While the free-event takeover of SXSW is great for the wallet, those same events are so marketing-driven that by festival's end you feel like you couldn't possibly eat another Fader sticker, even if Courtney Love does end up eating a live baby. For free parties with no agenda but rocking your handsome face off, Escapes.
Now in its vastly expanded 2nd year, Escapes is a 5-day series of unofficial concerts that eschew the typical trade-your-SS#-for-beer formula in favor of a no-BS, low-budget assault featuring over 100 bands from across the globe more interested in good times than big breaks; the series is curated by the ATX-ers formerly behind Rancho Relaxo, and Athens, GA's Party Party Partners, who fought twice as hard for the right...TO PARRRRRTY. Held at the eastside dive Club 1808, the 26-band, Tuesday night showcase of overarching weirdness features new projects from Austin stalwarts like Moth Fight, Sound Team, and Peter & the Wolf; Wednesday's mellower affair stars promising out-of-town up-and-comers like Boston's Prince Rama, ethnic freak-folkers who pass out percussion to the audience -- who then pay tribute to the Stone Roses, and gang-bang the drums. Thursday's downtown psychedelic parking-lot rager's headlined by legendary Japanese rockers Acid Mothers Temple and the bombastic NYC trio These Are Powers, while Friday afternoon's a mixed bag of dreamy pop from Austin's Brazos and Brooklyn's Beach Fossils, with a side of conceptual avant-rock from the likes of Computer Jesus Refrigerator, who originally went by Jesus Refrigerator Computer. What were they thinking?
Because DIY doesn't necessarily mean going thirsty, Saturday's chilled out day show at Sneak Attack will feature liquid hospitality, plus recent Pitchfork darlings Follow That Bird and tranquil Austin experimentalists Weird Weeds -- probably referencing the only substance that can make you hungry for another sticker, and possibly a baby.