Wednesday, March 19, 2008
South by South Awesome!
South by Southwest is sort of like Mardi Gras for hipsters. First, I am pretty sure I know where the majority of black denim is in the world: Austin Texas. Second, I am pretty sure I also know where the majority of silicone breast implants are: also, Austin Texas. It’s possible that this isn’t true during the rest of the year but during this past week, it was black jeans and fake boobs as far as the eye could see.
I arrived Thursday morning on a plane packed with Blood Brothers hoodies and a girl who assured me during our layover in Huston that I could tell her what bands I was looking forward to seeing and she “wouldn’t make fun of me.” Uh… thanks? I stopped worrying about that in eighth grade.
We met up with friends and our first stop was breakfast tacos at Mi Madre’s of course and then we were off to Sixth Street. My friend Jessica made a 60 page, bound list of all the shows she wanted to see complete with a cover page of pictures from last years SXSW. Yes. That is how she rolls. It was awesome. My first free drink of the festival was a Southern Comfort and coke at the Destroyer show. Although my compadres didn’t love the sound at the venue, I thought it was a solid set and their guitars sounded great. We then skipped around from venue to venue, or free drink to free drink. We caught the last few songs of Why?’s set. I shook my booty as he pounded on a snare drum and wailed thru the microphone.
Friday morning we started with free bloody mary’s at 11:30am and ended the day at an all nite diner at 3am. In between, I caught the first song of She and Him’s set, “This is Not a Test”, at the Current’s outdoor stage. Unfortunately, a combination of the 95 degree weather and all the guys around me shouting “you’re hot” at Zooey Daschenel, made me take off after that. We also caught Portland locals Atlas Sound at Emos and hot swede, Jens Lekman at the Hot Freaks party. Hot Freaks was probably my favorite day party we went to. We won free Saucony tennis shoes and drank a ton of free beer. The music was good and I’m definitely attending next year.
That night we went to the Ecstatic Peace showcase at Mohawks which was a Thurston Moore exstraveganza. He ended the showcase with an absolutely mind blowing set of songs off his new album and a Lou Reed cover. He also prompted us to coin the phrase “crowd-solo” after he let the crowd run their fingers along his guitar mid-song during his second encore.
Saturday was the day that I realized how short Elijah Wood really is. We got the day going once again with free bloody marys at the Bust magazine party where Elijah was dj’ing. We saw the Karen Carpenter-esque (meaning the lead singer, Kristin, was also the drummer) Grand Ole Party there too.
The real meat and potatoes of Saturday was at the night show at St. David’s church. I should preface this by saying, we had no wrist bands or badges for SXSW. People told us before we left that they just weren’t worth it and for the most part, we found this to be true. The only exception was this show. M. Ward followed by Jim James, of My Morning Jacket, in a 240 person capacity church. In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have got in but we got there early and we were second in line. Ultimately, we lucked out and they let only 10 non-badge or wrist band people in. The show was close to spiritual. M.Ward only played a few songs solo before James joined him on stage. For the last song of his set, James raised his head and sang to the vaulted ceiling while the audience sat there stupefied at what they saw. As he walked off stage, the crowd was brought to their feet, yelling and screaming for more. And that’s how I pretty much feel about the whole South by Southwest experience. I’m still screaming for more. My normal life seems to have a void now and I can’t stop asking myself, where are the fake boobs and where are the tight jeans? I’ll definitely be back next year.