South By Southwest 2012 Roundup- Part 1

Posted by Shannon Hunter

What do a 2 person horse costume, Flaming Dr. Pepper, and Matthew McConaughey have in common? They were all unusual highlights of my sojourn to Austin’s SXSW this year.

Nothing says Texas like cowboy boots, red gingham, and sunflowers!

South By Southwest started off as a humble music conference/festival 25 years ago and has morphed into a film, interactive, and music juggernaut with all the pros and cons that come along with big name acts and corporate sponsorships. Here’s a little secret: I’m pretty sure the first time I ever heard about it was the Austin season of The Real World. Didn’t they have to make a movie or something? In any case, after glimpsing what the music scene was like, I was bound and determined to find a way to attend!

This year is my 4th consecutive trip, and each one has had a slightly different vibe due to the rotating slots in our core attendance group, the ever changing Spring weather conditions, and of course THE BANDS. This year I saw a grand total of 31 bands in 5 days, a lot to process! There was significantly less drama, and maybe not so coincidentally, significantly less alcohol consumption- but let’s not forget about that Flaming Dr Pepper courtesy of Touche'. This certainly goes into the “Don’t Try This At Home” category but just in case you’re curious: here is the recipe. Make sure to use Lonestar beer if you want that authentic Austin experience. Sounds scary right? It’s also quite delicious! Just don’t think about the bartender’s germs…but they had to burn off with all that fire right?
They dont call in "Flaming" for nothing
The main musical trend I noticed this year was a strong showing from female musicians. Way more ladies (as both lead singers and band members) this year than I’ve seen yet. As a card carrying feminist this makes my heart sing. As a music fan with very particular tastes in female singers (strong, clear voices) it muddied the waters with several whispery warblers.

Another trend was that band members are switching instruments during the course of their set. Drummers go to bass, keyboardists head to vocals, and vocalists pick up some kind of percussion instrument- did someone say tambourine?

As far as fashion is concerned, it runs the gamut of what you would expect: hipsters, hookers, rockers, jocks, and everything in between. For the men there was no shortage of beards. Best use of leather and studs goes to Theophilus London as seen below.
Theophilus at La Zona Rosa

Also, the singer of Oberhofer was rocking a nice Nautical/Texan vibe with this mix of stripes and chambray.
Oberhofer at the Hype Hotel
Hats of all sorts were both fashionable and functional as seen on Alberta Cross band members.
Alberta Cross at the Converse party at Bar 96

For the ladies there was lots of lace, cut off shorts, statement necklaces, pops of neon as seen on this skirt/belt combo at Cedar Street,
Hot pink leopard print with a skinny yellow belt.

Blunt cut bangs like these on the singer of Snake Rattle Rattle Snake were seen abound
at the Spokes Buzz party at 512 Bar

Colored denim (mostly reds and blues) was also big, and surprising amounts of sky-high heels like these. Now ladies….I’m in favor of lengthening your legs, but we’ll all be standing for hours on end. Why would you inflict this on yourself?
Leopard wedges and cutoff shorts in line for the Pure Volume house.

As for me, I rocked armloads of bracelets and lots of fun prints.
Fresh veggies are hard to find at SXSW! Gold ring is by Jewelmint. La Mer watch, bracelets by Coach, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle.

Stay tuned for more SXSW coverage later in the week- including thoughts on what I really came here for, the music!

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