Thanks for the response! Considering I wont be a badge/wristband holder, would suggest I really don't count on getting into a showcase at these venues at all? Or is it just difficult to get in during the evening? Any help on this would be great.
Edit: and how do you "check out" what's not too packed? Just walking by it or do you consult a website that gives you good info?
The showcases for labels are SOMETIMES hard to get into. You just really have to give it a shot. I got into the Equalvision showcase last year by walking up and showing my ID real quick. The ones that are at like Red 7 or Emo's with every popular band playing all at one show is SO hard to get into to. The best thing to really do, is search bands facbook and see when they're playing. If they're playing a very large place, it could be easy. If it's really small, get there early and hope it works out.
As far as checking stuff out, I walk into a lot of bars and see how the place is. If it's not that cool, I just keep going. That's the fun of it. You might catch some really good live music you've never heard before.
Edit: There WILL be lots of free shows in the areas on the other side of the downtown/I-35 gated in with massive acts all day as well. Two years ago, I saw Fucked Up, Andrew WK, and Gwar all in a row for free with free beer. It ruled so hard. These will be called the "Mess With Texas" North and South Stages.