Super Secret SXSW Tips

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photos + story / Tiffany Diane Tso

This is the first year of my mostly adult life that I am not going to South by Southwest, and I’m not sad about it. I’m definitely not happy about it either. I am sure by this time next week I will be knee-deep in FOMO, sadly scrolling through my Instagram feed of pictures of cute bands, huge margaritas and breakfast tacos, and the Daniel Johnston frog graffiti. I thought, however, that I could at least try to impart a little bit of my SXSW wisdom onto those traveling to my favorite capitol for my favorite music festival. And I don’t mean to say that I am going to tell you to pack a band tee and cut off shorts, or go to Rachael Ray’s party for free food. Instead, I thought that using past SXSW experience I could help you find the great bands, laid-back shows and actually fun parties this year.

TIP 1: Trailer Space and other record store shows

One of my most incredible SXSW experiences happened at Trailer Space Records, a punky east side record store. I wanted to see Hunx & His Punx and ended up being able to catch an awesome line up of punk, glammy, garage-y bands: Shannon and the Clams, King Tuff, et al. It was crowded, sweaty and beer-soaked. It was the exact kind of show I wanted to attend during SXSW and never could find amongst all the _____ Forts, Houses, and Fests. Record store shows tend to be more intimate year round, which absolutely applies to SXSW. Yes, sometimes that means being crammed in a literal fire violation, or not getting in. Once you’re in, it is usually worth it.

This year, Trailer Space is hosting the Burger City 5th annual SXSW kick off party with bands Gap Dream, Habibi, Boytoy and more. Free, all ages, 11 am – midnight. RSVP here.
Check and see if your favorite band is playing at a record store this year:
Trailer Space Records SXSW shows

Waterloo Records SXSW shows
End of an Ear SXSW shows

TIP 2: Stay Outside

I am sure plenty are still lamenting the loss of the east side Cheer Up Charlie’s. Especially as SX rolls around again. A great outdoor show always goes well with some Tecate and limes or a slice of pizza. 2012, I caught Tashaki Miyaki and Dirty Beaches, two of my favorites,  at a Solid Gold / Death & Taxes showcase out back at Cheer Up. These non-Fader Fort outdoor lineups are always a nice way to chill and waste away your day. Especially, if this is the best weather you’re going to be afforded for a while. Luckily, we still have Hotel Vegas/Volstead, Spider House, etc.

Hotel Vegas/Volstead shows
Spider House shows
Lustre Pearl shows

TIP 3: Peelander-Z

I actually saw Peelander-Z for the first time at End of an Ear for an in-store show. It was probably the most insane show to have in such a small space with plenty of breakable and precious merchandise. Ever since, I jump at an opportunity to go to one of their shows, always knowing it is going to get crazy, and I’m probably going to have the most fun. They are always playing shows in Austin and can always be found at SXSW.
Tuesday Mar 11
@ Valhalla @ midnight
Music badges only
Wednesday Mar 12
@ Hole in the Wall @noon
Ranch by Chicken Ranch
Thursday Mar 13
@ Fader Fort @ 10am
A Rock Show for Kids
Enter to win or Buy Tickets
Friday Mar 14
@ Grackle @6:25pm
Peelander Fest
All ages, FREE
Sunday Mar 16
@ Kenny Dorham’s Backyard @noon
Mad Tiger Festival (unofficial)
That being said, despite my envy, I hope you have a lot of fun this week at SXSW, friends. Go forth and be drunk, dance like a crazy person, eat too many breakfast tacos every morning, and say hello to all of my favorite bartenders.

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