SXSW 2013: James on Leaving Austin.

As is norm with SXSW, people are crowding the sidewalks and parking is a mess no matter if it’s 11:00 a.m. in the morning or 11:00 p.m. at night. When David and I finally decide on a spot, it’s a 10-minute walk to the venue. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for all of the random gear we have carry with us. The farther we walk, the more my arms and shoulders burn and the more I wish we would’ve searched more diligently for a better parking spot. All those wishes and resentments fade as we turn a corner to find Broncho, one of Oklahoma’s best and beloved bands, walking on the same strip of pavement. Ryan Lindsey walks up and gives me a hug.

“What’s up dude,” he says smiling.

I spent the morning in a bad mood, but I’m really happy to see these guys. I ran into Depth and Current earlier in the week as well, and there’s nothing like running into friends from your home in another city doing the same thing as you.

“Just about to play,” I say. “How was your show last night? Did you hit people with some new songs?”

“I hit a lot of people with some new songs,” Ryan says in his usual sarcastic deadpan tone. Every time he talks, it’s like he’s always in character, and that character is Ryan Lindsey.

Nathan Price, Broncho’s drummer, asks how many shows we’re playing this week and David says one.

“We’ll come check you out if we get finished loading early. We got two shows and then we’re done for the day,” Nathan says.

Exchanging pleasantries, we part ways and go to our separate shows.


We’re the second act of the day on Jivewired’s unofficial SXSW showcase. There’s three Nghiems comprising the band today: David Nghiem, James Nghiem, and Tyler Hopkins Nghiem. On the promoter’s tab, we toast to our week with Fireball whiskey then we play.

Before SXSW, we spent some time rearranging songs so they would sound more suitable as a three-piece, and it pays off. Everything sounds crisp and filled out. After our show, Mike, the man behind Jivewired, is incredibly enthusiastic. We thank him before we hit the festival for third day in a row.


In the evenings we stay thirty minutes outside of Austin surrounded by wilderness and deer. It’s quiet here, a nice foil to the loud, frantic energy of downtown.

At night when I can gather my thoughts, it’s really evident what SXSW is about. Apart from the entertainment, apart from the street food and flash, SXSW is about making new friends and reconnecting with new ones, which is the point of every festival big or small. It’s been fun Austin. I’m heading home.

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