A Travellerspoint blog

Springsteen, Kaiser Chiefs and Husky

A cracking time was had by all

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After a huuuuge night Wednesday, we slept about 10 hours Thursday morning. Oops. We missed Springsteen's keynote talk and thought we'd missed out on getting to see him, but as our first stop was to check our emails...at 4.40pm...we found we had BOTH won tickets to his show that night, provided we picked them up by 5pm! Amazingly lucky as it was a 3,000 person venue and no doubt at least half the participants at SXSW would have gone in the draw for a ticket. Our plans were immediately chucked out the window in favour of going to what we thought would be a once in a lifetime show (even though neither of us particularly care for Springsteen).

After we picked up the tickets we headed off to the free drink tent for our obligatory Monster and vodka, then next door to the New Zealand party. Free wine! That's always a winner in my book, and it was actually really nice wine. Those Kiwis know how to rock! We hung out there for about an hour then set off to find ACL at Moody Theater for Springers.

Talk about security - anyone would think he was an assassination target the way they carried on with checking bags and wristbands and badges etc. We went and sat up the top and saw the second half of the Alejandro Escovedo show. He was pretty good, not my normal style of music but the show was good. Once he finished we had to wait...and wait...and WAIT for Springers, which was a right pain in the arse. There are tons of artists on all at the same time that we could have been seeing but nooooo obviously Springers thought he was more important than any of those bands. Once he started, the crowd was really going off - I have no idea why, but they all loved it. He had 17 other band members (the E Street Band) playing trumpets, trombones, keyboards and even tambourines. The music was ridiculously loud but it was a good show, just not really my kind of music...

After we left there we went off to Stubb's to see the Kaiser Chiefs, token popular famous band who I'm sure have had a billion other gigs before but I'd never seen them . They were rocking! We could've hung around after them to see Temper Trap but decided to get the bus home - it was already midnight and judging by the horrors of the Night Owl bus the two nights before, we thought we'd leave a bit earlier and save extra party energy for Friday night.

[Friday at SXSWb][/b]
Leaped out of bed refreshed by the extra sleep and headed off to the free party at Buffalo Billiard's by 12.20pm. When we got there we found it was FREE drinks and FREE food until 5pm - wow, what a bargain. All you have to do is tip. We had some food and a bloody mary, then a couple of vodkas each, all for the low low price of about $10. Paddy started asking me about some movie with some guy who always has his shirt off. I had no idea what or who he was talking about then I realised he meant Matthew McConaughey. "He's been standing right there for about an hour," Paddy says. OMG OMG I nearly hyperventilated and died!! I don't even like Matthew McConaughey that much but he was RIGHT THERE in little old Buffalos with his kid and some friends. WOW, famous person.

After we'd had a gutful of that place we went off for the free Monster and vodka again and a place called Bar Louie's for food. Paddy really wanted buffalo wings. To our delight they had boneless ones so I decided I'd try a couple too. Yum! They were delicious! I also had a vegie wrap. This joint was also a bargain - we had a wine each, $4 each, then the wings and wrap and it all came to $22. Of course then you have to tip but even so, the same thing in Australia would've been at least $35 straight up.

My favourite Australian band at the moment is Husky and they were playing at the Sony Club 7 Patio at 8pm. We were right up the front and they were AWESOME - really awesome. I got to talk to Husky and Gideon afterwards and even got a photo (which will forevermore be my profile picture once I can upload it). We started chatting to some Texans afterwards and they recommended we come back for Blitzen Trapper, so we said we'd see them again at 1am (!).

We went to see Crystal Fighters, Bleeding Knees Club and one other thing I can't remember before we got back to Sony Club. Got the bus from hell at aout 3.30am...a big night indeed. So many drunk people in the streets and 6th street was a nightmare to walk through - PACKED. There were heaps of people just out for an ordinary Friday night so the crowds were massive.

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 10:45 Archived in USA Tagged people famous music buffalo kaiser austin wings husky sxsw springsteen chiefs Comments (1)

Things we've seen

Food?

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  • chocolate strawberry whoopie pies
  • chicken fried steak
  • fried pies
  • sausage biscuit
  • chicken fried bacon

WTF...

I really want a shirt that says "Fuck y'all...I'm from Texas".

Question of the week - what on earth are hush puppies? I know they're a food product, but what? Top marks to anyone who can tell me the origin of the name hush puppies too. Do you have to be quiet while you eat them? Do they make a 'husshhhhh' noise when you bite them? Do they have a substance that renders your vocal cords useless once you've eaten them??

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 14:03 Archived in USA Tagged food gross Comments (3)

Day 1 & 2 of South by South West in Austin, Texas.

Unlike any festival we've ever attended. No kids, no teens, no fluorescent shirts, no fucking wrist bands to get a drink and it ain't ten+ bucks to get one either.

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OK so I'm writing this after having just visited the New Zealand music feature tent at South by South West. AKA quaffing a few a free glasses of unbelievably good Kiwi Sav Blanc and listening to some established and up and coming acts from NZ. A lack of regular computer access has us updating at random intervals right now. It's day three of SXSW in Austin, Texas, but I'm here to update "y'all" on day's 1 & 2.

Day 1 we caught the bus into Austin from our accommodation, which is a converted garage in south Austin. Our Cuban-American host is very cool and friendly, our room is clean and contains all we need. 30 min ride into the city to register and collect our festival badges from the Austin Convention Centre. The badges grant us entry into all events, promos, gigs, BBQs etc at SXSW for the 7 days of the music component of the festival. We are utterly impressed with this place. Sizeable city, Texas capitol afterall. City centre is buzzing, thousands of people everywhere and the organisation is very professional, the lay out - across Austin's city centre - is really user friendly and easily walkable, which is great when you're consuming lots of free liquor and American food!

First night we orientated as much as possible. It's crazy, literally over 2000 bands/acts here and over 150 pubs/clubs hosting them. Making up your mind were to go and what to see is the hardest part. We went a saw Capital Cities from LA. They were great, real ecclesiastical mix of styles - guitars, percussion, decks, 2 lyricists, and a trumpet. Upbeat stuff, great way to kick off. We then went a saw Future of the Left from Northern Eire in the British Music Embassy. They're heavy. Great crowd in there and plenty of drink.

After this we were shattered, it was nearly midnight and we'd only been in the country 30odd hours. We got the bus back to our pad.

Day 2 of SXSW

Amazing day. We saw about 12 bands across around 8 venues (pubs/bars), had a couple free feeds and lots of free and paid for drinks, and walked about 15km by the end of the whole 15 hour affair. To support our fellow country-men we went to the Sounds Australia feature, where 5 acts played 2 songs each. Chet Faker from Melbourne and the John Steel Singers from Brisbane were the highlights. There's 45 Australian bands/acts here at SXSW 2012, and that's a rather small contingent. This gives you an idea of the size of this event. MASSIVE. We went to the Sounds of Canada event, which promoted Canadian music, food and culture. We had free food and drink there and listened to some coll Canadian sounds. After this we attended the closing event of the Interactive component of SXSW, which sees a whole bunch of developers, tech heads, web designers etc congregate to display and promote their stuff. We got more free stuff, badges, stickers, shirts, promo material etc. Met some cool people. We're both flat out switching a computer on so attending this type of thing was funny, if a little overwhelming.

Back to the music. We went a saw Alabama Shakes from Athens, Georgia. Very popular with the Americans, probably not so much our scene, but great to see. After this we went to a huge "welcome dinner" at the Hilton Hotel ballroom. Ate heaps of food, hung out with people from Colombia, New York and El Salvador among others. Will be meeting up with our Latin American friends later in the festival to see their bands. After dinner we went and saw Willy Mason from Martha's Vineyard, Pets with Pets from Australia (who we thought were shit), Band of Skulls from Southampton UK, some stuff in between and finally Crystal Fighters from UK. I loved them, absolutely ripped it up. We missed out on Miike Snow from Sweden and Kasabian from Leicester, but plan to catch them later in the fest.

Trapsing the streets to the bus stop we saw all sorts of crazy stuff going on at 2am. Tens of thousands of people everywhere, lots of diversity, lots of nutters. We caught a long bus home with a bunch of randoms and went to bed around 4am, after a half bag of chips, a laugh and a look at our photos. See you on Day 3 of SXSW.

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 16:55 Archived in USA Tagged music austin sxsw Comments (0)

The looooong haul

Getting from A to B

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We got from Townsville to Sydney with no trouble at all - a morning ferry at 7.10am, taxi to the airport, then Qantas Club until our flight. Paddy had a brief drama with filling out a tax form before we left but nothing too dramatic.

Once we were in Sydney we got the train to Parramatta - it was about half an hour away, far longer than any other trip we've had in Sydney where we usually stay in the CBD somewhere. Our stop was right next to a giant Westfield and lo and behold, our hotel was right next to it. Woohoo! Score! Mantra Parramatta was pretty ace for our requirements. The only problem was the first night. There was NO SLEEP whatsoever. Of all the plans we had beforehand, not sleeping was NOT factored in. We were both ridiculously tired and had plans for Saturday so didn't expect the nightmare sleep we had. Ie none. Oh well.

Got up the next day and I went to the city to meet my tweet mates, while Paddy embarked on a typical Victory away trip. My day was spent walking around Darling Harbour desperately hoping I'd recognise people when I saw them. I can't say much for Paddy's day except I knew he was being very bad when he texted me saying he was kicked out of the football at 8pm. By this time I was already back in Parramatta tucked away in the room, so I told him to GET OUT IMMEDIATELY. Much to my vexation this was not heeded. Turns out he was in the football for a massive total of 20 minutes, lost his license, and then got the train about 11pm to get back.

Losing one's license two days before an overseas trip is less than desirable, as you can imagine. I was not looking forward to getting a replacement.

Sunday morning we got up and went to Bondi to meet Fisk and Adamsy, plus get in the water for one last time. We went for a walk and ate sushi to counteract the bad food of the night before - Paddy: a kebab AND Hungry Jack's, me: pizza. Bondi is beautiful and was pretty wavy, nothing too extreme but it was freezing like a proper ocean and we thoroughly enjoyed our last Australian beach outing. After the beach we went up to Ravesi's Hotel for a drink with the crew. It was a fabulous day.

Monday morning we got up for a long walk and some gym action before the 15 hour flight. Parra was super busy and it was apparently a public holiday - WTF? Never moving to Sydney. When we got back we jammed our bags back together and went into Westfield to scout for post offices, JPs and passport photos to replace Paddy's license. We managed to do everything except print the pages for signatures, which was amazingly lucky.

We got the train to Sydney airport and immediately decamped to the Qantas Club to eat food and look for a JP to sign Paddy's replacement license form. Both of these tasks accomplished, there was nothing to do except enjoy the free food and wine...it's a tough life, I tell ya.

On the plane we watched three movies each - both of us watched The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, then I watched The Ides of March while Paddy watched a sport movie, Moneyball. Slept after that and the flight went surprisingly quickly considering it was the longest flight in the world that I'm aware of.

We landed in customs expecting a massive 20 questions about what we were doing, where we were going, why were we coming from Australia to America with no jobs etc etc, but there was...nothing...it was great, we got straight through. Not a single question, just a stamp and 'enjoy your stay'. Woohoo!

Got a taxi to our hotel in Dallas. I was marvelling at the ridiculous highway system, HUGE superhighways crossing over each other 20 metres in the air, and a totally unnecessary amount of fast food places along the way. When we got to the hotel we forced ourselves to go out for a walk and some food before retiring for a looooong slumber.

We went to a place called Hoffbrau burgers and ordered brau chips for an entree. Not knowing what they were, I was pleasantly surprised to get a bowl of salty crisps that were hot with a small serve of white sauce on the side. The sauce makes the chips - without the sauce there is NO point to Brau chips. Paddy ate a yucky burger and I ate a yucky chicken burger. Our first disgusting American food!

Dallas is a mish-mash of hideous 80s style buildings and 90s style glass abominations. I can't understand why anyone would want to live there - there's no sort of cafe culture or busy-ness, it was quiet and pretty boring-looking to be honest. Usually when I travel I experience fits of wanting to live wherever I go, but sadly (or fortunately?) not this time. Dallas was not my scene.

Went back to the hotel and saw the first bit of the Republican primaries in Alabama. Santorum was speaking and he was surprisingly well spoken for a backwards scumbag. Paddy saw Newt Gingrich speak and he was also surprisingly well spoken and actually made sense. We went to sleep about 7pm and didn't wake up until 9am...14 hours in bed...glorious! The only problem was the phone rang at 8.30 with a hotel employee asking how our stay was. I didn't know, I was fast asleep, I felt like saying "are you f**king kidding me??" and had no idea whether it was 8.30am or 8.30pm. Thankfully it was pm and I went straight back to sleep. When we woke up we watched some godawful show on CBN with a geriatric right-wing conservative spouting crap after every 'story'. After one about reducing red meat intake to cut cancer rates, his insight was "I like hotdogs". Ok then.

Tuesday morning we got up and picked up the hire car to go to Austin. OH MY GOD THE TERROR. Paddy drove and I tell you, if I was driving, it would've been an utter disaster. I was practically hyperventilating with the stress of being on the wrong side of the road. We passed millions of fast food places and fought the urge for more disgusting burgers. We stopped at a Wendy's and I ate a salad while Paddy ate....a burger. I was already fretting about what foods would be available to me as a newfound vego.

The traffic on the I-35 was all trucks, trucks, trucks. When I say trucks I really mean suburban trucks, huge utes that are totally unneccessary but apparently everyone has one. I was already perfecting my southern drawl and cackling about how funny it sounds.

We arrived at Peppertree Parkway at 5pm, said hello to our Cuban-American host Sevylla, then left the hire car in favour of the bus. The traffic. My god. Who could possibly live with it?! The bus was really really quick and only costs - get this - ONE BUCK per ride, no matter how far or where you go. Enlightenment, that's what it is. Freedom!!

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 16:16 Archived in USA Tagged travel road trip dallas Comments (0)

Last minute preparations can be fun

Our last few hours in Townsville

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It's 7pm Thursday night and we've come to the realisation there are a mere 12 hours until we leave Townsville. Woohoo! The plan is to catch the 7.10am ferry from Nelly Bay to the mainland, get a taxi to the airport, then wait patiently for our 9.20am flight to Sydney. I'm not sure if it will be a patient wait - more like a fidgety, hurry-up-and-start-the-party wait, but we'll do our best to remain calm. Thankfully the cricket final is on to give us something to focus on. We're also acquiring a taste for Mount Gay rum, from Barbados, as 'research'.

Even though tomorrow's not 'the BIG flight', preparations were aimed at the big flight and the litany of domestic flights we'll be taking on our adventures. Both of our bags are laden with goodies to take to Iowa plus enough clothes to last six months and several fashion seasons. Somehow I suspect they won't be necessary and we'll regret taking so many, but we'll see.

Roll on 6.50am so we can get going!

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 00:58 Archived in Australia Tagged australia baggage leaving_home Comments (1)

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