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Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Breakfast Taco

posted by on March 6 at 11:45 AM


Today’s ingredients—not sure, but they’ve all been rushed into the taco at the last minute.

SXSW starts in six days, and I’m assuming that Grandy and I will be posting about it like mad next week (though my posting ability will be hampered—I lent Jonathan Golob my busted laptop to see if he could fix it, and it died while in his care, so I will have to improvise). Don’t know how well Grandy’s been preparing, but if he’s been anything like me, he ain’t done much. Poor guy.

For the few who read Line Out and are attending SXSW for the first time—what would that be, six people, tops?—it’s similar to CMJ’s New Music Fest in NYC. For the four nights of official showcases, every bar and music venue in a central chunk of Austin, TX, hosts about 5-6 bands a night. Most of these venues are within walking distance, though this means that non-music bars get converted to host lesser-known acts with awful sound and worse sightlines. Either way, you gotta pay up (wristbands are over $140, badges are waaaay more, or you can pay about $10-25 per door) for the night shows. Meanwhile, the daytime hours are filled with music panels—conferences about the industry that, quite frankly, I’ve never bothered attending. That’s because a billion unofficial, free shows flood Austin during the day hours—the hell do I wanna hear about the impact of iTunes on quarterly sales when Clipse is playing a surprise, RSVP-only show on a Thursday afternoon? These shows are more crowded, and if you have a pet band you wanna see, you might have to show up at noon and stand in a sweaty, ironic, moustache-filled crowd to see ‘em play at 5, but, hey, some of ‘em serve free beer.

Anyway, right now is “crap, crap, holy damned crap” time, as I’m running out of minutes to dig through a never-ending list of bands—and that’s just to prep an iPod mix for the Tuesday plane ride so that I can further narrow it down. And even then, what if I land, only to find out that Matthew Mcconaughey has announced a surprise bongo-off that conflicts with Friday’s Jens Lekman show? Or Autolux cancels its Wednesday night showcase because of food poisoning from Rudy’s BBQ? Of course, there’s nothing stupider than complaining about SXSW and schedule conflicts. “Oh, you’ll only get to see 55 awesome bands instead of 56 while I read about it on Line Out at work. Twerp.”

Doesn’t mean I won’t spaz about it—this is my Spring Break, after all, my version of Daytona Beach. Tan, athletic dudes have beaches and Bud Light. My pale ass has bands and bands and bands, and freaking out is my way of reveling in it. Thankfully, technology has finally caught up to years of overwhelming SXSW schedules. Head to if you want to plan your daytime frenzies, or even if you’re not going and simply like to read the names of hundreds of bands you’ve never heard of. I’ll try to get on either tomorrow or Monday to post my own SXSW picks, but in the meantime, Texas blog Gorilla Vs. Bear and Ohio blog Done Waiting have been good sources of surprise and sleeper picks as of late. I generally don’t trust blogs to pick good SXSW shows—a good four-tracked MP3 generally translates to a boring-ass showcase—but I visit these two every year, as they’ve been through the SXSW wringer enough to balance hype with reasonable expectations.

RSS icon Comments


I'll be there too! Me too, me too!

Call me crazy, but I can't wait to see Napalm Death, Motorhead, and Jay Reatard all in one day. Thanks VICE. Thanks in advance for the crippling headbangers' neck...

Posted by KELLY O | March 6, 2008 12:05 PM

This will be my first time. Five more to go.

Posted by Potatoes O'Brien | March 6, 2008 12:52 PM

Make that four to go.

Too many choices, I've already got way more bands on my list than I'll ever have time to see, and that's assuming I don't sleep at all.

Re the 'industry conferences', how could anyone waste their time with that stuff when great bands are out there playing? I hadn't planned on attending any of them, probably won't even go to Lou Reed's keynote.

So, okay, which are the best of the best Austin clubs, in terms of actually seeing and hearing the bands? It might help me decide which of 7 or 8 shows I'll being trying to see at any given time.

Posted by rk | March 6, 2008 7:52 PM

Napalm Death and Motörhead in the same day? Too good to be true!

Someone see Autolux and tell me if they play any new stuff and then tell me how awesome it sounds.

Posted by bunnypuncher | March 6, 2008 9:51 PM

I really hope someone notices my band!

Posted by one of a million | March 7, 2008 8:21 AM

thanks for the heads up. i'll be down there too.

Posted by donte | March 8, 2008 10:01 PM

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