SXSW: Photographer Peter Leeman’s Account of SXSW (Part Two)

The festival was an intense mix of exhilaration and exhaustion, a real adventure under the laid-back Austin sun. There were open bars, day parties followed by night parties, and a thriving, magnificent food truck scene to keep us going. We danced late into the night to solid dj sets, jumped around to dance music, we swayed to driving synthy darkwave and were reminded that punk rock will never die. No one wanted to rest for too long, for fear of missing something great.

Weary, sleep deprived and sore, we shuffled back into the van at the end of the week for our long drive home. We took in the beautiful weather one last time on one last rooftop, and hoped the drive would be quick (it wasn’t).  Once back in Pittsburgh, we reluctantly came to terms with the cold and snow. As we said our bleary-eyed goodbyes, it was apparent that we ended the trip with more friends, or better friends than when we first piled into the van 8 days earlier.

The open bar could be partially to blame, but at the end of the night, the crowd went wild for Icona Pop at the Viceland showcase.

Small Black performs at The Fader Fort, an expansive venue hosted by The Fader magazine.

Small Black performs at The Fader Fort, an expansive venue hosted by The Fader magazine.

Sitting down for a moment inside The Fader Fort.

Trinidad Jame$ gets the crowd popping at The Fader Fort.

Trinidad Jame$ gets the crowd popping at The Fader Fort.

Trinidad Jame$ gets the crownd popping at The Fader Fort.

A long line of people wait for their order at the Mi Jo Hungry food truck. Austin has an impressive food truck scene, with many eager patrons.

The Night Beats perform at Hotel Vegas.

Thee Oh Sees liven up the crowd at Hotel Vegas.

The Soft Moon bring a darkwave, synthrock feel to Hotel Vegas.

The Soft Moon bring a darkwave, synthrock feel to Hotel Vegas.

DIIV plays at the Blackheart Bar on Rainey Street.

White Lung brings some puck rock to Bar 96.

Bleached mix in a little psychedelic pop with punk rock at Bar 96.

Blue Hawaii plays at a showcase for bands from Montreal.

Nu Sensae adds a little high energy noise punk to the line-up at the Longbranch Inn.

Peter Leeman is a graduate researcher in field of atmospheric science. He is also a photographer and filmmaker.
<< SXSW: Photographer Peter Leeman’s Account of SXSW (Part One)


SXSW: Photographer Peter Leeman’s Account of SXSW (Part One)

For 8 days I embedded with WRCT’s envoy to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Grown out of humble beginnings, SXSW now seems to consume the entire city in a fertile, massive agglomeration of live music,parties, corporate showcases and much more. There is an official SXSW festival and countless unofficial events, with the lines between the two consistently blurring.

We put 10 people in a rental van and drove over 20 hours straight, stopping only momentarily for breakfast, Dairy Queen or an obligatory bathroom break. With the promise of seeing more live music in a week than possibly anywhere else on earth, we could not wait to roam the dusty desert streets of mid-central cowboy country. I had half of a press pass, a nice piece of floor to sleep on and a lot of pale white, supple skin  ready to soak up some rays.


Anything and everything becomes a pillow in van with 10 people.

The group stretches their legs after getting gas.

Kyle Henson, WRCT DJ, heads back in for another leg of the journey.

The transportation for the trip.

Driving through the night.

Anna Bieberdorf, WRCT Business Manager, drives into the night.

The group heads into a local Austin cafe for a WRCT alumni meet-up.

Red Bud Isle, an island and park on Lady Bird Lake.

Exploring Austin on foot.

Discussing radio business.

Dave Zak, WRCT DJ, spends time on the balcony.

Allison Cosby, WRCT Interim General Manager and former Pillbox editor enjoys some balcony time in Austin.

The parking lot outside of Cheer Up Charlie's, a casual, popular venue in East Austin.

Merchandise plays at the Viceland showcase, hosted by Vice Magazine.

Merchandise plays at the Viceland showcase, hosted by Vice Magazine.

Waiting for bathrooms, a common pastime at SXSW.

A separate room was set up for a company's new product launch.

Austra perfoms at the Viceland showcase.

Austra perfoms at the Viceland showcase.

Austra perfoms at the Viceland showcase.

Sound checking for Icona Pop.

Icona Pop perfoms at the Viceland showcase.

Icona Pop perfoms at the Viceland showcase.

Peter Leeman is a graduate researcher in field of atmospheric science. He is also a photographer and filmmaker.


SXSW: Photographer Peter Leeman’s Account of SXSW (Part Two) >>


SXSW: Foxygen

Wednesday afternoon, Paste and HGTV held their SXSW Day Party at the Stages on Sixth I was mostly there to see Foxygen, a band that has been gaining a lot of buzz on Pitchfork and other blogs, and has been featured in almost every “Bands to see at SXSW” article I’ve read.

Foxygen’s psychedelic pop has been met with a lot of comparisons to artists from the ’60s and ’70s, inciting references to Dylan, The Kinks and other artists of that era. The similarities are definitely there, especially on “San Francisco” the single of their new record We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, which is a mellowed out song with a bopping melody and high even-tempo vocals. This is the song that has been getting play across the internet, but it has a very different sound from the rest of the record, and strays even further from the energy of Foxygen on stage, which has caused some problems for the band at SXSW this week.

Foxygen’s core members are Jonathan Rado and Sam France, two friends who have been making music together since they were 15 year old high school freshmen in Los Angeles. France is the front man, and is definitely a presence on stage, pulling at his hair and bouncing back and forth between mock crying, screaming, and singing and marching in place like a soldier. Rado and France are joined by a drummer, bassist, and female vocalist to round out the full live band. The whole group seems to be running with the ’60s and ’70s thing in full force, wearing paisley pants, tightly tailored patterned dress shirts and one big sun hat.

The day show at the Stages on Sixth was a solid performance with a set consisting of mostly cuts off of their new record, but France apologized for not being very into it and asked the crowd to please see them later that night. I took his advice and showed up to see them again at the Hype Hotel, a week long party sponsored by Hype Machine happening on San Jacinto.

Sound problems have been plaguing Hype Hotel all week, and Foxygen went on an hour late after a lengthy sound check. By then, the crowd had checked out and was pretty disinterested. The fact that Jim James was ending the night didn’t do Foxygen any favors, as the crowd skewed much older and did not seemed amused by Foxygen’s 70′s style of music and clothing. Although they did play the single San Francisco to some applause from the crowd, it was a warped rocked out version very unlike the recording that one crowd member referred to as a ‘bait and switch’. As a fan of the band, I still enjoyed myself, and there was still a high amount of energy despite it not being entirely reciprocated by the crowd.

Post and photos by Eden Weingart.


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