ay 2 of SXSW was a late start, due to the late finish (a few too many open bars) the night before. Getting decent sleep is the secret to enduring all 10 days of SXSW, so I indulged, sacrificing some good events and sessions.
However, the greater Domination Team were up bright and early, hitting either the Schwab Reboot Lounge, WeDC house, and Fast Company (magazine) grill for food to absorb the hangovers. A few of the domination team hit The HBO promotional event “The Escape Room”, where they tried to escape a room by solving puzzles, with the extra level of difficulty of being hungover and still a bit tipsy.
The W hotel hosted a great event sponsored by MDC and iHeartMedia, where many of the domination team spent there afternoon drinking, partying, grooving, and listening to the sounds of DJ Hella Yella, also of the domination team.
I hit a session at Half Step bar hosted by Choose San Antonio with Chris Bostick for “The Rebirth of the Cocktail”. Great session about how the drinking culture has evolved from fruity drinks everywhere in the 90s to the more complex drinks of the later 2000s and 2010s. Also great because it started off with him handing out complimentary Paloma cocktails!
Some key takeaways/quotables:
• Bartenders are taking their craft learned in big cities and returning home to smaller markets where there’s less competition and cheaper cost of business/living.
• When starting conversation with someone you just met, ask them what they like in life and then just listen. It works.
• Ice is 1/3 of your cocktail. If your ice is shitty, then 1/3 of any drink you make will be shitty. Chris curates ice, measuring PH levels, freshness and cutting blocks of ice from their own icehouse on the property, the only dedicated in-house icehouse in a bar.
• Starting a business is like belly flopping into life.
• The first sign at Chris’s first bar, Half-Step, was a neon “You Earned It” sign. Spoke to the curious and adventurous people, which was their demographic
• Everybody is invited once to the bar. It’s up to you whether you want to come back.
• We are going to do our best, but our best isn’t for everybody.
• Intent. What is your vision. What is your goal.
• It takes courage or a matured, skilled hand to know when to leave something out of a drink and not always to try to add things in.
After the craft cocktail session, I meandered about, doing scouting work for the domination team taking pictures of line and providing information on line numbers. I ended up at an event hosted by Techspace about Technology and Food. With a specifically focused food event, I presumed the food would be amazing… and it absolute was! Taco bar was outstanding and plentiful, while tapas were served by various companies promoting their apps, tech, and/or food. Once of the most notable food/tech companies, Pull-Up I think, where people can advertise home cooked meals for pickup and delivery.
While I was at Techspace, a popup show with rapper Gucci Mane was announced at Pandora for 9pm. I couldn’t make it, but some of the Domination Team did. It was grimy, it was ratchet, but it was also turned the hell up! SXSW is the master of popup shows that you have to be completed social media tuned in if you’re going to make it!
After Tech Space, I waited in line at Esther’s Follies for “The Night Train” with Wyatt Cenac, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get in. Kudos to domination team staff working SXSW for giving me heads up I wouldn’t make it so I could hit up my plan B… and plan B should have been plan A because Aloe Blacc gave an AMAZING show.
The iconic Antone’s nightclub had a lineup of shows, sponsored by Capital One Bank, which consisted of Duran Jones, Whitney, and Aloe Blacc headlining. The opening acts were pretty damn good, definitely help setting the tone for Aloe Blacc.
That said, Aloe needing now atmosphere setting or introduction. I only knew one of his songs well, but I was blown away by his overall performance. Incredible crowd engagement, acrobatic vocals, a furiously great band who he showed much love to by giving them their own solos and jam sessions. His soulful, bluesy cover of Billie was phenomenal. I walked in a passive listener of his music and walked out an avid FAN of his music!
After Aloe Blacc’s show, I headed with the Domination Team to The Market, where Amazon Video was hosting an event. Nothing particularly special was happening here at 1 am when we finally arrived (we had to stop and take pictures of the team which numbered 15+ by this point, all mobbing together to Amazon Video).
A few drunk dances in, and I knew I had to call it a night in order to right this article and hit a 9:30 am session with “The Failing NY Times covering the POTUS” (which was fantastic, more to come on that on Day 3 recap!). Some of the domination team remained out into the late hours, having random encounters and stories with SXSW festival’ers in what we like to call the 2am theater. An epic Day 2, from late start to finish!