SXSW Day 2: Kanye, Jay-Z, Blondie and the Arkells

Another packed day at SXSW.  We headed over to the Convention Center to pick up our Kanye/Jay-Z passes and then got in line really early to make sure we got in to the Blondie interview.  Wow, it was so incredible to see my childhood idols within 10 feet of me.

We chilled at the Canadian Blast BBQ, listening to the Tribe Called Red set.  What a unique sound they have, looping in tribal chanting with house. Really inspiring.

After having some amazing BBQ, we got in line for the Jay-Z/Kanye West show, which ran two hours late.  So we were standing in line, in the cold Austin evening, for almost three hours.  But wow, it was so worth it.  When they announced the double bill, we assumed that one would go on first and then the other would do a set after.  But the show was totally integrated, with each artist doing a few songs, joining each other on stage and the switching out.  Really well-rehearsed and seamless.

Some parts of the stage were only accessible from an outside door, meaning the venue had to block out the crowd with barriers to let the artists come through the throngs of people.  Although it was a bit disruptive to those trying to get around, it meant I was within a foot of both Kanye and Jay-Z multiple times during the show.  That was an experience in itself.

Because it ran so late, we took a pedicab across town to Rainey Street, to the lovely Lucille’s bar, to catch the Arkells.  I couldn’t believe how small the crowd was, and it was such a treat to be able to see an amazing Canadian band from just feet away.

I really can’t say enough about the festival so far.  We’ve been learning so much, and have had so many wonderful experiences.  The city really embraces its musicians and make everyone feel so welcome.  No attitudes here.  Just good-ol’ Southern hospitality.

A few photos from Day 1 & 2:

Oh Myyy! It's George Takei!

Oh Myyy! It’s George Takei!

Neil Young talks taking back music sound quality and PonoMusic

Neil Young talks taking back music sound quality and PonoMusic

Debbie Harry talks the Band's formative years in NYC

Debbie Harry talks the Band’s formative years in NYC

Jay-Z lays it down.

Jay-Z lays it down.

Kanye West stuns the crowd with his showmanship.

Kanye West stuns the crowd with his showmanship.

Kanye and Jay-Z put n an integrated, water-tight show..

Kanye and Jay-Z put n an integrated, water-tight show.

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