Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SXSW 2012

Alas, another SXSW has come & gone. By Sunday, my poor little city looked like a used up whore. Fortunately, the storm came and washed away all the STDs festering downtown. Every year I say, "This is the last time!" And every year I go back for more, so I give up. If you remember my old SXSW blogs from Myspace, you may recall that I got a little crazy back then. These days, I load up on Vitamin Waters & veggie hot dogs instead of sparkle berries & pills. I'll be honest, it was a rough week that tested my endurance and left me feeling like Danny Glover (I'm getting too old for this shit). On top of my daily duties of work/school, I still managed to make it downtown for a little fun. It was also very strange having a Kenny-less SXSW, but he was having a better time across the pond hanging out with Gary Barlow. I tried to keep my tweets to a minimum because I know how annoying it can get especially for my friends who were not in attendance. I'll share just a couple highlights with you today.

As soon as I heard Bruce Springsteen would be doing the keynote speech, I immediately knew he would be playing a show and I was stoked. I kept anticipating the announcement of The Boss playing Auditorium Shores or some other similar free event. To my dismay, he played only one super exclusive showcase. Even if you had a badge, you still had to enter a lottery just for the chance to see his performance. That's not very working class of Bruce, but I guess the man's gotta promote his new album.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere I get word that the Jesus and Mary Chain are doing SXSW! One of my all time favorite bands who broke up long ago playing here in Austin! Needless to say, my mind was fucking blown. They were also scheduled to play New Orleans, Denton, and Houston in addition to SXSW. I checked various lists and resources to find out when & where their shows would be because surely they would play more than once. I got more and more nervous when I only saw one showcase at The Belmont that was badges/wristbands only. To avoid all this, I ended up going to the show in Houston at The House of Blues. It was just easier for me to go to Houston than wade through a sea of hipsters who were still suckling at their mother's teat when Psychocandy came out. Let me tell you, it was well worth it! I had a great time and JAMC played all the hits. I got to hit up the infamous House of Pies and see my dear friend Robbie who ten years ago, I used to drive around with while listening to I Hate Rock 'N' Roll in his Honda Civic . Special thanks to Chris P for driving!

Wednesday & Thursday I spent most of my time at the IFC house hanging out with my old friend, Joe Escalante who was in town with Legal Zoom answering legal questions for musicians & filmmakers. You may recognize Joe from his other job as bass player for The Vandals. Congratulations to The Vandals on their triumph over The Daily Variety and their bullshit frivolous lawsuit. Now they can get back to making righteous tunes and touring.

Friday I headed over to the Shirts for A Cure event to see some of my favorite dudes, Anti-Flag play. I really admire these guys because they have the courage to put themselves out there and stand up for what they believe. Whether you believe in their politics or not, that is a courageous feat. For years, they have encouraged young people to get involved and make a difference in the movement. You don't see many musicians these days supporting a cause and bringing light to the injustices of the world. "Musicians" today run around with blue hair peddling Pro Active, making sex tapes, or beating women in fancy sports cars. I am so proud to call Anti-Flag my friends. Check out their new album.

I made it to Jackalope just in time to catch Peter Case & Paul Collins. They played a bunch of Plimsouls & Nerves songs. They even played "A Million Miles Away" which made it feel just like the scene in VALLEY GIRL. Man, it was like tripendicular, ya know?

"Who else is there? No other Val dude can touch me. She must really be freaking out."

While I was waiting around for Tommy Stinson to play, these two moderately inebriated guys started chatting me up. One guy mentioned he was a Nascar driver. I know this is Texas, but how is that supposed to be an impressive pick up line? I kept thinking, "Good job on turning left!" I talked to a bunch of other Replacements fans at Jackalope. I gotta say, some of the nicest people I have ever met were from Chicago which is why it remains one of my all time favorite cities in the US. I really didn't expect Stinson to play any Replacements songs, but I was excited to see him live nonetheless. He sounded great and apparently, he has a new album out. Jesse Malin from D Generation played right before Stinson and he did a really cool cover of "Bastards of Young." I mentioned Stinson on twitter and the next morning he replied to me! I had no idea he even had an account, which means he had to have been searching his own name on twitter. This is not nearly as exciting as Chachi Darin's story about how Tommy Stinson came to his birthday party, but you can still Color Me Impressed. I keep a glimmer of hope that one day I will get to see The Replacements live.

Ross played a show Friday night and by then I was already exhausted & tired of SXSW. Saturday was a struggle to get through. Luckily, the delicious vegan bubble tea from Toy Joy helped out a lot. It dawned on me halfway through the event that some people have the most ridiculous tattoos. Don't get me wrong, there was many a ridiculous outfit. I left it to Vice Magazine to capture those gems. So I began taking photos of silly tattoos I came across and you can view them on my Tumblr if you're interested.

SXSW can be a lot of fun and it can also be a who's who of who cares. It's all a matter of how you choose to spend it. You can kick back and enjoy yourself or you can spend the entire time bragging about how you got into the Fader Fort for Kanye. You can meet new people & discover new bands or you can post a dozen photos of yourself & Bam Margera on Facebook. People just seem to work themselves up in a frenzy for a week and then usually spend the following week sick as a dog. Believe me, I have been there before. You don't need to RSVP to every single party ever; only about 10% of the venues actually check the list. They only make you RSVP to get an idea of how many people to expect & no matter what party it is, you should always expect a shit ton of people. And bragging about how you waited 2hrs to get into the Rachel Ray party just to see three minutes of Mumford & Sons is the equivalent of wearing your badge to a non-SXSW event. Don't be an amateur, just relax & have fun. Also, please wear comfortable closed toe shoes. I wanted to vomit after seeing dozens of girls wearing sandals because I'm pretty sure their feet now carry the ebola virus.

Oh & by the way, Fiona Apple is just a shitty version of Liz Phair. I refuse to buy the hype around her or this Lana Del Rey bitch either.

See you guys next year! Don't hold your breath.