so yeah, for those of you unaware, my band and i decided to go to south by southwest down in the loveliness that is austin, texas. we stayed for four days (thursday through sunday) and played three shows – to my understanding that’s pretty much nothing. i talked to a dude whose bands’ drummer played 14 shows in 96 hours. that guy takes state.
anyway, i obviously have to write about this and i’m buzzing to do so right now despite the absurd hour. instead of trying to jam four plus days of awesome into one half-conscious blog post, i’m only delving into my first day there. without further ado:
thursday, march 17:
arrived at austin-bergstrom around noon and immediately got a ride to 6th street, where the majority of sxsw events transpire. for a short while, we went into the boston to austin showcase at 512, bro’d down, and then headed over to pitchfork’s offline tents at east side drive-in. i watched a little bit of shabazz palaces and a little bit of hooray for earth, all the while holding out for ford & lopatin with prefuse 73. they had some unfortunate sound/technical difficulties at the beginning of the set, but they brought the house right on down. unfortunately, they only toed the ascent to a real climax because their time was cut short (“cut short” to the point of all of their sound, including mics, being wiped, which was tackier than craft glue).
everything about their time on stage was top-notch – they were fun enough to watch in and of themselves, but their visual display sealed the deal. amazonian color schemes, undulating waves, people creeping down beaches, fractaloid psychedelic displays – the formerly-known-as-gamesmen’s music was reflected perfectly in the somnambulating images, running the gamut as they were from the blissed out to the ramped up. this music is the music i want to live my life to: ambient, pulsating. familiar, strange. eerie, even, at times, but mostly pulse-cranking dance-demanding joyous electrofun. i kept saying i would’ve listened all day, and i’m not sure that’s an exaggeration.
OFF! and dom followed. the former was one of the best live performances i’ve ever seen in terms of energy, delivery, and sincerity, and yet i’m going to opt to prattle on about the latter ’cause they’re from the home state. it was one of the least interesting shows i’ve seen the dom guys put on, but i’m willing to give them some slack because of their situation (i.e., playing 3 shows a day and partying like r-tards all the while…so only some slack). visuals again were spot-on – i have to wonder if the same person/people did them for ford & lo – this time reflective of this band’s wanton mashup of cartoony surferdudeism and reagan-era depressionomics (i.e., vhs eye candy and saturday morning nostalgia). it’s so great that visuals are becoming “the thing” again – for the longest time, i only ever associated the concept with animal collective, porcupine tree, and other psych-prog bands, but now it’s fucking en vogue. may the people rejoice.
covered in dust head to toe by the time we cleared out of the drive-in’s pit. by this time it was nearing dinner so my merry band of thieves and i met up at an ethiopian restaurant to eat, drink, and recharge. we met up with a friend downtown for drinks and a lovely little wander down 6th street – the height of the night was “the library” on 6th, where three of my finest bros and i found a booth and watched the bar’s random ’90s music video fest for a spell. on that night, due to drunken silliness and a keen group-wide love of mimicking stupid voices, the “YEAH” in the pre-chorus of collective soul’s “shine” became the official trip anthem.
popped into a few more places, got discouraged by having to pay to see things we wanted to see, then jumped ship and cleared out for the hotel room where many a sandwich was consumed to the tune of brilliant remixes brought to us by our host (long before meeting him at sxsw, i wrote about him in this very blog – just about eight months ago!). before long, all were unconscious, and visions of relevant sugarplums danced through our sleepy little heads.
TO BE CONTINUED!