Editor's Note: Denver rock band In the Whale is in Austin this week for SXSW. The duo of Nate Valdez (vocals and guitar) and Eric Riley (drums and backing vocals) will be documenting their exploits and observations for Westword Music.
For more shenanigans, follow In the Whale on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. For the most shenanigans, head to the hi-dive on April 3rd, where the band will be celebrating the release of a new album called Full Nelson.
We are one of a dozen or so Colorado Artists who were officially accepted to SXSW 2015. What does that mean? I guess it affords us the opportunity to wait in lengthy lines for shows we’ll never get into, go to a trade show and look at stuff we can’t afford and maybe go to a panel and hear someone tell us we’re all screwed. Pretty dark, right?
After a long drive and very little sleep, day one of SXSW was rolling for us. After paying opening-day-at-Coors-Field prices for parking we were off. Two dudes with aspirations to take over SXSW.
Before we even made it inside the convention center, we were dealt the first bit of bad news. The much hyped free McDonald’s breakfast only consists of bundt cake. Did you know McDonald’s sells bundt cake?! So, not only did they not pay bands to play their show, they didn’t bring Egg McMuffins. The least they could have done was put in a Playplace for us to kill some time.
Budt cake-toting McDonald's employees/volunteers square off with Nate's Twitter feed.
In the Whale
Despite many people claiming SXSW is no longer a showcase for developing artists, thousands of hopeful (naïve?) artists load up their gear and head to Austin each March. We’re one of those bands. If you’ve read this far, you are probably well aware that bands from all over Colorado make the annual pilgrimage to Austin. Some try to “make it” but for the most part, people just come for the free beer. Even on the first day of the festival you couldn’t walk a block without running into someone tied to the Colorado Music Scene.
Unfortunately, for most artists playing early shows on Tuesday, their dreams of wowing capacity crowds were shattered quickly, and they ended up playing for bar staff and the token drunk guy at the end of the bar. As a band that does a fair share of touring, we know all too well what it is like playing for the bartender and the door guy. Tough break, dudes.
The biggest perk of being a part of the festival was our official showcase at Cheer-Up Charlies. We were the loudest band on the schedule and we scared away a bunch of music fans who hoped for something “more chill.” Mission Accomplished.
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SXSW RUMOR: There are free drinks everywhere! False! Aside from a couple drink tickets, we paid for everything. We’re obviously doing it wrong.
Been there, dudes. Been there.
In the Whale