Sweet Spirit: Hotel Vegas Outdoor/SXSW 3/14/2016

If you don’t already know, let me be the first to tell you that the South By Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival is a goddamn nightmare for most people who live in Austin year-round; particularly people involved in anything that happens to be touched by the festival, i.e.: music, service industry, tech, anything else that gets enveloped by “South By money”.

And that seems be the negotiable factor.  The massive amounts of money changing hands during this shitshow is undeniable, and anybody who lives paycheck-to-paycheck or just wants to make a little extra than their usual take will normally find a way to land a random gig during SXSW.


Austinites are a peculiar breed.  They hate people coming into their town and changing things.  But they normally won’t hesitate to drive a pedicab, hand out popcorn, or work logistics 12 hours a day for a week if it means they can take a brief vacation or finance a personal project in the following months.

And I’m fairly certain that it is this schizophrenic mentality that facilitates the love/hate relationship that many locals feel with the city’s largest annual festival.

When you live in this city, it takes a good degree of wherewithal (or willful ignorance) to get over the prejudices regarding this behemoth and get downtown and have some fun again.

Which is exactly what I did last night.


I found myself drinking cocktails at one of my favorite East Side dives, Rio Rita with my girlfriend and our roommate when the idea of going to see some live music came up.  After a couple brief scans of my Facebook feed, I saw that Sweet Spirit, yet another amalgam involving the efforts of members from A Giant Dog, Tear Dungeon, Bobby Jealousy, et al were set to perform in about a half hour two blocks away at Hotel Vegas.

So we set off.  And, well… when it comes to the subject of this band, which I had yet to see an entire set by until last night, I’m just going to have to disregard any set up and get right down into it.

Charmed, I’m sure…

I almost cried.  For real.  And I’m not the kind of guy who does that often.  I’m a heavy metal guy at heart, I know how to do construction and work on cars, but this fuckin’ band did something for me.  Something big.

Something about a full old-school rock n’ roll ensemble: with bass, drums, two guitars, keys, backup vocals and horns,  struck a very familial chord in me.  It brought back memories of watching my dad’s band and his friends’ bands playing backyard barbecues and house parties as a young child.  Plus, you throw Sabrina Ellis on lead vocals into the deal?  You’ve gotta be shitting me!

There was nothing phony about it.  It wasn’t a bunch of too-cool-for-school college students getting up and playing familiar melodies for the sake of putting one over on everybody.  No.  This was a genuine… fuck it… ROMP! for everybody on stage and in attendance.

Knowing the collective works of a few of the members of this band and their other projects the way I do, I can’t help but assume that the subject matter behind the lyrics of the songs is a bit subversive.  Which is right up my alley.  I can’t remember any lyrics in particular, because I was pretty drunk at the time, and I just hopped out of bed after four hours of sleep so I could jot this down, but there’s something about people my own age playing heartfelt, soulful rock-n’-roll-done-right, evoking mental images of my parent’s generation doing the same thing years ago, but with the potential of having references to drug use and anal sex involved in the lyrical content?  That.. That is just a piece of me.

And this is where I leave you.

The idea of your parents having butt sex.


You’re welcome.

What?  Did you think that your generation invented everything cool?  Get over yourself.


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