Category: Anika Jade’s Blog

ANIKA JADE BLOGS-SXSW-DAY 1 2014

“If Austin, Texas were a woman she would be beautiful and lonely”

 

Anika Jade's Blog

Anika Jade

At 1:00 am on Thursday morning, during the third official night of South by Southwest, Austin, Texas was struck with chaos and confusion as a drunk driver hurled himself into a dense crowd of attendees, killing three people and leaving dozens more severely injured. Following the accident, all of Austin erupted into a state of confusion and panic. The city was drunk and heavy with the weight of what had happened. Misinformation spread like disease.

“Twenty people are dead outside.”

“Where the fuck are our friends?”

“Our friends are dead outside.”

“I think I just watched a woman die.”

“People are dead outside.”sxsw-memorial
My roommate McKenzie and I arrived twelve hours after the city broke open. It was a weird time to be looking for a good time. The streets were charged with tragedy. The infamous Mohawk Bar had been reduced to a crime scene and last night’s disaster was alive in the air. The accident had taken a strange and sobering toll on the city. People sipped their drinks more modestly. Police presence was heavy. The show went on, but tentatively. Austin was processing the first deaths in the history of the thirty-five yearlong events. I wandered through the city like a stranger. Our friends and acquaintances retold the tumultuous evening to us as if it were their fault. Each person we spoke to claimed some degree of involvement in what had happened, whether they were outside of The Mohawk or they saw it from the cheap seats – everyone spoke as if they were intimately involved. McKenzie and I were foreigners, further removed from the melodrama of death and drunkenness than any of our friends. We were the lucky ones.

Anika_Tim_Iliana

Anika_Tim_Iliana

Our day began at The Gypsy Lounge, an indoor/outdoor venue boasting decent bands and free Sailor Jerry for those D-list enough to have earned a wristband. Naturally, our friends from Brooklyn were parked at the bar. My friend, Tim was there with cool girl, Cassie Ramone and a few other familiar faces. As enticing as the idea was of drinking rum in the sun all day, we were here to see the music, and the music was elsewhere. McKenzie and I hooked arms and headed off to Cheer Up Charlie’s to see Small Black.

We hurried under the overpass, stopping briefly to take a photo with a massive, Mexican family who mistook us for being important (we have cool clothes). We arrived late and flustered with no music to be found. My roommate was beginning to panic. She’d promised the band that we would be here.

 

McKenzie The Alchemist

McKenzie The Alchemist

Fortunately, McKenzie is an alchemist with an Iphone. Within two minutes her phone was singing with a call from the guitar player. We met Small Black at their van.

            The show had been cancelled. The accident outside of The Mohawk had resulted in a closed venue and a scheduling nightmare. The band was bummed. Juan and Jeff took off in the van to mourn privately, but Josh and Ryan wanted to hang with us. At South by Southwest, status is measured in wristbands and these boys were up to their elbows. As we wandered through the crowded streets two fangirls flocked to us. I heard one say, “Those are the guys from Small Black. Who the fuck are those girls they’re with them?!” The boys wanted to have a drink at Fader Fort, but the spot was exclusive and McKenzie and I lacked the proper credentials. Instead we opted for an outdoor venue where a hardcore band called Fucked Up was playing. The music was loud and left us with a feeling of deep anxiety.

Somewhere on a patch of grass we spotted Rezzie, a Pitchfork photographer who had threatened to take our photo at least ten times. Now that we were with our B-list boys, he wanted a shot. He snapped some pictures of McKenzie, Josh, Ryan, and me. McKenzie, whose verbal filter rarely kicks in before 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon blurted out, “FINALLY!” That was the first of many photos that Rezzie would capture of us making a bad name for Brooklyn. Small Black’s guitar player, Juan, resurfaced and I bought him a beer. He seemed grateful not to be charging yet another drink to the company card. And then we saw Marnie. (Quick backround information for the less keen readers: Marnie is a Brooklyn social light who can’t see or put her tongue in her mouth, but somehow has more followers on Instagram than me. Marnie frequents every important show, party, bar, whatever- but she always manages to end up on all fours. All of this would be more embarrassing were it not for the fact that Marnie is a twelve year old dog.)

McKenzie & Marnie

McKenzie & Marnie

Neither McKenzie nor I had ever seen Marnie walk before, so you can imagine that this was a big moment. Marie’s owner, Cindy, even gave me a Marnie the dog sticker shortly before we were asked to leave. The cops were busy clearing out the venue, but we still had pictures to take and drinks to finish. The third time the same officer asked me to leave I apologized profusely.

            “South-by must suck for you!” I told the cop.

            “Some days are better than others,” he had kind of an Eeyore thing going on.

            “I’m so sorry!”, I said.

 

Police_badge

Police_badge

Anyway, I gave the cop a hug and the cop gave me a police pal sticker and my friends decided to be cooperative and leave. Last night’s calamity was feeling further away from us with every passing second. This was further solidified when we learned that The Mohawk was ready to reopen its doors for the evening. The only question was how McKenzie and I would get in. She frowned into her Iphone, as if waiting for an answer to appear, until Juan lit up like a lightbulb. “Don’t worry about it,” he said.

The band went in through the front but Juan hung back to get us in. He took us to a side entrance where his friend was working. She tentatively stamped us and led us through a labyrinth that eventually opened up into The Mohawk. The VIP section is almost always cooler from the outside. We sipped free drinks and briefly considered the possibility of heading to a party on Willie Nelson’s ranch, but our magic was already beginning to dwindle. I decide that a power nap was what I needed to recharge my energy and my Iphone. I took off with my friend Tim and passed out on the couch of his hotel room, only to be woken up by the smell of urine and all too eager Marnie the dog. Maybe my evening was over after all. I left the hotel feeling disoriented and incomplete. I had traded McKenzie for Marnie, and I was fading without my other half. I managed to hail a taxi and I headed back to Embassy to crawl into bed with my best friend. 

Anika Jade leaving SXSW

Anika Jade leaving SXSW

 

ANIKA JADE blogs-285 SPENT

 

Anika Jade's Blog

Anika Jade

285 Spent by Anika Jade

285 Kent, the patron saint of DIY venues (in Brooklyn, N.Y.), is a cesspool of possibility. It is an unregulated and unpretentious warehouse space on the Williamsburg waterfront that has played host to hundreds of prominent indie artists including Grimes and OddFuture. The beloved 285 is a world of it’s own that adheres to it’s own rules. And tonight they are closing their doors, hence the play on words, 285 Hence is now 285 Spent (in case you didn’t get it).

The sold out final show boasts two powerhouse headliners: Fucked Up and Diiv. Although the tickets have been sold out for weeks, the website seems to subtly suggest that there will be a handful more available at the door. My roommate, McKenzie and I decide to take our chances.

285 Kent poster

285 Kent poster

The crowd of kids outside the venue seems to indicate that we’re not the only ones who failed to acquire tickets. The sign on the door reads: SOLD OUT. Don’t even bother. NO MEANS NO.  We join the ambivalent but anxious crowd at the back of the line. One security guard, near laughter, tells me that absolutely no one without a ticket will be admitted. McKenzie is an alchemist with an iPhone. She pulls out her phone and within twenty minutes two golden tickets have fallen into our laps. Even security is impressed.

True to form, 285 is all grime and glitter. Indie girls in bondage gear and gogo shoes sell shots of gin out of plastic handles and the bands sling their own ‘merch.’ Water drips from the ceiling. The atmosphere is grungy and claustrophobic. This venue definitely wasn’t built to house a crowd of more than 400, but what the fire marshal doesn’t know won’t hurt him. An industrial band called Guardian Alien burps out a 37-minute song that sounds something like bad music from Mars.

285Kent_crowd

285 Kent’s Last Night

Late, unpolished and unapologetic hometown heroes Diiv finally take the stage. Lead singer, Zachary Cole Smith is a young Kurt Cobain- beautiful, brooding, and unrelentingly talented. He oozes sex and self-destruction. Their sound is best described as shoegazing dream-pop. Don’t be fooled by the genre. These boys know how to play their instruments. Diiv is both hyper-current and reminiscent of a different era. It is intimately familiar and wildly original.

Diiv at 285 Kent

Diiv at 285 Kent

By the time the headliners take the stage, the crowd is rowdy and ready. Fucked Up is a fitting name for this Canadian hardcore punk group. Most of the tracks they play are off of their acclaimed new album David Comes to Life, but they also found the time to play a few of the classics. In spite of the fact that the band blasts blaring boyish punk music, they are more listenable and accessible than I had expected. The last song ever played at 285 Kent is a playfully satanic cover of The Ramones’ “Blizterieg Bop”.

The music is over but the party is not. The bands join the crowd and form a single collective ‘shitshow.’ Cigarettes are smoked inside. Fireworks are thrown on the ground. The party rages on until well passed 9 AM the next morning. The walls are wet. 285 is dead but punk rock is alive and well.

ANIKA JADE blogs-285 SPENT

fuckedup poster

fuckedup poster