SXSW 2011 Reflections

For all of you who don’t know, South By Southwest (SXSW) is a major music and film festival held annually in Austin. Bands travel from all over the world to get a chance to play their music, even if it is for as long as 45 minutes. Record labels, film and music producers and almost every big name in music are in attendance to this event. It’s about a week long and you can basically find any genre of music, from virtually anywhere in the world, that might tickle your fancy.
Last Thursday I had the opportunity, for the first time since moving to Texas, to attend this prestigious and mind blowing event. This being my pioneer journey to the week long festival, I didn’t really know what to expect. Seeing that I was unaware that I would be making the journey to Austin on Thursday, I didn’t plan as well as I could have.
A huge portion of SXSW is free events that you don’t need a badge or wristband to get into, but you have to RSVP online and are only able to enter upon there being ample capacity. Many of these free parties and shows were closed by the time I was able to select which I wanted to go to because of the amount of people that attend and RSVP. After looking through page after page of event listings, I decided to try to respond to every event that was still open. So on a wing and a prayer,  I began my adventure.
With my iPod loaded with play lists to get me pumped for the night, a negligible amount of cash from a loan my dad gave me and a full tank of gas to get me there, I headed down I-35 on a perilous campaign to uncover new bands and get the opportunity to see some of my favorites as well. All I needed at that point was an old school red convertible rented from a shady man and a suit case full of nefarious paraphernalia and I would be Hunter S. Thompson.
My car stereo blasted tunes by Deltron 3030, Tom Waits and oldies like The Velvet Underground and Jacques Dutronc, and my head was filled with dreams of meeting magazine execs and music producers. I tried to keep my expectations under wraps, but the excitement of the day was overwhelming.
Through excessive traffic and annoying drivers, my feeling of anxiety and ardor kept my sometimes extreme road rage in check. I finally arrived at a friends place, with a list of hopeful bands to see. On this list were bands like, The Naked and Famous, The Strokes, The Cool Kids and Cee Lo Green. Aside from The Strokes, I accomplished little on my planned schedule.
The Strokes was the biggest free show of the week and was held at Auditorium Shores. For those of you unfamiliar with Austin, Auditorium Shores is an outside venue near Riverside and South Congress on the banks of the river than runs through the city. It’s actually an extremely big venue and can hold well over a thousand people. Although Auditorium Shores is a huge area, it reached capacity pretty quickly, with thousands of people crowded around waiting to get in.
When I arrived, only a half hour before the show started, the people running the event had already announced that the area was full and no one else was allowed in. Apparently, this didn’t sit well with a certain group of rabble rousers and a riot ensued. They began chanting “USA! USA!” and suddenly all ran into the fence, causing that section of it to collapse. People poured in, and I happened to be standing there as well, so I nonchalantly stepped through the fence and found my friends in the massive crowd of people.
After The Strokes played their set with fireworks lighting up the sky around the stage, I wandered downtown by myself to see what else was going on. I stopped in a bar that a friend of mine bartends at since they had a lineup of bands. Most of the bands that played there were a mix of punk rock, alternative and maybe even a hint of metal. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but I stayed to give them a redeeming chance.        My favorite of these small time bands was one that I happened upon on the street. They had an amp sitting on the back of their 70s style bicycle and were all older men with long, greasy hair, probably friends of Jad Fair. I didn’t catch the name of their band, but I stood and watched for quite a while. Although I didn’t see the bands I had planned, I felt fulfilled with my night of cruising solo about downtown Austin and observing a city filled with madness and sound.
If you didn’t get the chance to go this year, there is always the years to come, but if you are looking for some good new tunes to listen to, here is a list of some amazing bands that were featured throughout the week.
The first of these bands I would suggest is The Strange Boys. Native Texans from Dallas, brothers Ryan and Philip Sambol began playing music in high school.  This group mimics classic Texas psychedelic rock like The 13th Floor Elevators, with a new and hip twist. Its lo-fi sound and vocals draws strong influence from Bob Dylan and 60s American Bandstand. One of the most popular songs I would recommend is “Be Brave,” and another catchy and pleasing song by them is “Should Have Shot Paul.”
The second band I would recommend for a good listen is Diamond Rings. John O’Regan, from Toronto, Canada, heads up this solo project that has a pop, yet new wave indie, feel. Using a guitar and electronic beats, O’Regan, adorned with neon makeup and bleached hair, achieves an extremely David Bowie-esque style. “Something Else” is a song off of O’Regans album entitled “Special Affections” and is probably my favorite of his work.
Lastly, Deerhunter was a much awaited band at SXSW, recommended by The Temper Trap, Interpol and Metric via Grooveshark, an online streaming music website. Deerhunter has a definite indie appeal and uses soothing beats and melodious vocals. Their most popular song is “Helicopter” off of the album “Halcyon Digest,” and I agree that it is one of Deerhunters best. The vocals in “Helicopter” are of the likeness of The Cure and beats much like The Postal Service.
If you’re a first timer at SXSW, this is my advice to you: although there are huge headliners such as Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa, keep your mind open to smaller bands that may be unknown, you never know, they could be the next big thing and if this is the case, SXSW is the quintessential place to accomplish that success. Another thing is, schedule, but feel free to meander at will, you never know what gems you may stumble upon.

– Liz Hitchcock


British Invasion: SXSW wooed by transatlantic talent

Austin’s 24th annual South by Southwest is nothing short of a roaring success, complete with excessive foot traffic, eclectic garb and the guarantee that your ears will ring for days on end. With nearly every musical genre represented throughout the five-day festival, I was less than surprised to pass crowds of confused-looking 20-somethings trying to decide which show to attend. Oh, the choices.

Although South-By typically yields a strong return of homegrown unsigned artists, the international music pool was well represented at this year’s event. Up-and-coming British indie band The Vaccines did not cease to please as they charmed crowds with their hipster beards and enthusiastic tunes. Performing at one of AOL’s meticulously planned pop-up shows on Wednesday, the group inoculated the audience with their melodies, making them one of the most sought after South by acts in the ensuing days.

A refreshing blend of punk and pop, lead singer Justin Young croons out his tunes with poise. Respectably dressed and properly washed, Young instantly eradicated stereotypical notions of unruly, grungy Brits. Visibly influenced by the Ramones and nothing short of ear candy, The Vaccines’ music will keep your toes tapping time and a melody lodged in your brain.

Let’s move on to Veronica Falls: I simply could not get enough. Pregnant with undertones of Belle and Sebastian, songs captured that quintessentially British sound we Americans adore. Coincidentally, lead singer and guitarist Roxanne Clifford emits a captivating innocence, holding fans captive while listening to her balmy vocals. Keep your eyes peeled for these spunky popsters, as I’ll be shocked if we don’t see much more of them in days to come.

Similarly, London-based alternative rock band Yuck delivered powerful sets, leaving a strong impression upon fans. Don’t be fooled by the named – Yuck is simply delightful, aptly catering to that slightly grungier, more deviant side of us that unabashedly loves the Killers and Radiohead. Their popular single “Get Away” is a bit ominous; yet, a cheerful base line acts as the guiding light through the dark.

Whether it’s those cheeky accents, their impeccable sense of fashion, or the fact that they are ridiculously talented, South-By (and this writer) are quite smitten with British groups. With but a few precious days left before many bands pack up their gear and head back across the pond, there is still time to experience the delightfully bohemian allure of South by Southwest for yourself. If the music doesn’t appeal, come in search of an eligible Brit rocker – because we all can’t snag princes, can we?

-Bonnie Berger

I know it is Wednesday, but watch this

I haven’t written a World Wide Hilarity post in quite sometime. But if I needed any motivation, I found it in Rebecca Black.

Her first song release, Friday, is beyond startling for several reasons.

1) Why do we need her? We have iPhones, computers and some people use those nifty day planners.

2) The way she says Friday…… it’s just weird.

3) Her life decisions are so hard — what seat should she take? At least we know she has one thing figured out…. she is going to have FUN FUN FUN FUN.

4) Her friends are awfully young to be driving her around in a convertible.

5) Also, field party for teenagers? SKETCH.

We leave you with one question we legitimately want answered: WHO is that rapper? Let us know what you think about the video and if you know who he is.

All in jest,

Nick and Jessica

Monday Morning Grace: The Sabbath

“Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God… You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” – Deuteronomy 5:12-15

As the sounds of coughing and sneezing fill the air with the changing of seasons and I find myself fighting off bouts of sickness, I began to wonder why God created sickness.

Why create something, God, that simply slows life down and causes everyone unwanted pain or discomfort?

Not the first time I have thrown that question at God I might add, and not the first time He has reminded me with much patience and a fatherly smile that He allows me to undergo short-term sicknesses that bring coughs and sneezes to remind me of my humanity.

It reminds me of the temporary nature of my body.

“Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day…For we know the if the earthly tent in which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven…” 2 Cor. 4:16-5:1-2

I was not designed to operate and live all by myself, but rather I was designed to operate under a strength outside myself.

“I lie down and sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” – Psalm 3:5

So thank you Lord for being my sustainer and the reason I wake up every morning.

Beyond that, Lord thank you for reminding me that I was not made to walk through each day fueled by my own desire to succeed or accomplish.

If I succeed and accomplish according to my own strength, I am bringing myself glory.

Rather, it is my desire that I might decrease and Christ might increase. (John 3:30)

So, I want to live according to His strength so that He may be glorified in my weakness. However, once He walked me back through this train of thought, He took me one step further.

I was praying for the Lord to convict my heart of any ways I had failed to walk out in His strength and instead of pointing me to a specific instance, He walked me back through the last semester to allow me to see how little I had truly rested in the Lord.

At first I didn’t find this worthy of something to repent about.

I thought, “Well that’s good God, but resting seems more about me.” It seemed a little self-focused to repent of not resting well.

And then He replied, “But I commanded it.”


It had been awhile since I had been reminded that “Sabbathing” or resting in the Lord is not jus a suggestion for those weeks that have felt particularly rough.

It’s not up to me to decide which weeks are good weeks to Sabbath, and God showed me why.

When I left it up to me to decide when to rest, I didn’t do it all. I simply found more things to fill that time with.

Resting in the Lord is a commandment. If God rested on the seventh day, it seems awfully high of me to think its in my or anybody’s best interest to just keep trucking seven days a week.

It’s a commandment both for our good (my sanity and peace) and for His glory.

As responsibilities heat up each day I get older, I sense a crash and burn coming if I don’t learn to Sabbath well now.

Plus, just like He looked really good when the Israelites kept the Sabbath and then produced more from their farms than neighboring tribes, He looks really good when I keep the Sabbath and then work just as efficiently (and usually more efficiently) as when I don’t Sabbath.

Furthermore, “Sabbathing” is a discipline in and of itself.

It takes discipline to not fall into the American mindset of more work=more money/fame/happiness.

We have been called to embody a different mindset, one that trusts our sustainer and provider to provide more than we need if we obey His command to rest and remember the ways He has brought us out of slavery into freedom.

“So thank you Lord for reminding me through sickness that I am meant to find my life in You and part of how You desire to breath life into me is through rest. So Lord, teach me to rest well and teach our American culture to rest well. Show us what that looks like to remember the Sabbath in our present day and for each of us individually. Let us find a joy and peace that come only from You as we enjoy You in our Sabbath. I am sorry Lord for disobeying your command to rest and I pray You make me into one who finds deep life in the weekly Sabbath rest and that You would receive much glory when I keep Your Sabbath holy. I trust You with that time Lord. In Your precious Son Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Shalom (Peace)



Matt Larsen, a sports writer for the Lariat, writes the Monday Morning Grace posts on faith and Christianity.

Texas cities nab No. 1, No. 3 for Best Cities for Love

McClatchy Tribune News Service

Yesterday was the big day for sweethearts. But here in Texas we have two of the top three best cities for love at our disposal at all times, according to The Daily Beast. The news site ranked cities “based on a high prevalence of marriage, a low incidence of divorce, a relatively happy population and a wealth of bars and restaurants to meet and woo a significant other.”

San Antonio came in at No. 1 and at No. 3 was the even closer Austin.

Here’s a list of the top ten and a link to the full list:

#1, San Antonio, TX
Singles: C
Social life: A
Emotional health: A
Marriage: B
Divorce: C

#2, Milwaukee, WI
Singles: A
Social life: A
Emotional health: C
Marriage: F
Divorce: A

#3, Austin, TX
Singles: B
Social life: A
Emotional health: B
Marriage: C
Divorce: C

#4, Virginia Beach, VA
Singles: C
Social life: A
Emotional health: A
Marriage: F
Divorce: A

#5, San Diego, CA
Singles: B
Social life: D
Emotional health: B
Marriage: A
Divorce: C

#6, Boston, MA
Singles: A
Social life: D
Emotional health: A
Marriage: B
Divorce: C

#7, New Orleans, LA
Singles: A+
Social life: A+
Emotional health: F
Marriage: C
Divorce: D

#8, Hartford, CT
Singles: B
Social life: C
Emotional health: B
Marriage: D
Divorce: A

#9, Cleveland, OH
Singles: A
Social life: A
Emotional health: F
Marriage: F
Divorce: A

#10, Portland, OR
Singles: D
Social life: A
Emotional health: B
Marriage: D
Divorce: A

Snow more waiting

Ted Harrison
Students walk along Fountain Mall Thursday night as the first snow of 2011 hits campus. Baylor’s area is expected to get one to three inches of snow tonight.Ted Harrison | Multimedia Producer

Forgive the terrible play on words, but really. Baylor students have been trekking through the cold without snow since Monday night. Some went more than 24 hours without electricity and others experienced on-and-off power in their off-campus apartments and houses all day Wednesday.

So when snow began to fall on our campus at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night students rushed out of their dorms and hit the ground sliding. Ted Harrison, Lariat multimedia producer, and I left the newsroom to get a taste of the snow and see how the students were reacting.

With the thought of classes being canceled circling around on social networks, some students stooped to pleading for a snow day, if for no other reason than they feel they have paid their dues in steps to class in the frigid conditions all week.

We encountered ultimate frisbee on Fountain Mall, snow angels on Fifth Street, snow men in front of Waco Hall and tons of photo ops with Judge Baylor. In Central Texas, we appreciate all snow — even the minuscule amounts. Though as we get later into the night, the weather conditions will become more prevalent for the decision on if school will be in session tomorrow or not.

Around 1 to 3 inches of snow is possible for our area. Baylor will continue to monitor weather conditions and any alteration to regular business operations or class schedules will be communicated through text and email, according to a Baylor News Flash sent to students at nearly 3 p.m. Thursday

Our Twitter and Facebook will be updated as soon as we hear official word on any changes to tomorrow’s schedule. Either way, school or no school, tomorrow is Friday, Baylor Nation!

UPDATE: Baylor University has cancelled class for all of Friday, Feb. 4. The scheduled Winter Premiere for Saturday, Feb. 5 has also been cancelled.

Stay warm and safe and enjoy the snow!

Nick Dean
Editor in Chief

The Burleson Boogie Chapel

The man who runs Chapel, Dr. Burt Burleson, gave the students in Chapel on Monday more than just words of inspiration.
Burleson, the university Chaplain and dean for spiritual life at Baylor, provided all in attendance with the “Burleson Boogie” during the Chapel program featuring the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir.