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Well, here we go.

The (ostensibly) 19-hour drive from Minnesota to Austin somehow lasted nearly twice that and the 13 riders on the tour bus belonging to Minneapolis-based blues-rockers 4onthefloor made the perfect capacity to ensure that nobody could stretch out just right, sleep much, or even breathe properly.


Luckily, we are a tenacious bunch, so, just after midnight, we rumbled into Awesome, Texas - under-slept, poorly-fed, and over-boozed, just like thousands of others who will be arriving over the course of the week from around the world to get lost in the fray of live music, food carts, and complimentary suds.

Navigating the city-wide festival without a badge, which goes for up to $1395 (chyeah!), can feel like storming Normandy with a peashooter, but the truth is, there are tons of options for all of us non-prepared freeloaders who have only the vaguest idea of where (or if) to sleep all week.

So, instead of losing your shit about homeless people being used as wireless hotspots while you stick your USB into a stranger’s sleeve, go get loaded gratis and then meet me at Nasty’s (606 Maiden Lane on the University of Texas campus) at 9 p.m. for a set from San Diego brother bands Cuckoo Chaos and Jamuel Saxon and then at Stack Burger (208 West 4th Street, downtown) for A Scribe Amidst the Lions at midnight.

In the meantime, I’ll be sipping Shiner Bock at Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe) until around 6 p.m. today checking out a free showcase featuring, among others, The Devil Whale, Rogue Valley, my vagabond buddy Luke Redfield, Michael Garfield, Me & My Arrow, The Loom, and Gabriel Douglas of 4onthefloor.


Luke Redfield and better-half Katie Daisy at a stop in Oklahoma City.

First things first: Free beer and craft beer bars.

Free food.

Free shows (including Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, members of Old Crow Medicine Show, Explosions in the Sky, and Spoon. Yes, really.)

Free parties. More parties. Yeah, parties! Huh? Parties! And more parties.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this list I compiled of San Diego bands at SXSW.

You’ll also want to get privy to the Brainfeeder artist line up (some free, some badge/wristband-only) and Warp Records showcase (open to public with RSVP).

Check in tomorrow for videos, anecdotes, and some more San Diego shout outs.

I'm going to get wildly drunk now and figure out how to get into the Braid reunion show on Saturday.

If you have any falsified credentials to spare, I'll be here.

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Ian Pike March 13, 2012 @ 12:03 p.m.

Have a good time for everyone back home, Deal.


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