Published on March 20th, 2016 | by Tammy Perez0
The Other Side of SXSW – Austin Unofficial
Weeks before SXSW even begins you can’t help but notice the changes. Fresh coats of paint color the local venues, brand names and logos begin appearing in the most unexpected places, the people begin to look just a little different and the city quietly begins to take on a completely different vibe. Slowly – and at times painfully – the city begins its metamorphosis into what can very accurately be described as an exciting and innovatively stimulating hub of creative chaos.
The annual music festival brings hundreds of thousands of people to the city of Austin with the promise of top-tier networking, talent, and entertainment, and with that comes an opportunity for many local bands and artists to showcase their talents to a much broader audience with unofficial showcases that are just as much a major part of SXSW as the meticulously scheduled and curated official events.
What might be a dreamlike fantasy for those who crave the addicting overdose of non-stop marketing and networking, it’s not always the same for the people who still live here even after the stages come down and the carnival of glitter and glamor return home.
For the people who live and work in Austin year-round, ten days of SXSW can be both a blessing and curse and no one knows that more than those whose lives are dedicated to the Austin music scene 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These are the people who don’t need a music festival or a state of the art production to share their music in a city that at its very core is built around music and the arts.
Much of this appeal comes from the local pride generated by a very close family of local musicians, many who spend their days in the service industry by day catering to the hordes of visitors and festival guests and spend their nights among friends and family, performing anywhere there is available space and a power outlet. It is a chance for the locals to celebrate the music, the people, and the clubs that support the scene every single day of the year and not just for a few weeks in March.
One of the proudest examples of this is the local Austin metal scene which has maintained a loyal family of artists and musicians in spite of scores of recent club closures and changes, city transformations, and personal trials and tribulations, proving that the bond that Austin nurtures in the creative community is not going away anytime soon.
Midway Field House – typically a sports bar and arcade and all-around neighborhood bar – hosted the Texas Metal Collective’s Red, White and Blood showcase during SXSW. The two-day, free metal show featured over 40 local and national bands including Austin’s own Beyond Gods and Empires, DSGNS, UglyTwin, GnarWolf, and Amarillo-based Never the Victim.
Texas Metal Collective has been a prominent fixture in the Austin Metal scene since 2010 with founders Marc Villarreal (Beyond Gods and Empires) and James Gonzalez (Boozehound Booking) working to create the foundation for local acts to develop a musical platform focused on the metal music scene in what has typically been a challenging market. Although small, the fan base is loyal as demonstrated by the close support system of musicians who remain in the scene through the ever-changing life cycle of local metal music; the names may change, but the heart still remains.
As James Gonzalez eloquently put it, it is “more hugs than hand-shaking”. This is exactly the sentiment that keeps the Austin music scene alive even after the carnival has left town.