“Zero tolerance for fraudulence,” shouted the dude from Alabama rap posse G-SIDE on stage at Beauty Bar sometime around 9pm last night, kicking Day 2 of SXSW into some other sort of high gear reserved for those blazed and bloated on free booze and proper BBQ. Wait, why the fuck am I at a hip-hop show? Wasn’t Los Aangeles DJ FRANKI CHAN of IHEARTCOMIX just spinning Ministry and Misfits like seven second ago? More importantly, where’s Fara1?
Anyway, I’m here because I’m pretending to be a DJ or artist, and somehow managed to use the soundbooth’s outlet to plug in my iPhone, which moments ago died faster than LIZ PHAIR'S cred after it was announced she’d be playing a show with the Free Credit Report guys later today. So as I wait for the charge, sitting in a salon chair and acting like I belong, pondering why my masterplan of turning all pay phones into cell phone charging booths hasn’t materialized yet (hear that, Verizon?) let’s recap day 2 down in Austin. Two words: Shit. Show.
Things kicked off with brunch at Moonshine Patio near the convention Center, where New York City publicist ALEXANDRA BAKER held court with her clients, most notably Chris Glover of post-disco electronic buzz project PENGUIN PRISON and Austin’s own seductive indie trio LOVE INKS, two acts certain to do some dirty deeds in the coming year. (My street side interview with Glover should be up shortly, while my bread-breaking with the Inks guys and gal went undocumented).
From there I met up with a shitfucktonof Boston kids, and got the scoop on BODEGA GIRLS’ shit-riffic performance the night before (see above video for exclusive interview!). After a billion screwdrivers, I cut out of downtown around 4, hit up Malverde to reconnect with Penguin Prison. Had a few more cocktails with STEREO TELESCOPE, and waited and waited. A few hours and one shitty indie dance rock band later (one who’d whine about the lack of bodies in the room, despite it being packed for the previous band) Penguin Prison called off their set because some dildo human stole their bass guitar. Who the fuck does that? Kinda a bummout, but even more so for the chill-as-fuck Penguin Prison crew, which performs live as a band, taking Glover’s chilly electronic dance numbers and filling out the sound even more. Suck city.
After a brief dinner with the always affable CARL LAVIN at the Iron Cactus, it was time to step my game up. I need to see some musics.
Fully charged and not feeling my inner hip hop needing to be blown, I ghosted Beauty Bar and hit up Maggie Mae, as Magnum publicist SIOUXZ tipped me off earlier that Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys of ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK were performing live, but as a duo. Eager to relive the magic from the Paradise a few weeks prior, I lodged my way up front to a small gathering; bemused, McCluskey walked on stage, plugged in his bass, and uttered, “I hope you’re all drunk, because this is gonna sound like shit.” He was wrong – opener “Electricity” soared through the room like synths on speed, and third number “If You Leave”… well, shit, it’s still one of the greatest songs ever written. Before they launched into it, McCluskey deadpanned: “We were once a synthpop band. Then we released this song.” A-plus, my friend.
From there it was a mad dash with intrepid Stuff photog Janice Checchio – THE KILLS at Emo’s, then MIAMI HORROR at Beauty Bar. The Kills were whatever, but the Aussie dudes in MH seem poised to follow Cut Copy and the Presets as the next great dance band outta Down Under; in fact, they could fill the gap left by Cut Copy’s latest sad-sack record; shimmering electro-disco synths, awash in neon color magnificent with a personality we’re finding more and more in dance music. I wish I had drugs. The Beauty Bar tent was packed, to the point where the fire marshall threatened to shut down the joint mid-MH set, unless 40 people bounced. As a man of the people, I aided the cause and GTFO.
At this point, I have no idea what time it is, or even who I am, or what I’m doing in Texas. A full day of screwdrivers, tequila and other assorted adult liquids are starting a mosh in my stomach, but as I wander 6th with J-Love I hear a noise coming from the Habana club – a noise very similar to last year. Yes, it’s SURFER BLOOD, playing a mix of new shit from their EP and old hits from last year’s excellent Astro Coast album. “Post grunge surf pop” is how I described it last year, and I’ll stick with that; though the youngsters are getting ridiculously tight as a live band, and the few hundred in the Habana back tent – I think it was some Warner Bros party called Loco Mofo – didn’t seem to mind the night was inching towards 2am. “We should take it easy, or we will both be sor-reee.” Take It Easy, indeed, S-Bloo.
After that, well fuck I just have no idea. I took a picture of someone outside the Driskill Hotel nearly 4am, so I guess I blacked out and people watched. Good times. My body aches.
Now I’m off to interview ELI “PAPERBOY” REED, then hit up FOSTER THE PEOPLE at the Windish party, then BROTHER, ELLIE GOULDING and ODD FUTURE at the Fader Fort. xo