not happy at all. “This is why South By Southwest should not be allowed to have a hackathon”, he yelled from the stage shortly after I got there.
The Mooonshine Patio Bar and Grill becomes insanely busy during South By Southwest, and a lot of it is due to its location, literally across Red River Street from the Austin Convention Center. It’s not surprising that wait times can reach an hour or more, but since I had never eaten there in all my years of going to Austin for SXSW, I decided to put my name in and wait for a table. My friend Travis was still at the Complex Magazine showcase a block away, and I was hoping he would join me when he left there, but the wait for a table was about an hour and a half. That being said, I didn’t mind it at all. I could sit outdoors on the porch, the weather was sunny and comfortable, watching the people coming and going down the street was fun, and there turned out to be an electric outlet in the flower bed, so I was able to charge my phone, which I badly needed to do. The wait proved to be shorter than I was told, and I was soon seated at a comfortable table. Moonshine Patio specializes in Southern food, but in an upscale sort of way, and a lot of items on the menu looked good. I ultimately opted for the southern fried chicken and waffles, and was very pleased with my choice. I was also pleased with the service, which could have gotten erratic given the crowd of diners the restaurant was dealing with, but everything was correct and prompt. The bill wasn’t bad either, considering how good the food was. I left happy and satisfied, walking across the street to the Convention Center for the Hackathon Awards concert.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
303 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701
After a fairly late breakfast at Magnolia Cafe, I headed over to the Austin Convention Center to meet my friend Travis McFetridge, who had an afternoon panel. I was torn, because I wanted to see his panel, but I also wanted to attend the Memphis Music panel which Al Kapone was on, so I ended up going to the second one. This panel, held in conjunction with the Martin Shore film Take Me To The River, featured Al Kapone, Boo Mitchell, Cody Dickinson, Booker T. Jones, Frayser Boy, William Bell and Al Bell, and was sponsored by the Memphis Music Foundation. MY homeboy Miscellaneous was not on the panel, but was in the audience. Noted author Robert Gordon was the moderator.
After the Wanton Bishops show was cancelled, I started walking down Brazos Street, heading for Rainey Street where one of my favorite bands, the Autumn Defense was scheduled to be playing, but just outside the Austin Convention Center by the Moonshine Patio, I ran into a rap group from Memphis, the BGI Money Mafia who were in their shrinkwrapped van and stopped to talk with me. It’s funny that I had never run into them in Memphis, but I ran across them at South By Southwest in Austin!
The breakfast tent in Brushy Park Wednesday morning was sponsored by Monster Energy Drinks and featured free Java Monsters and some pick-up breakfast foods. Since I had fairly-early mentoring session at SXSW, I decided to stay close to the Austin Convention Center until after my session was over.
Only a block from the Austin Convention Center, The Coffee Cup is the best place for conference attendees to satisfy their coffee fix. The Coffee Cup is actually an American branch of a Central and South American firm (outside of Austin, the other locations are in Ecuador and Honduras). Central America is known for coffee, and the coffee at The Coffee Cup is really good. Adding to the enjoyment is a soundtrack of Latin American music playing in the background. The Coffee Cup also sells french presses, cold-brewing systems, cups, mugs and pounds of thier excellent whole-bean coffees. There is also a limited food and pastry menu. One word of caution- they close really early, about 5 PM as I recall.
The Austin Convention Center is not merely the scene for the SXSW Trade Show and registration. It is also home to most of the conference’s panels, workshops and speeches, and it also houses some of the films, as well as food and refreshments, the Radio Day and Next stages and a cool pop-up bookstore selling books by panelists and with themes related to the high points of each year’s SXSW.