SXSW travelogue: Wheelchair Sports Camp march for peace and makes dough busking
Photo Roadies Kalyn with Riggs from Shady Records.
Farewell, Austin: Kalyn here checking in for Wheelchair Sports Camp and Company's last night at SXSW! Grab a cup of coffee -- you missed a lot since our last check-in: We took our precious time getting out of our RV park home yesterday and loaded in our gear to The Jr (Emo's) at 6 p.m. On the way, I spotted the magnificent Aja Black (The ReMINDers) from afar, but never got the chance to link up with my favorite CO family... Anyway, we got our shit loaded in, and Isaac got some busking in on his ukelele, while Frank Kwiatkowski hustled more art. They wracked up a few dollars and a three foot sub sandwich...random? not at SXSW.
Jennah and I left the freaks and rushed our asses over to the Shady Music Showcase. Unfortunately, the Foodchain was already done playing, and some fool took the stage who had a quarter of the skill of anyone in the Foodchain :( I sat there for about ten minutes, looking for my Shady man, but couldn't handle one more song of shit rappers who rapped over their pre-recorded rhymes. I was close to blowing my brains out. So, I gave up and headed for the door when boom! My main man Riggs (Shady A&R) ran right into my little ass! Yes, Tebow still plays during the off season!
The Photo Roadies weren't allowed in with all their equipment, so Riggs made sure to let them right in! While I was waiting for them to get back, an entourage of macho men walked passed me, when a tatted white boy asked to take a picture with me because of my awesome punk shirt (Udown). I agreed and asked his name... Sure enough, it was Machine Gun Kelly, who I've never had the opportunity to hear, but am up on game enough to know the name. I passed off my new CD to my man Riggs plus a shirt for 50 and Eminem, who, I was told, was waiting in the back for a surprise appearance. Left as soon as I got the chance and didn't even have blow my top!
We headed back for our venue when we were stopped by a fabulous queen for another picture op! She loved me so much that she bought the whole crew and I round of shots. We popped in for five wet pussy's and were back on track! Played our hearts out for our second official showcase, which had the worst sound EVER! There were a good eight waves of people who came in and out plus a good fifteen folks who stuck around for the whole show. The few people who bought merch from us bought everything they could with the money in their pockets and once again Austin showed us unconditional love. Our new pal Doug Funnie from Ft Worth showed face, and we hung tough at Emo's.
That is, until the worst noise music duo ever took the stage. It takes a really amazing musician to make noise music sound good, and the wanna be Lady Gaga who played put me into a bad acid trip quick! I left and tried to catch Blackalicious around the corner, but it was at capacity, so home we went.
This morning was a whole different ballgame. Not only was it St. Patrick's Day, but it was also the sixth month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The crew dropped the girl and I off at the capitol for the 7th annual Million Musicians March, which was joined by Occupy Austin. We got to chill on the lawn of the capitol for a few hours and enjoy the much needed break.
The march kicked off around 3 p.m., and we took to the streets. This was, by far, the most incredible march I've ever been able to be a part of, and it was the PERFECT way to spend my last day at SXSW. The march grew in numbers quickly as we occupied 6th street filling the corporate festival with sounds of independent peace. It was beautiful. We made it to CIty Hall, where we played a short set right after Onus tried to ruin my St Patrick's Day. Luckily I'm so Irish that it's virtually impossible!
Next up, I got my much needed daily dose of tacos, and we finally got some band busking in. Boy, oh boy, am I glad we did! We played for a good forty mins, made about $200 (in mostly $1s), did an interview for a Houston news station, got a few big wig contacts and drew a crowd bigger than all four shows we played this week combined! It was hard to stop, but I HAD TO SEE EL-P!!
El-P doing his thing.
The good taxi man Isaac dropped Jennah and I off at the hip-hop party, while Abi went to see William Elliott Whitmore. Got to see my hero Busdriver for the second time this week and was able to sneak on stage to watch the legend do what he does best: Melt faces! His set was short, sweet, and full of sour power rhymes and beats that left the crowd begging for more.
We jetted out as soon as he was done and headed back for some more busking. This time, we played about thirty minutes and made another $175, while Frank Kwiatkowski hustled over $150 in prints! This round of busking, we were spotted by America's Got Talent people, but would we ever? NO! Well... at least not anytime soon. Don't worry. BUT!!, we did take the opportunity for a Source Magazine interview in five hours before we head home! Being 190 percent independent has NEVER felt better!
Photo Roadies Busking on 6th Street.
Austin, thank you soooo goddamn much for inviting us back and being such an embracing city. Although this years festival tried to force feed everyone corporate sponsors and shitty bands, the diamonds were still everywhere! They were just a little harder to find, which I think makes the SXSW experience even more fun. I heard a lot of complaints from folks, especially Austin natives, but I couldn't have asked for a better time. Truly.
Final Thoughts: Who needs showcases, venues or sound systems, when you can play in the street, with a bucket, megaphone and sax, where the real heart is? Who needs art galleries when you can hustle on the corner, share your techniques with the public and interact with people on a one on one basis? I sure do dread the day we are offered to play on a Dorrito vending machine stage and plan to play way more corner shows next year!
Everything's in it's right place.
Side note: Onus still hasn't brushed his teeth this trip, Frank still hasn't taken his shoes off, and four of the nine crew members have serious feet blisters.
*Follow us on twitter to hear about our trip back home and where to celebrate my birthday at when we arrive! @wcsportscamp
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