South by Southwest Festival has arrived and Austin better prepare itself to get LOUD. Day and night, dozens of awesome metal bands will be destroying some of the city’s finest venues for your own pleasure, and I will be there to bask in the destruction. I sifted through the week’s schedule, and if you’ve got the endurance, this is what you’re in for.
Sunday, March 11
Venue: Dirty Dog Bar
Got down to Austin a little early? Live here? Great, that means you can start the week off right, with badass Texas metal. Carry The Storm, Decimation Theory, and Killing In Apathy are just a few of the host state’s delegates set to welcome you to the Lone Star State.
Monday, March 12 – Sunday, March 18
Hoek’s Metal Fest Presented by Texas Metal Collective(start times vary)
Venue: Hoek’s Death Metal Pizza
If you live in Austin and don’t have a badge or wristband, this might be your go-to spot for the week. Austin’s only metal themed pizza place will be hosting metal bands from Texas and beyond the whole week. Every show is free and open to the public, and oh yeah, there will be pizza. With all the uncertainty surrounding SXSW, it’s good to have a place you know will be purely metal all week.
Tuesday, March 13
Venue: Emo’s East
This will be the first time a lot of people will have set foot in Emo’s East. After closing Emo’s on Red River down at the end of 2011, Emo’s East has become the go-to venue for the best metal coming through Austin. The show is in honor of Lindsey Kuhn making awesome rock art for 20 years. Also, there will be mini ramps and great music. High On Fire and Rwake headline, so it’s bound to be one of the sludgiest nights Austin has seen in a while.
Wednesday, March 14
Venue: ND Studios
It’s surprising that Pitchfork has taken such an interest in metal in recent times (or not, depending on who you ask), but if they’re able to get hipster college kids off The Black Keys and on Black Tusk, then I’m all for it. If you missed Rwake at Emo’s the night before, fear not, they’re playing again! Also on the bill are The Atlas Moth, Black Tusk, KEN Mode, and Pilgrim to name a few. The show is free and open to the public, so whatever excuse you have for not attending is unacceptable.
Tone Deaf Touring SXSW Showcase(7:30 pm)
Venue: Dirty Dog Bar
If you’re looking to see Rwake for a third time, you’re in luck. If not, Corrosion of Conformity, Zoroaster, Black Cobra and Saviours ought to be enough to convince you to make it down to the Dirty Dog Bar for Tone Deaf Touring’s showcase.
Venue: Barbarella Patio
High On Fire is playing again, and are joined by Nachtmystium, Darkest Hour, Intronaut, Black Tusk, and a handful of other bands that completely suck. This pretty much covers the entire metal spectrum, and is a dream lineup just about anywhere else. During SXSW, it’s par for the course.
Decision time! Do you go to the Dirty Dog Bar to check out what’s going on there, or to Barbarella for MetalSucks’ South By South Death? The answer to that question is both! The venues are close enough that you can bounce between venues (depending on the crowds of course).
Thursday, March 15
Venue: Red 7
Last year, the line to get into the Artery Foundation’s SXSW showcase went for blocks, with some people waiting over 24 hours to see some of their favorite metal bands. Maybe we’ll see a repeat for Artery Foundation’s day party at Red 7. With notable names such as Asking Alexandria, Vanna, The Crimson Armada, and Chelsea Grin, it’s going to be a packed house for sure.
Venue: Scoot Inn
One of my favorite Austin venues is hosting one of the heaviest nights of music to happen next week. DevilDriver, Dying Fetus and Job For A Cowboy are a few of the bands that will be tearing it up Thursday night. Something tells me you’re going to want to get there early.
If you’re not looking to make the grueling half mile trek from downtown to the Scoot Inn, and you’re looking to do some bar hopping, this is my recommendation for how to spend your evening.
8 pm: Primitive Weapons @ Barbarella Patio
9:15 pm: Trivium @ The Jr.
10 pm: Shining @ Dirty Dog Bar
11 pm: Hull @ Red 7 Patio
1 am: Valient Thorr @ tenOak
Friday, March 16
Venue: Scoot Inn
Your best bet is just sleep off the Metal Alliance show at the Scoot Inn right outside the venue, wake up, and get ready to do it all over again (although I would never actually recommend that out of respect for the Scoot Inn’s staff). Brooklyn Vegan, Southern Lord Records and Power Of The Riff are going at it all day and night for your headbanging pleasure. Aside from some of the great bands who you’ve no doubt seen earlier in the week, Ceremony, Balaclavas, Off!, Black Breath, Ringworm, and All Pigs Must Die will be playing the 14 hour marathon.
Venue: MI Annex (522 E 6th)
For the third year going, the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival will be throwing a day party. Rock out with iwrestledabearonce, Volumes, Cancer Bats, Holy Grail, Molotov Solution and more. Then travel up to Worcester MA for the actual festival from 4/20 to 4/22.
Prosthetic Records Showcase (8 pm)
Prosthetic Records is to metal what Daniel Day Lewis is to movies: they don’t put out albums nearly as often as some of the other guys, but everything they put their name on is incredible. Their showcase at Valhalla will highlight just a few of the bands on their eclectic roster. Whether you’re there for Last Chance To Reason’s grindcore, Junius’ spaced out rock, or Scale the Summit’s mindblowing instrumentals, you won’t be disappointed. Also, to whoever used that Daniel Day Lewis analogy years ago that I’ve since stolen and used far too much, I’m sorry.
Also playing Friday night are Royal Thunder and Early Graves at BD Riley’s, starting at midnight. This is one of those times you’ll want to clone yourself, since I really can’t recommend missing anyone.
While you’re cloning yourself, make an extra copy and go see This Will Destroy You at the Legendary Swan Dive at 1am. They’re one of the few post-rock bands that can be expected to fill the house up, and their live show is unlike most anything else. They’re also playing Wednesday at 1am at Malverde, so see them twice if possible.
Saturday, March 17
The fine folks at Brooklyn Vegan didn’t stop at their four days at Hotel Vegas. They didn’t stop at their back to back day party/night showcase at the Scoot Inn. Why would they stop now? In all likelihood, if you’ve been attending parties and showcases all week, you’ve seen every band on this bill at least once. Except one. Playing their only show during SXSW is Alcest, and you will absolutely not want to miss them. I’ve raved about Alcest’s latest album Les Voyages de L’ame before, and could not be more psyched for his/their appearance on Saturday. If that’s not enough, how about luring you with Austin brewery Jester King? Their Black Metal Stout is the best thing that will ever touch your lips, and you can drink it while listening to one of the best bands to ever touch your ears.
By this time, you might be all metalled out. There’s no shame in that, it happens to the best of us. Even if you weren’t, there’s unfortunately no more showcase for you. Here’s a few non-metal bands I’d recommend checking out that night.
Andy McKee @ the Central Presbyterian Church (9 pm)
Metalheads appreciate great guitarists and musicianship. Andy McKee is a normal, everyday guy from Topeka, Kansas. Oh, and he’s one of the best guitarists around. Make sure you leave before midnight, cause that’s when Train takes the stage (unless you want to see them, in which case, I’m not here to judge).
Pennywise @ Club de Ville (11:30 pm)
They’re one of the great punk bands of the 1990’s. They’re playing in front of the great cliff backdrop that is Club de Ville’s outside stage. Go see them.
Erin Ivey @ Continental Club (9 pm)
Erin Ivey used to do an artist residency at a music venue I worked at. I saw her every week for roughly three months, as well as more times than I can remember outside of her residency. I’m still not sick of her, which attests to how good she is. Check her out if you want to see one of the finest songwriters Austin has to offer.
Ceremony @ Red 7 Patio (8 pm)
El Ten Eleven @ Red 7 (11:45 pm)
The Twilight Sad @ Red 7 Patio (11 pm)
We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Red 7 Patio (Midnight)
A lot of punk bands sneak by me, but Ceremony isn’t one of them. Their 2010 album Rohnert Park was one of my favorites of the year, and they’re kicking off a night of great music at Red 7.
El Ten Eleven’s show is something you’ll want to treat yourself to; the post-rock duo are incredible live.
The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks are a couple of the bands defining Scotland’s indie rock scene, and might just be the best way to cap off your SXSW week.
Balkan Beat Box @ The Stage On Sixth Patio (11:15 pm)
Jimmy Cliff (12:30)
Israel’s Balkan Beat Box has a sound unlike anyone else, and if you want to take off your Slayer shirt, put on your dancing shoes, and party, this is where you’ll want to be.
Stick around and watch one of the greatest reggae musicians ever. I mean, it’s Jimmy Cliff, how much convincing do you need?
Insane Clown Posse @ 1100 Warehouse (8 pm)
Of all the great ways I could be spending my Saturday night, I can’t think of anything better than to hang with some Juggalos at the 1100 Warehouse. Ok, maybe there are a couple things. A good friend, label rep, and lifelong Juggalo who shall not be named, has managed to convince me to go see Insane Clown Posse Saturday night. And by convince, I mean he sent me a message saying that ICP was playing, and I responded that I might have to see that, and then I got an enthusiastic response saying I’m going to the dark carnival. Well, looks like I’m going to the dark carnival. I’m going to approach this as a sociological experiment and see what happens when hipsters, industry stiffs, and Juggalos collide. I’m getting together with a notary beforehand to make sure my will is in order. If I make it out alive, it will be a miracle.
Sunday, March 18
Seriously? It’s Sunday and you’re still looking for more things to do? You’re crazy. Sleep in, grab a breakfast taco somewhere, and recover. There’s still plenty of stuff to do, but I won’t be partaking in any of it. Hoek’s Metal Fest is still going strong, so go grab a slice over there. I only recommend sleeping though.
– Submitted by James Whelan, Music Design