News Tour Diary: Black Books

Not everyone enjoys SXSW, you know; Kevin and Meg from Black Books had two very different experiences this year. Of course, one of them wasn’t at the main event itself… but anyway, here we have two diaries - one from each of them - about their time during the festival. Kevin was on the ground in Austin, and Meg had some friends visiting from London. Lucky them.

KEVINSXSW is a challenge when you live in Austin. You’re not on vacation like everyone else and it’s hard to avoid the parties and even harder to keep up.

Some people try to ruin it by partying more than listening to new good music. I just try to do both. Wednesday 3/12 was the day I saw the most cool stuff. Got down there early for GEMS at B.D. Rileys. I actually didn’t get a picture because I was in a total trance the whole time. I stuck around to talk to them, and ended up catching the band after called No from Los Angeles. They were slammin’. Here’s a pic of them:

After that I saw Foxygen’s first show. We were supposed to be playing with them with the Flaming Lips in London until just now finding out that they have canceled their tour. Not too terribly disappointed to be completely honest. Next up after that was Mac Demarco. He is a such a trip. Look him up if you’re looking for some music that will make you feel dizzy…in a good way. Here’s a pic of him:

Finally to wrap up the day I headed over to Cedar Street Courtyard to see one of my absolute idols - Jonathan Bates with his new band Big Black Delta. They were loud and badass.

On Saturday, we did some band stuff. Met up with one of the Label peeps from NY, and had a meeting on a sidewalk, luckily in a not-as busy area. After that we all headed over to see non other than The Flaming Lips. At Auditorium Shores. The show took a little while to warm up, but once it did, they were unstoppable. Here’s a pic of their gigantic disco ball zoomed in and enlarged on a big screen. I have a bit of disco ball envy now.


Day 1 (Wed) - I had old friends visiting from London and the first thing they wanted to do was tour the Texas Capitol. Their favourite part were the door hinges… After walking the halls for a couple of hours, we took a trip to the original Whole Foods for dinner. There were 3 bands playing within hearing distance that did not make for a pleasant dining experience. The people watching, however, was worth it.

Day 2 (Thurs) - After hitting the Texas Chili Parlor, my friends and I drove out to Willie Nelson’s ranch for his annual Heartbreaker’s Banquet. Willie built himself a ghost town complete with a jailhouse where some party-goers were getting tattoos and an old chapel where folks packed in to see Will Johnson and others. We managed to catch The Treasures and Elle king on the big stage but had to leave before Jim James showed up.

Jack White’s Third Man Records Van.

That night we went Two-Stepping at The Broken Spoke. Jesse Dayton’s band plays every Thursday and night and serves as a refuge to locals hiding from the SXSW crowds. The dance floor was full of every kind of person you could imagine… hipsters and housewives, with a large contingent of older gentlemen in full western wear tearing it up with the young girls.

Crazy cowboy trying to freak out the Brits. I forgave him because he said I felt like ‘a butterfly’ on the dance floor.

Day 3 (Fri) - I took my friends to Torchy’s Tacos for a quick bite before they left town and then headed to East Austin for Gracklefest - one of the best free SXSW Parties.

Ume and Magnet School played for a packed house, including Krist Novoselic, who my Nirvana obsessed band-mates pointed out to me.

After using up all our drink tickets, we headed to The Flaming Lips free show by the river. I was the only one in the band who hadn’t seen them before and to hell if I was going to see them for the first time when we open for them in May. It was everything I imagined up until Jim James walked on stage impersonating Justin Timberlake. They ended with such a beautiful and sincere version of Do You Realize? that I may have teared up a little.

Black Books’ self-titled debut album will be released on 13th May. They’ve got the following UK dates coming up:


20 - 21 London, Roundhouse, (w/ The Flaming Lips)

22 London, Barfly

24 - 26 Dot To Dot Festival

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