Remezcla en SXSW: Saturday, March 15

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From the moment I woke up, I knew Day 4 was not going to be very productive – as far as checking out bands — for me. I had to attend the event I was going to perform at (a couple of DJ sets) and I knew that it was going to take most of my time. Not that I was complaining, it’s not every day a chance to play in Austin during SXSW comes along, and I had no intention of missing out.

I was not about to let that stop me from catching some last-moment events. After breakfast, I wanted to go to two places, one was the Batanga early showcase (brunch included!) and the second, an electronica party at Stubbs with Digitalism and Chromeo. For the latter, you had to RSVP online and then stand in line, but being a free show, I had to take advantage of it.

However, before I had time to check out those events, I had to make a stop at the Mexican American Cultural Center, to find out the time I needed to be back there and to check out the venue.  The place is actually a museum/activities center, just outside downtown Austin. And they were ready for the Border Sessions event with an outdoor stage (for the main acts) and a smaller side stage inside an auditorium.

Once I got the info I needed, I walked a few blocks to Stubbs’ BBQ, where there was already a line to get in and I could hear Digitalism already playing. No worries, the crew was moving the line rather quickly, but they asked me to open my backpack, I had to leave my bottled water at the door. That really sucked, but I just wanted to get in.

Digitalism is formed by only two DJ’s, but they play as if they were a whole collective crew. And they didn’t care one bit that the event was at an outdoor venue, or that it was hot as hell and the crowd was not really into their set at first, but once they started to dish out heavier beats and getting the crowd to sing along, Stubbs became THE place to be at that time of the day. They closed their set with Pogo and left the crowd energized and primed for Chromeo. I could not stay there much longer than 2 songs from them; I had to leave soon if I wanted to catch the Batanga event, full of bandas AlterLatinas!

Time to walk again! It was only a few blocks but it felt further due to the heat. Got to Habana’s back patio, where Los Dynamite, Monte Negro, Sussie 4 and Chikita Violenta were going to perform their live sets. The best part of this party, besides the bands, was the FREE food! They were giving away tortas cubanas and empanadas! So I grabbed some food while Los Dynamite rocked in the background, caught most of their set and then headed to the event at the Mexican American Cultural Center. Oh, I forgot to mention, when I was just about to walk out, I was stopped by a familiar face: Andres from Monareta! He was just hanging out listening to the bands and enjoying a drink. He had played a few days earlier but I didn’t get a chance to see him. (He promised he’ll be back to Texas sometime soon)

The Border Sessions event had many bands on two stages, on stage one the headliners were Boombox Auditivo, Monte Negro and Jumbo. Then on the small stage, there was an event featuring Legazy and Neblina from L.A. and Maria de Negro, Yokomono, Wolves at the Door, Sin Sombra and the Television Skies from Houston, as well as yours truly spinning some latin-alternative music in between bands!

Since I had to be inside most of the time, I missed most of the bands playing there, but I was sure to catch Boombox Auditivo and Jumbo. The crowds were small, compared to other events happening that night, but the important thing is that they showed up there instead of going to higher-profile performances. Jumbo took the night, by pleasing their loyal fans with requests, if people wanted a song, Jumbo complied and gave them what they wanted to listen and dance to. That’s not something you see very often, I was quite surprised and it was a great detail from them.

I talked to Jumbo shortly after their set, and they talked about how important is for them to tour in the US. They want to play in NY and Chicago. Castillo and Charly mentioned that “the new album has new sounds that Jumbo has wanted to explore for some time, it is not a concept album, I think we were really having fun with it”.

At the end of the night, I was exhausted, part of me wanted to continue to party but I just didn’t have any energy left. So I called it a night after a tremendous week, now I have to get ready for LAMC 2008!

For now, I must say Adios to the capital of Texas…

Pero en Agosto, nos vemos en Austin City Limits!