This post has been coming for about 4 weeks now, but I just haven't had time to sit down and devote any time to it.

So I went to SXSW Music 2007, in Austin, Texas with Colin, Brian and Cas. And it was amazing. Really amazing.

The whole thing is so overwhelming to a newcomer. I'm a festival veteran, but this is very different to anything I've been to before. SXSW is primarily an industry event, with a trade show, discussion panels and speeches, and music showcases. Then around that there are hundreds of parties during the day that are unofficial. But unlike some industry events, anyone can pay to go. And with about 1500 bands playing over 4-5 days, you can totally ignore all the industry events and just watch loads of live bands. Which is what we did. None of us are connected with the industry in any way other than that we are fans, but it was still an amazing experience.

I started writing this big long post about SXSW, and I got to describing Wednesday evening (the first night of music) and I'd already written way to much, and I'm never going to finish it. So here is the condensed version of my SXSW:

Questions for the American public
What is up with your booze? The beer is weak. Really weak. Probably about 3%, maybe less. But they don't have
to print alcohol volumes in the US so you don't know. But by contrast, you pour your spirits (liquor) really bloody strong. Each Jack and
coke I drank over the week was the equivalent to at least a triple by
UK standards.

Since when did pushing me hard in the back become acceptable as a way of getting past someone in a crowd? Maybe I'm too British or something, but this happened a lot, and it really annoys me. It doesn't happen in the UK very often.

How did you get so good at putting on an event of that size?
I someone tried that in Britain, it would fall apart in seconds. Lots of Americans seem to be bitching about it, but I was truly impressed.

Question for British music industry people

When are you going to get over yourselves? You are in Austin now. You look stupid with your pasty skin and your clothes not fit for the weather. Yet you insist of having this air of superiority over everyone else, especially people who aren't in the industry. If the British bands can be friendly, why can't you? And why, oh why, do you come all this way to go and see loads of British bands that you can see at home every day of the week? Get over yourselves, please.

Bands seen (62) (in order)
Wednesday (15)
Saturday Looks Good To Me, Earl Greyhound, The Forms, The Needles, The Trucks, Wolf & Cub, Emma Pollock, Future Of The Left, Beirut, Mountain Goats, Voxtrot, Blonde Redhead, Har Mar Superstar, Crystal Castles, Les Savy Fav

Thursday (8)
Dark Meat, Gruff Rhys, Booker T & The MGs, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Isaac Hayes, Cloud Cult, Bishop Allen

Friday (21)
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Polyphonic Spree, Walter Meego, Imperial Teen, Annuals, Shout Out Out Out Out, Kid Koala, Daniel Johnston, Spod, Cities, Pete & The Pirates, Andrew Bird, Young Galaxy, Page France, The Pierces, El-P, Apostle Of Hustle, Wooden Ships, Ron Sexsmith, The Dears, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Saturday (18)
Early Years, Prototypes, Page France, Land Of Talk, Young Knives, Ghostface Killah, Menomena, Art In Manilla, Field Music, Tilly & the Wall, Golum, The Teeth, Palomar, Tokyo Police Club, +/-, Soulico, Cursive, Youth Group

Best bands seen
Daniel Johnston, Menomena, Page France, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, The Trucks, Beirut, Voxtrot

High points
Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Booker T & the MGs and Isaac Hayes performing Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay in tribute to Otis Redding
Daniel Johnston doing True Love Will Find You In The End. Grown adults wept.
Sitting eating BBQ in the sunshine watching Ghostface Killah

Low Point
Thursday about 1pm having got far too messed up the 2 night before and getting the fear really badly in the strong sunshine and being a very long way from home. Not a good moment.

Most surreal moment

Walking down 6th Street on St Patrick's Day about midnight, seeing loads of jocks falling about drunk all dressed in green, and walking past a window of a bar and realising the band are Junior Senior and they are playing Move Your Feet right then. Then turning round to hear another band playing in the roof terrace of the bar across the street and realising it's Bowling For Soup and they are playing Girl All The Bad Guys Want. Weird.

Best Food
The barbecue at Stubb's. The sausage was amazing but the pork ribs were even better. The burgers at the Iron Cactus were amazing too.

Thing I'm really glad I did
Go to the world premier of the Helvetica film. It was amazing.

Things I really wish I had done but didn't
Taken more photos
Eaten some Tex Mex
Made more of an effort to see Cut Off Your Hands, So So Modern and Lonely, Dear
Planned ahead more

Are we going back next year even though it costs a fortune?
Of course