Of the major music festivals in the United States, tickets to Austin’s South by Southwest festival are by far the most expensive.  Still, in the “world capital of live music”, Austin brings in more groups than any festival in the country, likely in the world.  As your average citizen, I did not have the money for a SXSW wristband or badge, but during the time of SXSW, many unofficial, free shows take place all around the city.

In three days, I managed to see 26 different artists at countless different venues.  Instead of writing a full feature profiling every performance I saw, I decided to forego some of the tediousness of a 26-band review of my experience and simply give some highlights of the festival.

Minus the Bear:  Starting from the end, Minus the Bear were the very last group I saw, going on just before midnight on Saturday night at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop.  The show had two purposes—a promotion of Dangerbird Records artists and a benefit for the Pablove Foundation, a fundraising organization for children’s cancer research.  Clearly, everyone in the crowd that night had been waiting to see Minus the Bear, and the anticipation was high.  Audience members told Dangerbird Records CEO and founder of the Pablove Foundation Jeff Castelaz to “shut the fuck up” so Minus the Bear could play.  Castelaz made them feel like dicks after he explained how he founded the Pablove Foundation after his child, Pablo, died of cancer at age 6.