OK, so I'm still in Columbus—at the airport, specifically. I'm lucky enough to be flying down to Austin.

My old buddies Necropolis, on the other hand, were preparing to hop in the van for an overnight voyage when I stopped by yesterday evening. They're not the only ones. Hundreds of bands are playing SXSW, and almost to a one, they're all driving. Some acts plan tours around the event—Necropolis is joining fellow Columbus bands Grafton and El Jesus de Magico in Tulsa tonight—but many bands are simply trekking all the way to Texas for one measly half-hour set.

The trip down there doesn't seem so bad, but after half a week packed with rock music and its accompanying vices, the drive back must seem pretty damn foreboding. Such an excursion has the potential to be one of those magical road trips or a nightmare of sweaty pits, raunchy stench, hot breath and bladders pushed to the limit. For most bands, it will end up a little of both as they take their longest drive to the biggest event they've ever played.