Just a quick retrospective on South By Southwest 2010:
Even with a badge, I found it was hard to get into some of the bigger shows if you didn’t get there early enough.
I would say that this year there were a few big name bands, and a zillion unsigned bands/bands on small indie labels. The thing is, is that there are so many bands that you can pretty much just pick and choose whatever interests you regardless of the what the “big shows” are supposed to be. There were a large amount of bands from foreign countries, which I though was cool…many from the UK, Sweden, Germany, Japan etc. Also I ran into plenty of other people in bands i knew who were playing “unofficial” South By southwest shows as well as some very good “street corner bands.”
Many people have complained that it has gotten too big and too corporate, but I felt like the grass roots stuff is still there if you’re looking for it and for me it was a great opportunity to see bands from all over the world I had never heard of that I might never have got a chance to see otherwise. Also usually when I hear that an event has gotten too big, I know that it’s something i’m going to be interested in(too corporate and it just becomes a pop art experience.) I’m not one looking to preserve some cozy “down home” sort of atmosphere in a community.
Moving on, I suppose it’s subjective and everyone has different tastes…but some bands that I thought were cool/interesting were:
Judgement Day (a three piece “string metal” band from Oakland that played a couple free shows just on the street)
Kings Go Forth (from Milwaukee)
The Magic Wands
Casiokids (from Norway)
Ben + Vesper (New Jersey?)
But looking through the schedule, there were tons of bands, and one could find pretty much find any type of music they were looking for. Most of the memorable bands I saw weren’t on my schedule and just ones that I sort of stumbled across while walking around…so in my experience there is still plenty of opportunity for newer music to be discovered there.
It’s rare for me to experience new music, as I never check out new bands and pretty much live in a 1960’s time warp
as far as music and movies…rarely venturing out past the anything from the late 70’s…the exceptions being nostalgic stuff from my childhood and adolescence back when I used to live halfway in the present.
So I got to see Neon Indian last night, which was great. It was crowded though and smokey so I left after a few songs. Man. people in Austin LOVE to smoke cigs. They are all so oblivious about it too. They are just like “hey I’m Texas! Fuck y’all. Eat my smoke!” It’s annoying because inhaling all their carbon monoxide wreaks havoc on my sinuses and makes me all mucousy.
So, as I was walking down 7th street toward the Beauty Bar, who did I run into but my old friend and roommate Abe from Treasure Mammal…who I lived with at Del Rio in Fall 2003. He was in town playing some shows. He asked me if I was playing, but I told him I was just here promoting stuff.
Also something amazing happened on Friday night I was strolling around 6th street in tourist hell…and I saw a dude that looked just like someone I knew back in the day…guitarist Dan Flynn. So texted Mark Schoenecker and told him there was a Flynn doppelganger at South By Southwest…and he was like “That’s Him!”
So I went up to him, and we bro’d out for a bit. Turns out he was here with his band “Kings Go Forth” to play a bunch of shows. They are playing at The Galaxy Room tonight so I have to remember to go. One time when we were kids he went to school with a girl that I liked…so I told Flynn to make up this story about how he and I were at a party together and that “some fresh girl was on my tip” in order to make her jealous or create the illusion that I was likable to the opposite sex. BUT what ended up happening is when he told her that in the cafeteria she was like “Brandon! I fucking hate that kid.” And she tried to get people to kick my ass…but they didn’t because one of the guys’ girlfriends went to MY school and she lived by me so I gave her a ride home everyday. True story.
Finally, last night the most outlandish thing happened: It was late at night, around 2 or , and I was watching drunk broads come out of the bar and eyeballing them…when a sober girl came up to me and said “what’s up”. So I said hi, and then she was like “Are you from Phoenix?” and I was like “yeah.”
She said she’s seen me around a lot, especially at Casey Moore’s! She thanked me for making the trip all the way out here and we high fived…which is as close as I got to a make out session last night as I wasn’t in the mood to bottom feed or settle because that just gives you buyer’s remorse later and makes you want to cry in the shower.
Today is cold as balls! and windy too
So internet access has been super sparse….but I promise an extensive recap of this entire trip when I get back on Monday. I’m going to see metric tonight, neon indian and the crystal antlers…a band that I only remember because they posted an craigslist a couple years ago that their van had been stolen with all their gear in it, and i think they had a Farfisa. Austin seems to get rowdy at night as i have seen a few fights…but it’s mostly out of town bros and such. The locals are friendly and laid back. I’m using one of those public computers so I feel like with each tap of a key a zillion microbes are attaching themselves to my fingers. Must wash hands. These last few entries have been planet gay, but I promise some proper narcissistic ramblings shall be forthcoming.
I don’t know how I managed to wake up at 6 a.m. and catch my plane this morning, as I went to Casey Moore’s last night, got drunk off red wine and stayed until close. Hung out with Jonathan Sakas, Bree, Kelly(not the lifeguard kelly different one) and company…where we discussed the most popular tacky phoenix radio jingles (“lerner and roe is the way to go,” I love my metropolitan mattress,” and the Shane Company diamond one. They were all too young to remember classic late night infomercials like Don Lapre’s “I did it all from my ONE BEDROOM apartment placing TINY CLASSIFIED ADS” or any of that Howie World crap” We shoot down the competition!” I swear you just can’t get that stuff out of your skull once it’s been engrained somewhere in that slab of meat which feeds the beast of civilization. Exchanged texts with a girl which may lead to a possible epic reconciliation and potential boardgames…or possibly just some consolation bored games
I’m currently in Austin for the next 8 days for South By Southwest. For some reason the kiosk I’m using at the hotel blocks you from accessing Facebook…which makes very little sense and kind of sucks ass.
I ate some serious BBQ my first day here at some amazing out of the way place. I have an all-access badge and plan to see a crapload of bands while I’m here. I know Austin is supposed to be different from the rest of Texas…but from what I’ve seen so far it’s not that different.
I become more and more appreciative of Phoenix as a city the more I travel. Texas has to be one of the least pedestrian friendly places. You just can’t walk or bus anywhere here unless you are downtown.
I have a feeling I will have a lot of fun when the show kicks into high gear. Hopefull I will get to see my friend Dawn Batson from Los Angeles who lives here now, but I can’t get onto facebook to send her a message to tell her that I’m here….!