Guest Blogging at SXSW: The Spinto Band's Jon Eaton finds magic amid the madness - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Saturday, March 19th, 1:45 p.m.:

I have found a computer. Here in the Four Seasons, I am surrounded by bright-red people who are drinking a variety of beverages and draped in meaningless credentials: wristbands, badges, lanyards, tote bags. They’re resting their sore feet and preparing for the final day of SXSW. The Spinto Band is in the same boat. I am afraid to tear off my wristbands for fear of losing my entitlement. It’s frustrating.

Despite the frustration, last night I experienced a magical moment. (I wish I had written about it then, as it has blurred a bit in hindsight.) I’m not sure if it was the“kind bud yerba matte” from the Guayaki man or the collective energy of the evening, but it dawned on me that this festival is truly great. As a musician who has traveled to all sorts of colleges, bars, and basements to perform, it is inspiring and invigorating to see a whole city overflowing with passionate, loving music fans. The suits and drunkards may be more obvious, but hiding behind every guy in the cool shades is a kid who is just excited to see music and discover bands and dance next to someone. Not every show is like that for us. Usually we will travel and play a week’s worth of concerts and I can count the dancers on one hand. Last night, however, all the Counts in the world wouldn’t be able to tally them.

During the Floating Action set at the Park The Van showcase, it became crystal clear. Floating Action is a brilliant band with so much talent. I watched their set from the back of the venue. At first, people were just listening. Then they were swaying, then they were tapping their feet. Then, by the end of the set, the whole venue was dancing and singing and pumping their fists. There were a few sunburned people sitting at the bar, or toward the side (this was pretty late in the night… maybe 12:30 or so)—but, for the most part, the band had captured the audience, taken hold of them and tickled them for the last half of their set. Not to sound lame, but it brought a tear to my eye. I forgot about the traffic cops, the gifting suites, and the nighttime-sunglasses dudes and raised my feet with the masses. How does music do that? Is there an equation or a recipe? Is it alchemy or magic? Is it comparable to anything else? Whatever it is, it’s valuable. However this festival is viewed by most people, it is foremost a celebration of music—and its incredible value to us all. —Jon Eaton
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