photo by Shawn Scallen via NowToronto.com
And just like that, whoosh, it’s gone. Sunday afternoon in Austin is a ghost town, with flyers and mountains of swag mysteriously hoovered away in the dark recess of the late late late evening. Walking around this desolate burg, where now normal tourists again feel brave enough to tread, it’s hard to believe that only hours ago this place was the nexus of a completely depraved blow-out orgy of alcohol, music, loutishness and fantastical public revelry.
Blowjob is precisely the hip-hop act I'm looking for down here.
They're young, but old enough to lace Back to the Future
references. They're urban, but kind of on the fence about
gentrification. They're political, yet awesomely apathetic at the
same time. And most of all, the Boston duo has some amazing names –
Adolf Made-off and BriteBart Simpson.
BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT. Oh sorry, that’s just what’s left of the functionality of my poor eardrums. It’s 4am and my entire equilibrium and state of being has been altered by SKRILLEX -- I guess you could say I’m living a post-Skrill existence at this point.
hit a wall here at SXSW. I'm sunburnt, my feet are fucking killing me,
and I'm basically mainlining 5-hour Energy. If it weren't for the
show-after-show onslaught of choice music, I'd probably be dwelling on
it more. And if it weren't for today's similarly stacked docket keeping
my eyelids propped, you'd probably just be reading a bunch of scrambled
letters thanks to my head thudding on the keyboard.
From the ever-exceptional Montreal music community surrounding the Arbutus label – previously responsible for releasing early music by acclaimed experimental songstress GRIMES and ethereal out-there outfit BRAIDS – come dream-pop quartet TOPS. At yesterday’s Pop Montreal showcase, they put on one of the more memorable sets of SXSW so far.
Claire Boucher aka Grimes brings the house (of worship) down; photo by Nina Mashurova
On Thursday Morning, Sir Bruce Springsteen, the keynote speaker of this sprawling chaotic mess called SXSW, declared, among other things, that a concert ticket is a “handshake” between fan and artist -- which is a great metaphor and a nice-guy message, but doesn’t apply much to this festival where shows tend to not have tickets and artists are not playing for their usual fans.
Blake Judd and Nachtmystium: "What's that fucking noise?"
If you’ve never been to Austin’s South By Southwest Festival, as I had not before yesterday, it might be hard to fully conceive of how fully this city is-- how shall we say? Retro-fitted-- to serve the needs of the SXSW behemoth. Sure, you expect vacant lots, bars and main drags to be blocked off and re-imagined as pits of revelry and unremitting noise.
WARNING: This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post!!!
I was, trying to march crotch-first into a steamy mess of new
hip-hop, when my wasted ass – detached from whatever cranial
department it typically receives commands from – stomped across
Austin for a set by Mobb Deep. I just can't resist Havoc and Prodigy;
no little kid rapper with cool shades and an ironic t-shirt can curb
there's one thing I've learned about SXSW in the 40 hours I've been so
far, it's fuck a plan. You can be the most plotting, calculated, anal
retentive person in the world, but when push comes to shove, that game
plan is going out the window. Walking past an open window and hear an interesting? Chances are you're dashing into that spot like an
ADD-riddled six-year-old off his meds.
First time I came across stylish Brooklyn dudes FORT LEAN, I was pulled in by the Girls-esque jangle of “Beach Holiday,” the lead track off last April’s debut EP. That shit was straight up “Lust For Life,” but it was way cool because Girls are awesome and we could listen to both guitar intros on repeat pretty much forever.
NOTE: Badass Live Show Pics (of these dudes and many, many others) Coming Soon...
whole plan down here was – and still is, for the most part – to
discover new hip-hop. Particularly hip-hop that doesn't suck, and
that will get me away from relying on Spotify and its endless rap
oldies to get me stiff. However – this is SXSW after all, and there
are a few spectacles that I needed to glimpse and get out of the way
before all of that craziness commenced.
After three days spent toiling along the Bible Belt -- from Dallas to Oklahoma and back again; don't ask -- I finally arrived in Austin around dusk last night. And let me tell you, after six hours spent cruising in a car sans air condition, I was prepared to hit the ground running.This being my first time at SXSW, I preceded to stumble out of my car and up and down 6th Street, grinning like an asshole in sheer wonderment of the whole ordeal.
Quilt's SXSW tour crewOur last stop on tour before Austin was Orlando, where QUILT played Orange You Glad Festival, a four-day fest also featuring Cults, Tennis, Grimes, and others. The festival drew a notable amount of artists on tour en route to SXSW, similarly to the Savannah Stopover Festival that Quilt played a few nights earlier.
We finally made it to Austin around 11:45 on Monday night. We headed straight to Club 1808, where QUILT played a set just after midnight.
It's been an inspiring ten days of new faces and spaces all over the East coast. Here are some more snapshots of what it looked and sounded like: