AUSTIN, Texas — — Despite the sadness that lingered over South By Southwest this year, the music festival went on and Coloradans got what they went to Austin for.

For the bands, that means exposure and networking. For talent buyers, that means finding potential acts to bring home. In the enormous tide of musicians, industry people, press and fans who flood Austin for SXSW, it's both difficult to be missed and easy to miss things. The Colorado contingent was on it's "A" game.

Indigenous Robot drove down from Denver and slept in the band's van every night, mostly on the corner of Seventh and Neches Streets at the center of the action. Next year, the members of the psych-y garage rock band said, they'll save up money for a hotel, but that's the only thing they'd change.

"There's really not words for what happened," bassist Vince Graeber said. "It really is too crazy to describe in words."

Aside from playing the planned showcases, Indigenous Robot did some unexpected booking work. When the band arrived in Austin on Monday, drummer Ryan Longenecker wanted to meet the booker of the Sixth Street venue Peckerheads, where the band would be playing on Tuesday night. That's when she asked for some help.

"She said she had Saturday night open from 9 p.m. to 2 in the morning, and I told her we could book the bands, and she helped us with the venue and the PA, and it all came together," Longenecker said.


The band helped pull together a Saturday night show at Rusty's that featured Denver bands A. Tom Collins, Dirty Few, The Epilogues and The Photo Atlas, plus Japanese duo Zarigani$.

It's just one of those things that can happen at SXSW, and it's great for making connections. Over the course of the week, Indigenous Robot did plenty of that. Keys player Elyse Elam said the highlight for her was getting to see and meet bands from all over. That includes acts from Austin, New York, Portland, Japan and Denmark.

"I think that's something that we realized right away when we got there — that pretty much what South by Southwest is, is an opportunity to meet people and network, and say who you are and where you're from and what you're doing and what your passion is," guitarist and singer Kyle South said.

Bryan Lipman, an agent with Boulder-based artist booking and management company Crescendo Artists, goes to SXSW for a similar reason. The difference is he's there to strengthen relationships with people he already works with and usually communicates with only digitally. That includes people in Colorado but also from cities such as New York and Boston.

"It kind of turns us into more real people than who we imagine the people are," he said.

He's also there to represent acts such as Boulder's Grant Farm and Austin's Wood & Wire, the latter of which will be playing in Colorado over Memorial Day weekend. When Lipman isn't doing that, he's just checking out bands, which he noticed seem to be more geographically diverse this year.

"I came back with more of an inspiration and extra motivation," he said.

Meanwhile, Kendall Smith, event director of The Denver Post's Underground Music Showcase, was focused on the Reverb party at the Dirty Dog on Saturday.

"Anyone you saw on the Reverb lineup would be welcome at UMS," Smith said.

That includes locals such as Ark Life and Inner Oceans and a slew of other acts from across the country. The rest of that lineup was filled by Kishi Bashi, Kid Karate, Avi Buffalo, Breton, Stag, In The Valley Below, Wild Party and The Griswolds.

Other than that, it was business as usual. He enjoyed a Kurt Vile and thought the festival was well run, as usual, though the crowds seemed thinner to him. Like anyone else from Colorado, much of the pleasure comes simply in the climate change.

"The only thing that really stood out," he said, "was the weather was really good."

No one can bring the warmth back from Austin, but South By Southwest's effects should be lingering in the Colorado music scene until next time.

Contact Ashley Dean at 303-473-1109, or @AshaleyJill.