SYDNEY rock band Big White’s second album Street Talk was conceived on the road. So it’s fitting singer/guitarist Cody Munro Moore is travelling in a van along Snake River in the Pacific Northwest – about two hours from the Tree Fort Festival in Boise Idaho – when he sends us this dispatch from SXSX. “It’s cold out with snow on the mountains,” he says.

Despite the entire music world converging on Austin for the music industry’s annual shindig, Cody says he was drawn mostly to sounds from the band’s own backyard.

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SXSW: the open carry capital of big oil and big buck huntin’ Texas. Although when you get to Austin, the City surprises with its niceties of the people, all those beers and kombucha.

Austin is the new standard of American durability, big bars and for a long five days many stages with artists from all over the world. By 6pm on any given moment of these days there’s thousands of snares and singers all hitting and yelling at the same time. The amusement of it all is too good to ignore.

 

You’ve got all outfits, everyone’s different and the same, alt-pop shoe gazing guitar bands to the showboat trap crews holding signs of homage to their chosen members. Big White ended up playing six shows over those five nights. Burgermania at Hotel Vegas and the Modern Sky showcase were really good, making friends and seeing old ones.

 

Most of the fun at SXSW is to be had at the outside unofficial parties. That means you can be playing on a large outdoor stage and an hour later it’ll be on someone’s porch at a house party.

From there you end up crisscrossing downtown ’til all the bars close at 2am, then it’s up to your wishes whether you want to go on or call it for another day. Maybe you might go to a party or find yourself a late eat at place on the edge of town that might say something like “You don’t need teeth to eat my beef.”

 

Again although I saw some great American bands like Navy Gangs, or the gifted Japanese band CHAI, I couldn’t help being drawn back to the local Australian bands that had made it all the way with us.

I found myself at Australia House one afternoon, where Sounds Australia runs a bunch of showcases including the long-running Aussie BBQ. We were going to see something else just to get out of our own backyard but when Jade Imagine and RVG began I really couldn’t have left.

Somehow they were just better than the American bands I saw, and I don’t think I’m even imagining that.

Afterwards SXSW we flew to Portland, ate brunch and played a radio station and a venue called the church. For a Monday night the show went real late. Portland people are out there.

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