SXSW - Diary + Clips


Colin MacIntyre & Band @SXSW, Austin Texas.

My previous experience of all things Texan had been as a kid watching 'Dallas' and wondering how I could

replace Bobby Ewing after he disappeared in the shower (or did he return?). But more recently I'd heard about the famous South By SouthWest (SXSW) music festival held there, in Austin. I'd never been before, but knew it was the biggest music festival in the world. Unlike most festivals it is an urban event, where every venue, bar, street corner (even a bike shop) is transformed into hosting gigs all day.

My band was me, Sorren MacIean, Ross McFarlane and Fiona Shannon. Nothing could prepare you for arriving here and seeing the masses of people walking the streets, the music coming from literally everywhere, and the US & UK music industry throngs trying to make sense of it all. We played 4 gigs. The first was in the back garden of an Austin resident called Juilianna, who was hosting a party in Austin. 

We played while propped on tree swings and it was filmed by the Dear Scotland website; Ross adapted a pepper mill as a shaker. 

Her house even had art from Mull in it, so we were more than at home. Next day we played a full electric show at The British Music Embassy, basically a club that is taken over by the Brits each year. It was exciting playing to a mixed crowd of folk, some who had heard of my music and knew who we were, and people who just watched as they chowed on the British cholesterol (bacon rolls) on offer in the venue. 

We had a good laugh that night, walking the streets, all of us, including the Codeine Velvet Club (Jon from The Fratellis' new band) then we had a Tex-Mex meal – famous for the beef still having a heartbeat. It was great to have the band there with me and we were walking about like pale Scots within hours. Lots of other Scots were there, and we saw the band from Edinburgh, 'We Were Promised Jet-packs', who were excellent. The rumours that Muse had turned up to play unexpectedly were confirmed, lots of other great bands, and I caught what looked like a young Dolly Parton in a band called Leslie & The Badgers – given the fare on offer I'm surprised they weren't strung up and BBQ-ed.

Our other gigs were at Fados Bar, where our outdoor gig was rained off due to thunder storms (God strummed a few chords overnight), so we adapted to playing indoors – it was mobbed in there and as well as winning new fans we literally flew by the seat of our pants. One guy kept shouting: "Fiona – you rawk!!"

Lastly, we played on the top floor of the Hilton hotel at midnight, a beautiful setting with a seated crowd, overlooking the city lit-up; I looked for Mull in the distance (a few margaritas were had). A friendly guy came up after and said he enjoyed the show – we couldn't believe it when he said he goes to visit Iona each year..and then that he was Stevie Wonder's manager. Ended the night watching Athlete in the next room, last time I'd met them they were on tour with me.

Phew – what an experience. For the flight home I'd saved a gigantic piece of pecan pie that I probably should have checked-in as luggage. As I demolished it I looked down and not a sight of JR Ewing, only the debris of a mad but unforgettable few days. We'll be back. 


US website 'This Is Fake DIY' SXSW interview

Dear Scotland Website: 

Featuring Colin MacIntyre, Unicorn Kid, Frightened Rabbit, Hudson Mohawke and Codeine Velvet Club