SXSW Wrap-up

In the better-late-than-never department: hey, I went to South By Southwest [a month ago]! I play drums with Bonzie, an indie-rock/folk(?) project led by singer-songwriter Nina Ferraro. I had fun. 

Bonzie played a total of 5 shows throughout the week, and each of them couldn't have been more different. There was the ready-to-party, bursting-at-the-seams crowd at the official City of Chicago showcase (the audience's size and energy level might have had something to do with Chance the Rapper headlining…), the way-too-fashionable (but gift-bearing!) Nylon Magazine party, a polite, seated crowd in a reverberant room at the Hilton, and a couple of bars, on crazy 6th Street and out in the suburbs, respectively.

Bonzie was received well at every show we played, and even got some pretty high-profile press; one of the polite, seated audience members at that Hilton show happened to be Jon Pareles of the New York Times, who wrote a very favorable review on the NYT blog. Not gonna lie, seeing a picture of me on the New York Times website was a pretty rad feeling. The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot also had some kind words to say.

Of course, everyone's SXSW experience was affected by the tragic accident that killed 4 festival-goers and injured many more. It really made me angry to wake up to that news on Thursday morning -- to take something so full of joy and life, a music festival, and tarnish it with an act of destructive recklessness. I'm praying for the victims who are continuing to recover, and for people who might potentially be at risk for becoming drunk drivers, that they would wake up to their actions and learn to act responsibly.

Despite the tragedy, the festival hummed right along with very few cancellations or changes. I tried to muster the energy to see bands whenever my presence wasn't required somewhere, and I ended up seeing plenty of good music. On Thursday 3/13, my one whole day off, I counted up 17 bands that I saw. Among my highlights were Ava Luna (who were the favorites going in to the week), Lucius, Damon Albarn, Youth Code, Lunice, Wye Oak and Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. 

Along with the music, I was glad to take advantage of some sun and warm weather, especially on my quick trip to Barton Springs Pool. Unfortunately, I can't say I had any good BBQ while there :(

In other Bonzie news, we're playing a one-off show in NYC on May 9th at Joe's Pub. We've done a few video sessions this year, and I've been pleased to see how they turned out. Here are a couple of vids filmed by My Old Kentucky Blog in Indianapolis:

And here's an interview/performance we did for Consequence of Sound: