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Rick@SXSW: June Divided, DRGN King, Bleeding Rainbow and The Cold Fronts Explain SXSW.

March 18, 2013

JuneDividedSXSWWhat is SXSW?

One way to find out the true nature of this “showcase” is to ask the Philadelphia acts that traveled by van the 1663 miles (give or take) from Philly to Austin. Our Rick Kauffman went to Texas and spoke to the members of The Cold Fronts, Bleeding Rainbow, DRGN King and June Divided,who all gave their insights on the beast.

BTW: everyone agreed that finding a place to park their van was the worst part of the entire trip.

June Divided (above)

Melissa Menago, singer/guitarist: It’s a clusterfuck.

Lenny Sasso, bass guitar: Sometimes a lot of these festivals will have bands on standby in case someone has to drop off, and that’s kind of the situation we’re in tonight. It’s one of the (bars) off sixth street, with all the open windows and stuff. We’ll have played 4 shows, 5 with this last one. We know a band that’s doing ten and they actually had more, but they had to drop some.

Keith Gill, drums: I like the idea of having the opportunity to meet up with friends from other bands that you’ve met from past years. You meet them, and there from a different state, you don’t get to see them for a whole year until South-By again.

Chris Kissel, guitar: This is going to sound negetive, but it’s not meant to sound that way, but I like off-days, because we spent all day yesterday walking around, seeing bands, and that’s kind of what this whole festival is all about.

Melissa: Sometimes it’s awesome when you have the right set, and everybody is there to hear music, sometimes it’s just a drinking fest and everyone is drunk, but sometimes kids actually stop and flip out. Our show at Burnside on Wednesday was just crazy, it was probably one of my favorite shows we’ve ever done as a band at SXSW, or probably ever. It was so cool, we were smooshed into this tiny-ass little corner, there’s a bar you can get up on, and there’s open windows and kids are just pushing to the windows, and this crazy homeless guy was dancing. Sometimes these sets just go wild.

ColdFrontsCraigAlexSXSWCold Fronts (above)

ColdFrontsKyleSXSWKyle Morgan, bassist: It’s weird for me. It’s unique because I’m not necessarily in Cold Fronts, I’m just along for the ride. On the way here, I played some solo shows, I played in a grocery store where they brew their own beer. But here, it’s overwhelming in a way. It’s a lot of networking, a lot of positives. I’ve enjoyed myself, but it’s not my thing. I feel like it’s more networking than music.

Craig Almquist, guitarist/singer: Ah, the shitshow that is South By Southwest. This year is the longest tour I’ve been on, more than 3 and a half weeks. This is the furthest west we’ve come — just the tip, we haven’t gone all the way. We booked some high-caliber shows and had enough money to do it — we won an Internet contest. I don’t consider this a festival. It’s more of a meet-up for friends and bands. We get drunk for 5 days and with about three hours of sleep a day, and it’s all about hitting the tour stride. At some point when you get zero rest everyone starts to become really funny. The best shows are always when you’ve checked out of reality. The best part of South-By would be the music, girls, weather, free food, perks and hanging out with East Coast peeps.

Alex Smith, drums: We played in Champagne, Illinois, got up at 7 a.m., played a show in Chicago, and then drove 14 hours straight to New Orleans. On those kind of trips we turn up the Pharrell and the Kanye, because when you have a destination like New Orleans, that makes the drive worth it, it’s my favorite place. The tour has been more fun than others, I don’t remember going to bed most nights, but everyone’s relaxed and we have more space. South-By? Yeah, it’s really fun, corporate, snobby, hipster bullshit, but you get free food, corporate hooks you up and you get to see friends.


Dominic Angelella, singer/guitarist: We toured down here and have been playing as a three-piece because out synth and guitar player, Keith, is Norwegian Arms. But, we’ve gotten really tight as a three-piece and have tried different setups. South By Southwest has been just one big show for us, but it’s been cool. The shows have been relatively small but always worth it. Six people who just came to see us, came to our show exclusively. Playing here is like a rite of passage as a musician. DIIV went on this rant on Tumblr, but everyone knows what South By Southwest is. I saw my favorite Philly bands, I saw some of my favorite national acts, my bassist smoked weed with Flying Lotus. I’ve been here two different years, but this is the first time for DRGN KING. It’s exciting. It’s a validation. I’m not expecting to catch a big break. There are 3000 bands here, I’m not delusional. But it’s what I want to do. I have lofty ambitions but I don’t expect anything.

BleedingRainbowSXSW02Bleeding Rainbow

Rob Garcia, guitarist: We’ve been here for 3 days and then we’re going to book it back to Philly. I’m exhausted. We had nine shows this week. Nine is our max. Last year I lost my voice. Sarah coughed up blood. You can’t overdo it. But, our playing time is the only time we live for; usually we’re just zonked out until it’s on. SXSW is just a juggernaut in the music industry. You have to come here if you want to make a name for yourself.

BleedingRainbowSXSW03Al Creedon, guitarist: We just hopped in our station wagon drove straight down here. After he first show, all that lack of sleep started to catch up with us. We just laid down, no one talked. Four shows in one day is a record for us. We did some photo thing with Doc Martins and they gave us each two pairs of shoes and clothes. The corporations take advantage of you, so why not take advantage of them?

Sarah Everton, singer/bassist: The best part of South By Southwest? Definitely the weather, followed by the food, and the shows have been good. … This year has been way better than any other year — we’ve play South By Southwest four times. We’ve done it as a two-piece, a three-piece, with Greg drumming and now Dominique. I felt fucked up after nine shows, I just kind of spaced out. But, Entertainment Weekly took photos of us and put them online — pretty weird, but cool. People want to say “it’s all corporate,” like, of course. It’s cool, as long as you’re not delusional.

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