Will do my best to recount the experience, but at some point it all becomes a blur.
10am taxi from the home to London Heathrow. Change over in chicago. T'was told I wasn't able to take autoharp,violin,and bag on plane to Austin. At security check the woman behind the desk looks at my passport and tells me that her last name is also Toliver, but with two Ls. The advantage about traveling to Texas for SxSw is that most of the passenger are musicians themselves that are headed to the conference. The guys from YUCK were on board. Didn't put the two together until the flight home. One of the band members has a distinctive look. If I was a booking I would say he has a high fashion build.
10pm arrived in Austin. Taxi to the house I'm staying at. Other bands and what not may chose to stay in hotels, but there is an alternative to the drab of a continental breakfast. You can always find some person that rents out their home for the conference. Luckily, for me the family that rented their space had a baby grand piano.
Rode into town with the guys that were also staying at the house. Went to meet managers at Austin Convention Center to pick up wrist bands and badges. At the convention center I passed the time waiting for the guys by practicing a few songs outside on the the glockenspiel.
Inside, it was like a Family Reunion of musicians. Cats from New York,Chicago,Florida, and London were all there. A joyous time. After we collected our wrist bands the Team walked over to the French Legation Center for the first performance of the conference. I was playing the Bella Union/Your's Truly stage. A Big Thank You to Bella Union as well. Walking to the gig I began to familiarize myself with the streets. Two years ago I had been at SXSW with Miles(Benjamin Anthony Robinson) playing in his band along with Will (Cameron "GlowHearts"). Half way to the French Legation Center it dawned on me that I had played this venue before alongside Miles. Immediately I was more excited about the gig more than I had ever been. The venue was covered with grass to lounge on with a few tress scattered about for shade. The stage itself was under a huge white tent. After the performance did an interview with the local music blog. A few local music goers had heard about the gig thanks to http://yourstru.ly/
After that was all said and done, made a dash over to The Red Eyed Fly for a showcase on the Transgressive stage. When I arrived the sun was still lighting the skys and the southern heat had made its presence known. Entered through the back of the bar "artist entrance". Because none of the other acts gear had showed up yet I hung around while the camera crew set up. The Transgressive showcase was also covered and posted on SXSW's Official YOUTUBE page. All in all Liam Finn and I got some internet face time.
Claudeen arrives. We have time to catch up while I take her things out of the taxi. She darts insides and get's changed and we ride into town for my gig at 1pm. The venue was a little bit off the beaten path so I didn't think many people would show. All in all there seemed to be a good turn out. During the set a few guys were talking so I had to come up with a way to stay focused inside the song while getting my point across. Managed to change a few of the words so that my disapproval came through. The crowd got it and as a result Claudeen walked over to the talking table and smiled graciously while telling them they were SO LOUD!
1pm gig at Dogfish head. BLUR.
Yep Roc Music Group didn't happen. I do know that on eith Thursday night or on Friday night Claudeen,Janis, and I went to the TVOTR gig at Stubbs and rocked out backstage with Zoe Kravtiz. LOL. Fun times in America. That was night of the super moon. The night concluded with everyone going to the barrito truck after the show.
Got to go to the VEVO Party that Kanye West was playing. Showed up early to the VIP entrance unsure as to how we were going to get in. Claudeen took charge of the situation and we used the "I'm in the Band" card. We walked around to the load in entrance and to our surprise Kyp was standing in line. Once the rest of the guys from the band showed up we got our wrist bands. Backstage ( In the VIP LOL) there were free drinks. Claudeen and I were dancing to the music and all of a sudden Diddy walks up with his entourage of girls (Casey and friends). He hung around for a bit listening to the music. We Had to stand on chairs and couches to see the show. At first glance Claudeen thought Akon was standing next to us, but it wasn't him. Glad I went cause we all managed to get our dance on.
Mos Def performed along with John Legend, and some other young rappers hit the stage. Oh yeah, Jay-Z made a guest appearance. After the show Claudeen and I made it to the green room were Kanye and Mos, but didn't get a chance to play in front of the guys cause security wasn't feeling it.
On the last day of SXSW Claudeen and I left the place we were staying at and crashed at this place.
I got in touch with some NEw York buddies I use to play in a band with. Thankfully the house they were stay ing at had more than enough room for Claudeen and I to rest our heads. Had some time to catch up with Johnny and Sean. The whole entire trip was filled with music.