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Friday, March 14, 2008

Thursday, pt. 2: Drunk Canadians and Pool Parties

posted by on March 14 at 13:19 PM

Hey! My first hangover of SXSW, and it’s like 90 degrees out, not my preferred hangover weather. Guess I’ll stay in and blog. Here’s how I got so hungover, in chronological order:

The Fader Fort. The Fader Fort is pretty fucking cool, a big courtyard stage behind a Levi’s store, with cool shit happening all weekend, free booze, and a nice, cool indoor lounge with laptops setup for blogging and whatnot, courtesy of mp3 blog/label RCRD LBL. Outside a couple of older guys with placards were protesting Levi’s for using Chinese labor, but the long lines of kids waiting outside were more worried about getting in to the party (not an easy task).

Saul Williams played with a three-piece backing band, much more of a rock performance than I had expected. Williams had bright blue streaks under his eyes and wore a green jacket with neon feathers sticking out of the breast pocket, kind of an Aboriginal dandy look. At one point between songs, he said, “Race is a social construct. We are each other, and the music is here to authorize that.” Later, he played his cover of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2. Talked to my buddy Josh from Urb who had just been to Kuwait to cover “Operation: Myspace” concert held there for the troops. He had flown from there straight to SXSW. He still seemed a little shaken up. Overheard back in the RCRD LBL lounge: “Someone just tried to sell me coke.” “Huh, too bad you’re broke.”

Fluokids were DJing in a corner outside, attracting a crowd made up mostly of varying degrees of DJs: Pretty Titty, FourColorZack, My!Gay!Husband!, Rezound, myself. Floukids is a great blog for staying up on your French electro and odd American hip hop, and the kids’ set was a good mix of all the stuff they usually post, only, you know, without all the girls. Cadence Weapon tried to get in the back door, and the security guys weren’t having it, but a minute later, someone let him in.

There was a long tribute to Lou Reed, featuring performances from My Morning Jacket, Mark Kozelek, Thurston Moore, and others, culminating with Moby and Reed performing “Walk on the Wild Side.” Weird. Reed: “I love punk rock; I was the first one.” Immediately after Reed and Moby, Fluokids dropped the new Justice single, “DVNO,” which was altogether a pretty jarring transition. Despite twice having been close enough to Pharrell to touch him (he walked by me while I was in the bathroom line; he had huge diamond-stud earings), skipped NERD to get some much needed tacos.

Over at Barcelona, a DJ who I think was DJ Pubez (nice) was playing a mellow, groovy mix—I caught a re-edit of Chicago’s “I’m a Man” into Don Armando’s rework of “I’m an Indian Too.”

Fucked Up played at a bar called Vice. I was expecting them to be more of a brutal hardcore band, but it was more like one brutal hardcore screamer (and total bear) fronting a kind of straightforward punk rock band. It was a six piece that sound like a three piece. But, then, if they were a three-piece, their giant singer wouldn’t be able to charge through the crowd and climb the walls. Throughout the show, the singer kept pounding himself in the forehead with his mic, but at one point, the mic came unplugged, he flashed a goofy smile while fixing it, and it totally cracked the band’s tough facade. Still a totally fun band, and well worth watching. Also, good stage banter: “This is a 21+ show, so I know we’re all adults here. So how come one of you peed all over the seat in the bathroom?”

Caught a couple Throw Me the Statue songs over at Mohawk’s, notably “Take it or Leave It” and the rousing “About to Walk.” They sounded great, playing in a small back room while Bodies of Water played the big outdoor patio.

Headed over to Beauty Bar for the iheartcomix showcase. Saw Franki Chan as well as Gabe and Dylan Roadie. Indoors was HEARTSREVOLUTION, a live soundsystem with drums and electronics, blasting crunched, neon electro rock while a girl with pink Zorro/Fisherspooner eye makeup shouting through a red rhinestone megaphone. They blew a fuse at one point, pausing, lights down, until the power came back on. One of their lyrics was about anarchy, but it was hard to make out.

Outside, Totally Michael was like a foul-mouthed, one man Matt & Kim, only with rapping. He had one song about cheerleaders vs the drill team, for which he divided the crowd in half and encouraged some reenactment of that primal rivalry. His last song bounced to a boy/girl chorus of “You make my dick erect / You make my pussy wet.” It was every bit as romantic as it sounds. (It makes some sense that he takes his inspiration from Soophie Nun Squad, although his act is so far removed from their Little Rock scene that I couldn’t spot the influence until seeing it mentioned in his bio afterwards.)

Shout Out Out Out Out by Kelly O

Next up was Shout Out Out Out Out, a band I’ve been dying to see ever since they killed Club Pop last year. SOOOO’s electro-funk draws not-unfair comparisons to !!! (maybe the repetitive name has something to do with it too), but SOOOO are way more electro than !!!, with two drummers, two keyboardists, and live bass. And their vocoded lyrics are slightly socialist compared to !!!’s “no fucking rules” attitude—one of SOOOO’s songs is about the tension between competition and collectivity; another is about consumerism and credit card debt. Like !!!, they also rock the funny song titles, with gems like “Your Shitty Record Won’t Mix Itself.” Anyways, super stoked for the show.

Shout Out Out Out Out w/ Cadence Weapon by Kelly O

Bummer then that at least one dude from SOOOO, the guy in the red shirt with the fake mustache, was SOOOOOOO fucking wasted that he couldn’t stand up, let alone play keys. He spent the most of the set hitting the keys with his hands, mashing several keys at a time, but at one point, he hit too hard, and fell forward onto his keyboard and towards the crowd. It took a few minutes to get things righted, and in the meantime, the drummers kept their beat, and Cadence Weapon jumped onstage to MC. Cadence Weapon saves the day, and the band recovers, although dude keeps mashing his keys, and they only get in one more song, a middling take on the aforementioned “Your Shitty Record Won’t Mix Itself,” with it’s closing refrain of “You need to simplify.” It was a drunk disaster, but it’s understandable, given their introduction of, “Who’s drunk? (cheers) Who’s been eating nothing but tacos for three days? (more cheers) Damn, it’s like you’re in my head…and stomach…and liver.” Fuck it, I still love these guys.

MGMT (maybe?) by Kelly O

Next stop: the Playboy Party. To see Justice (and for the articles). Not really my scene, but here are some highlights/observations: It’s a big, multi-room warehouse, with a stage in one room, a bar and some acid-paisley projections on the walls in the next. There’s lots of uncomfortable shoving in the (admittedly free) drink line, where I hear my first big Texas accents of the weekend from some big dudes in baseball caps (a friend points out that most of the people here probably knew the names of playmates on the invite but not the names of the bands). There’s some middling, bluesy rock band onstage with two playmates in blue bunny getups dancing along. Every woman in a bunny suit is followed by an attendant burly dude in a decidedly non-bunny suits, the models’ fake smiles backed up by very real scowls. There’s Aziz Ansari. I’m handed about a dozen sets of 3-D glasses with which to view a not-terribly eye-popping video projection. There’s some barbeque. Some people are playing “Say it Ain’t So” on a Guitar Hero rig set up in the back of a car. I hear someone snorting something in the porta-pottie next to me (btw, at some parties, though not at this one, SXSW has gender specific porta-potties—pink for girls, blue for boys). MGMT may or may have played while I was there, it was hard to tell, but we definitely left before Justice came on to go catch a house party across town.

The house party was definitely more my scene. The “house” was actually some kind of complex, with a pool in the center, some kind of treehouse/crows nest, an outdoor DJ booth, housing in two corners, and at least three big yards. Diplo was DJing. A few brave people were jumping in the pool, fully clothed. James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco was there, as was Cadence Weapon, Shout Out Out Out Out, dude from Extreme Animals, and no doubt tons of other people I should’ve recognized. The one problem was that it was kind of a BYOB affair, and we were empty handed and after hours. A guy from Division Day was nice enough to give me my one last beer of the night, and for that I vow to give their album, Beartrap Island a more thorough listen when I get home.

I walked back across town to the hotel at 4 in the morning. Austin was dark and sleeping quiet, trucks rolling down the highway, crickets buzzing, pre-dawn light just threatening to creep up on the horizon. So, yeah, that’s how I got hungover.

RSS icon Comments


I hope at least once on this trip you get to swing from a chandelier, piss gleefully, and shout "CLASS WAR!" It's like music crit, spokanarchy style.

Posted by Benji | March 14, 2008 1:58 PM

So it was a 'complex' party? Ha ha.

Might I suggest Goody's headache powder? Or BC headache powder. I'm telling pick some of this stuff up, but it in a little water, slam, and your hangover is gone.

Posted by trent moorman | March 14, 2008 2:13 PM

Reed: “I love punk rock; I was the first one.”

no, that was Pete Townshend

Posted by Nat Cur Vag | March 15, 2008 12:51 PM

1. It's Pube$, not Pubez.

2. Diplo backed Santogold just fine Friday night at Stubb's. And she's got a great voice, a great smile, and nice moves, but those two faux-fierce dancers of hers did nothing for me.

Posted by rk | March 16, 2008 10:51 PM

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