link Blink. It’s 7am and time to wake up for Day 2 of SXSW. The house is woken up and dragged out to Samsung’s lounge to wait in line for wristbands to ColleGrove, the new group consisting of LiL Wayne and 2 Chainz. Opening for them is Public Enemy. The Crazy thing is, I’m in line for these wristbands by 8am, they don’t start distributing until 11am; so a three hour wait and I’m actually not 100% positive I’m actually going to hit this event up tonight. But it’s SXSW and it’s all about maximizing your options! There’s several events to choose from tonight…
After securing our wristbands for the Samsung night event, we hop across the street to the WeDC event and catch some free breakfast and some DC schwag. It’s WeDC’s second year at SXSW and then consistently bringing the heat with great events. It’s quickly become a must stop multiple times throughout SXSW. After the grub, I take a Samsung ride home with my house guests to switch out bags, change clothes, and do some work for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, members of the Domination team are hopping around at various day events from Fastcompany, Spredfast, Drupal DropIn, Early Growth at Moonshine for complimentary food, drinks and panels/presentations on a variety of tech topics. The streets themselves are packed, as the full first Saturday of SXSW is in effect with an extra 50,000 people on downtown Austin streets that are even crowded on a normal Saturday (assuming there is a weekend in Austin when some festival isn’t happening).
As the rest of the Domination Team continues to day drink throughout the city, I finish my work and head back downtown on a Lyft. I first hit the Capital One events at the new Antone’s music venue where a panel is being held on small business financing. I have some interest in the topic as funding decisions will need to be made for my own projects, growing The Down Market being one of them! I make my presence known at the Panel by being one of the few to ask questions and then follow up after the panel with the individuals.
I also chat it up with Capital One staff; partially for legitimate financing information but my secret primary agenda is scoring a VIP pass to their music event that night headlined by Chicago rapper and actor Common. My efforts are in vain, unfortunately; business cards are exchanged with several people, but not VIP wristbands despite my best schmoozing efforts. Not a problem, they have a general admission line open to the public (which will be way over capacity) and I have Samsung wristbands for LiL Wayne / 2 Chainz as a backup (helluva a backup plan, yes?).
I then bounce around a bit through various Happy Hours by myself, from a City Transportation happy hour attended by the mayor from many of the top 50 cities in the US to a few retail and marketing focused events, all with decent panels and free flowing complimentary drinks. I’m feeling buzzed and it’s not even 4pm yet.
I meet back with members of the Domination team at Buffalo Billiards where the city of Arlington VA is hosting a happy hour and catch their last call. Nearly 10 deep, we leave Buffalo Billiards in search of more drinks and somewhere to grab our final meal for the day, ideally for free. Small Business Web’s event at Coyote Ugly and a very large popup tent location called Krush is where most end up. I break away from the team to hit the Take Back Your Internet at Cooper’s Old Time BBQ which has drinks and delicious BBQ, the perfect early dinner meal before heading to the closing night events.
Now it’s decision time. A handful of special shows and parties to choose from, some with A-list performers and some with just good music and open bars. At about 7pm, I decide to meetup with some friends in line for the Common show at Antone’s, the same place I wasn’t able to land a VIP wristband earlier. The line is ridiculously long, maybe 600-700 outside for a venue that holds maybe 200-300. Fortunately, several members of the domination team are already in line (even a handful 1st in line at the front); I jump in line in a less conspicuous spot about 50 people back with some dominators. Near 8pm when doors are about to open, staff from the venue walk through the general admission line and advise people to leave as the venue will be over capacity and that those with SXSW badges may not even all get in from a second, higher priority line.
Upon hearing this, it’s decision time because I have Samsung wristbands for the PublicEnemy/ColleGrove show. As myself and other dominators in line mull over what to do, one of my close friends in line with me jumps on his phone and pulls in a big favor from some industry people he knows. Moments later him, myself and 2 other dominators are scampering out of line and around to the back alleyway door of the venue. Amazingly, the favor comes through and the four of us are strapped with VIP wristbands and let through the backdoor into the near capacity venue! We pop a few special Scooby Snacks to better enjoy the show rather than consume any more alcohol (can’t afford any hangovers!).
The venue is small and when Common finally hits the stage at 11pm, the place explodes with energy! Common plays for an hour, doing all his hits and even some songs where he’s just featured on. 10 or so dominators total manage to hustle their way into the venue somehow. One of the newest members (freshly added earlier that same day from sharing a Lyft ride and conversation with one of the core domination team members) is pulled on stage and serenaded by common with a nearly a 3 minute free-style! It’s also almost Common bday (or will be at midnight), so a cake is brought out on stage by his band and the crowd, led by his amazing supporting singer, sings happy birthday to him. Epic night.
Meanwhile, several members of the domination team are also at the open bar Samsung event. Public Enemy hits the stage and rocks the joint with classic, high energy old school conscious hiphop. Flava Flav and Chuck D don’t miss a beat and probably perform far better in their older, mature age than they did in their younger, less responsible at the height of their career. 2 Chainz and LiL Wayne follow up after Public Enemy, both doing several of their individual hits before hitting the stage together as their new group ColleGrove to perform their latest collaborative music. The show is top shelf, the place is crowded but not packed, and the energy is so high that by the end of the last song, there is little call for encore because everyone is simply tired… the best shows are those that leave you as a fan drained as much as the artist who just performed.
As the various factions of the domination team exit their shows, those still with energy left meetup with another domination team contingent at The Rattle Inn for the Chaotic Moon Party. There’s no big names or performances, but the music is decent and there is an open bar.
Myself and a few others call it a night by 1am and take Samsung SUV rides home. The Samsung rides are proving to be absolutely invaluable for getting home the more inebriated of our members that can hardly walk from all the open bar day/night drinking, not to mention the rides are free while Uber/Lyft are having skyrocketing surge prices at the end of the night.
Day 2 is complete. Time to get a few hours of sleep before waking up early to jump in the Samsung wristband line for their final night show on Sunday….
Note: The Sundown United crew & The Down Market squad teamed up with The Domination Team of SXSW. The “Domination Team” is the name of Micco’s group of insiders hitting SXSW. It’s a core of 50 people (SXSW employees, volunteers, artists, promoters, SXSW veterans, Twitter personalities and more). There’s over 150 domination team members that primary communicate through the GroupMe app. There’s also a special spreadsheet of events/rsvps maintained by Micco with the help of the rest of the Domination Team. Thousands more follow the greater group’s activities in various social media outlets.