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SXSW Day 1: Pontoons, Porn, and Hip-Hop

I might not always land on my feet, but face first in a pile of fine ass ain’t a bad place to be. 

You can call it dumb luck. While my flight from Palm Beach was supposed to layover in Houston before re-routing to the heart of SXSW, there was too much fog to touch down. So we stopped in Austin, and some dude with one of those sweet moving staircases helped me off. It’s a good thing, too; I had serious gas.

 

SXSW FULL COVERAGE: Video, blogs, twittering, Boston band buzz at ThePhoenix.com/SXSW

 

After settling into my apartment and spewing out a bunch of Twitter feeds, I ran over to the Vivid Video party at Panagea (sorry guys – no video footage; those bitches get paid to be on camera). The place was mostly empty save for some sluts in small dresses and a handful of porn fiends mentally masturbating across the room.

 

While I didn’t interrupt the headline whores – Hanna Hilton and Meggan Mallone – I did accidentally ask two non-starlets if they were Vivid chicks. They weren’t offended…at least not until I inquired about what they planned to do with the various gargantuan dildos scattered about the venue. (By the way – for all my high school friends out there reading this – it’s not the same Megan Malone who graduated Kent School in 1996.)

 

I’m glad that sweating profusely is all the hipster rage, because after the Vivid shindig I got scooped by Austin rapper Dubb Sicks to head off on a party boat beneath the beating sun. Props to Dirk Diggla and his High Corda productions; their 2009 March Mash-Up was the most fun I’ve ever had without rubber gloves on.

 

By the time heads filed onto the boat we were ready to drink; there was a keg on the upper right deck, and there were so many people hovering around the barrel that the boat nearly tipped. Some dude announced that there was free jerk chicken on the other side just to balance things out, but the promise of Jamaican grub (and of getting diarrhea on a boat) was hardly attractive.

 

Where the fuck did all these M.I.A. look-a-likes come from? They weren’t here last year. I’m getting the impression that white girls have been tanning just so they can rock door knocker earrings and get “Paper Planes” with it; I wouldn’t be surprised if some chicks started perpetrating like they’re pregnant with basketballs shoved up their dresses.  

 

The boat ride re-affirmed what I’ve always thought about SXSW: this is March madness for people who like doing more than sitting around and watching college hoops. The music banged loud enough to offend the families floating past our pontoon, and, for a hip-hop party, there was a surprising amount of trim; if we wound up getting stranded a la Gilligan’s Island, I would have been the first in line to play doctor.

 

I must look like someone (other than Dave Attell and the president of Iran), because at least six people on the boat approached me on some “where do I know you from?” Hopefully sometime this week I’ll cross paths with my clone; or, even better, with his Brazilian model girlfriend who likes to give blumpkins.

 

Back on dry land I hit Fuse (the only club in Austin where customers get frisked) for a Texas hip-hop showcase; I’m not so wild about the so-called “Dirty South” shit, but when in Rome… I’ll say this about Fuse: it’s the sort of place that you hear advertised on “urban” stations – by that white guy with the Shadow Stevens voice – where most of the performers, fans, and bouncers have likely committed some sort of assault and battery in the recent past.

 

I tried my best to take in local hip-hop, but, after standing around for twenty minutes watching eight buffoons who couldn’t figure out Serato, I headed to a small kegger at a gallery and then to the Back Alley Social Club for the deservingly anticipated Agency Group showcase.

 

The Grouch was knocking out “Arsty” when I walked in; oh boy does that track apply to this whole damn week: “You’re not artsier than me, because you got sideburns and a vintage tee.” Watch out for the new disc from him and Eligh – the pair smashed it last night.  

 

Charles Hamilton followed, but I’m afraid his bite didn’t match his buzz. He was alright, but in a spot right before the headliner, he was clearly out of his league. Hype can get you on the bill, but it can’t get cats riled from the stage to the back bar.

 

Brother Ali – who was chilling in the audience like the legitimately cool dude that he is – chased with yet another historic SXSW rhyme parade. From “Truth Is” to the famously self-deprecating “Forest Whitaker” to joints off his new disc, the “have-not mascot” once again proved that he’s the top MC in hip-hop, or at least down here in Austin.

 

After the show, I hung with my rap journalism idol – Davey D – outside the club. He put me and Kosha Dillz on the spot about who we’re feeling in hip-hop, and I no doubt said some stupid drunken shit for his camera. It’s all good though; if you’re going to embarrass yourself in front of somebody, it might as well be your hero.

 

In other news, Brodeur and I waited on line for our Fader Fort credentials for nearly an hour yesterday. It sucked, but we figured that the queue will be much nastier today. Plus – I kind of like the whole “get the secret wrist band” game; it reminds me of that Beverly Hills 90210 episode where they had to fetch an egg to find out where the rave was.

 

I could care less if Kanye West winds up showing at the Fader Fort – especially since it seems to be the only thing these so-called alt music buffs out here are yapping about – but I definitely wouldn’t mind some rave-like parties. Last year I accidentally inhaled a rail of crystal meth; and let me tell you – Austin is a whole lot sexier at mach speeds.

 

The other person I could care less about is Tricky; shithead recently ended an interview with a friend of mine because he didn’t like the questions. I have mad respect for any marginally talented artist who triggers hipster hysteria every time they decide to crawl out of their hole and drop an album every decade, but I would have punched him. Bet your ass that’s one over-hyped show I will not be waiting in line for.

 

What I will be checking – no matter how long I have to wait – is K’Naan, who rocks the Afrobeat showcase with Big Boi and a bunch of other cats tonight. I’m pretty psyched that the Somalian MC is getting blown by critics galore; not just for his sake, but because I’m one of the first writers who ran around like Paul Revere telling everybody that they had to check him.

 

Finally; I hate to be the dude who blogs about Twittering, but I have one rumination: at the beginning of this voyage – and on past trips – I worried that there would be no meat left for my dispatches if I used it all on text updates. Screw that though; if everything I had to say could be squeezed into 140 characters or less, then I’d have no business being here (unless, of course, I wrote for Rolling Stone).

 

Oh – and for all you bill collectors out there who keep blowing up my cell phone – leave me the fuck alone. I’m trying to party, and even if I weren’t – I still wouldn’t give you the cheese between my toes.

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