We awoke early on Sunday 6th March and all made our way groggily to Heathrow airport to catch a flight to NYC. Needless to say there was much excitement in the air and the flights went on too long. We headed to the house in Brooklyn that we were renting, taking in the sights of NY en route. The band shared one room for five days – very cosy. Whilst in NY we played three great shows: at Cake Shop, Mercury Lounge and Pianos. This was a perfect way to prepare for SXSW. Time off was spent hanging around in Williamsburg and marvelling at the cost of guitars – cheap by British standards. We had some press appointments, which proved entertaining. We much enjoyed an interview for Virgin Mobile Radio – thank you to the presenters for dealing with some slightly jet lagged Birds! We flew from JFK to Dallas the Sunday before SXSW where we hired a confederate red 4x4 (this was the only option!) and headed to Austin Texas. The first couple of days before the music started were spent scoping the Festival & enjoying the tail end of the Film segment of SXSW. We spent time promoting our shows and accosting anyone who let us with flyers. On the Wednesday when the music started we were up bright and early and headed for the Austin Convention Centre to pick up our wrist bands, and then we were off into the Festival. For those who haven’t been I would liken SXSW to a chaotic street party that was somehow under control with a lot of heat and the majority of the participants looking splendid – and coming from all over the Globe. A large amount of the Festival is situated on 6th Street which is the main street through Austin – although some of the best venues are dotted around the Downtown Austin area. We couldn’t have survived without our guide book!
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Our first show was at Chupacabra which was a great success. We played to a full room at 10.30 pm which became the beginning to a fantastic evening. The audience, predominantly American, seemed to really dig the Ice Black Birds’ sound. After a hasty pack-down we rushed over to Club Deville to catch the end of White Denim’s set. The new album sounds incredibly promising. After a quick catch up with the band we headed off to see Surfer Blood who were also great but suffered constant power cuts which were very frustrating for both band and audience alike! All in all, a perfect first evening at the Festival. The next day was a day off – although it was filled with various press and photo shoot appointments which meant that we missed The Strokes…… The evening was spent, unsuccessfully, trying to get into the venue where Cold War Kids were playing. Instead, taking advantage of the freebies in the Artist’s Lounge, we had a good evening. Friday was an early start as we had a show at Fados at 1 pm. We had never played in such hot weather – a new experience. Whilst waiting to play I heard some amazing music coming from next door. I wandered over and was instantly mesmerised by the band which I discovered at the final song was Maps and Atlases. What virtuosos! Most of the evening was spent at the ‘British Embassy’ meeting Huw Stephens, watching Little Comets and Bombay Bicycle Club. A fun evening all round.
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Also saw a great band that night called Givers from Lafayette. I think y’all will be hearing more of them in future. Most of Saturday was spent getting nervous about our official showcase, setting up gear and spreading the word. We played at 12.30 am and had a fantastic show. A great way to end our first experience of SXSW. The rest of the evening was spent at the Virgin Mobile house party taking advantage of free drinks! Sunday was a day of packing with the afternoon spent joyfully in the company of James Petralli of White Denim discussing both our forthcoming albums. What a charming man. We were very honoured to be part of such a prestigious festival – if you are interested in new music from around the world you could not really do much better than SXSW. We’ll be going back…
You can visit the band by heading to www.myspace.com/iceblackbirdsuk