Meg and Laura Get Lost in Austin: Ego Tripping at the Gates of the Austin Convention Center

There is something about SxSW that makes Meg and Laura want to hold hands and skip together and slide down a banister of razor blades into a pool of alcohol at the same time. By day three, the two of them were holding their heads in their hands, running on nothing but caffeine and two hours of sleep. After complaining about the nonexistence of cloning machines that would allow them to attend every amazing showcase at once over one, two, then three pots of coffee, they make peace with the fact that they just would have to prioritize.

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Laura and Zebra Katz

That been said, Meg and Laura headed on over to the VH1 Cafe and tried to keep it cool as they weave their way around tables of celebrities to make their way to minimalist rapper, Zebra Katz. Laura suppressed the urge to point out that David Guetta just walked in as they sit down for the interview. The fashion-forward Zebra Katz shared the experiences that got him where he is today. He talked about growing up in New York City and how working as a staff manager at a catering company helped him in his rapping career. The graceful rapper rose out of  the stereotype as he talked about the meaning behind the lyrics of “Ima Read” and the importance of education in society.

After the interview, Laura rushed to the Austin Convention Center and charmed her way to the front of the line for the SxSW interactive interview with Clive Davis. Bill Werde opened the interview with the question, “What do you do as the head of Columbia?” to which Clive Davis subtly responds, “You watch and you listen”. Though this industry executive has made enough contributions to the music industry for his work to speak for itself, he graciously tells all the stories behind the music. Werde tucks in controversy in his questions, asking the music mogul about his bisexuality, the on-going conflict with Kelly Clarkson and his reaction to Whitney Houston’s death. In the words of Werde “when you interview Clive Davis, you’re kind of just along for the ride”. This statement really couldn’t hold more true.

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Laura and the legendary Clive Davis

After the interview, Laura got her copy of “The Soundtrack to My Life” signed and lined up with Meg for the next panel.  The two were ready to check off one major to-do off their bucket lists: seeing Stevie Nicks in person. And as the black dress donned Bella Donna herself took the stage, every empty night the duo spent singing along on the top of their lungs to “Edge of Seventeen” felt suddenly redeemed. Stevie Nicks dished on her experience with Fleetwood Mac and her decision to pursue her solo career along the way. She claimed that she just had so much music inside of her that not expressing it was not an option. “Yeah, Lindsay can go ahead and lock himself in a room, recording songs that no one will ever listen to but I had to put mine out there”. The singer-songwriter certainly doesn’t hold herself back at any point throughout the interview. Just like her music, her voice is raw and uncensored but lovable to say the least. “Some moments in life are sad but they make for a beautiful song”, says Nicks. She injected a sense of humor as she comes clean about the origin of the title “Edge of Seventeen”; she heard her friends say, “age of seventeen” but heard it wrong. “It sounded great so I decided to go with it”, professed the poet. The two left the panel covered in goosebumps, fueled by inspiration.

As the day turns into night, the girls decided to part their ways. Laura headed over to the Warner showcase at The Belmont to watch the incredible lineup of Joy Formidable, alt-J, and The Flaming Lips while Meg decided to head to Republic Live for Adrian Lux, Congorock and Benny Bennassi and then back to La Zona Rosa to catch Zedd, Krewella, and Wolfgang Gartner.

As she waited in line outside the red bricked Republic Live, Meg is filled with awe as she’s taken back to the moment in 10th grade when she first fell in love with EDM upon hearing Benny Bennassi’s track “Come Fly Away”. She then realized that she is about to finally see him perform. She could already hear EDM star Congorock’s blasting his track “Ivory” from the street and when she finally got through the usual gang of bouncers, she was handed a pair of raver shades and a giant glow stick.  The nightclub is polarized by dueling stages where Congorock and Adrian Lux trade off their DJ sets, making the drunk music industry executives and geeks dance.

As amazing as The Joy Formidable sounded, Laura was willing to bet that it would have been a far better experience from inside the venue, rather than waiting in line outside. However, alt-J and The Flaming Lips make the two-hour-long wait more than worthwhile with their stage presence. It is true, alt-J really makes indie rock feel sexy. Between all the neon balloons, glow sticks and the inexplicable monster mascots, the venue is ablaze with energy. Though the Flaming Lips do not play Laura’s favorite, “Chewin the Apple of My Eye”, the set consisted of all the songs from Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. The opener, “Fight Test”, set in itself was a guarantee for the night, nothing bad could possibly happen at this show. Wayne Coyne talked about the story behind “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell”, mentioning how they lost the original demo but decided to write a new song for the title. Their lush performance was enough to get Laura successfully through the night.

At a little past 2 AM, Laura casually witnesses a street fight as she marches past Lavaca and Colorado to catch the bus back to her hotel with Meg. Guess it’s just another night in Austin.