AUSTIN, Texas -- Detroit rockers shoe. didn't need an invitation to perform at the South By Southwest Music + Media Conference this week -- or at least in its proximity.
Rather than being part of the festival itself, the Ferndale-based quartet accepted an invitation from Tinderbox, a promotion and marketing firm out of Minnesota, to play at a day party, the Red Gorilla Festival, which took place on Thursday (March 18) afternoon. The group -- which is promoting a new album, "Speed of Life" -- picked up a second gig at another day party on Saturday (March 20).
"I can't believe this place," shoe. leader Dustin Gardner said on Thursday. It's his first visit to Austin during SXSW. "All the lines of people and the music and the energy...It's amazing."
Gardner and his bandmates spent two days making the roughly 23-hour drive from Detroit to Austion and holed up in a rented apartment just north of SXSW's main drag. The group planned to spend its off time checking out other bands and soaking up the scene.
And if Gardner has his way, shoe. will be back again, in a different capacity.
"It's taken a lot of hard work to get here," he said. "We'll try to find out that next step to get to the next level and be part of the official festival. I'm a competitor. I feel that fire in me."
shoe. will celebrate the release of "The Speed of Life" on May 7 with a performance at Alvin's on the Wayne State University campus in Detroit.