this must be the place....goin strong , yeah baby!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

ACL = the "new" (bad part of) SXSW

last night was weirdddd. First of all I didn't even really realize it was Friday, because I skipped work on Tuesday and I've got a lot of shit I am doing this weekend (football games, granny's birthday, etc) so it just didn't feel like Friday. Secondly, I didn't even realize it was ACL this weekend. I knew it was coming up or whatever, which is to say it was on my radar in the vaguest sense, but it just basically didn't occur to me that this free Cool Kids/Voxtrot/Belaire show sponsored by Rolling Stone and (apparently) Sprint had something to do with that fact. Anyways, I wasn't in party mode and I didn't really feel like drinking, but Shane got me a beer, I got him one back and things sort of took off.

When I am at the Mohawk I really like to go around the place and see the band from a lot of different angles. There is a spot on the side of the stage you can get to, and also the 2 balconies. I went to go up to the top balcony only to discover that it was a VIP area and I wasn't on the list. Hmm...that was interesting and slightly annoying. I went to check out the other balcony. That area was unfortunately roped off to allow Rolling Stone and Sprint to have an area for their recording cameras and the giant lights projecting their logos. The little side nook was also roped off. So no dice at all, a complete strike out.

Last night's show was also my first night seeing a show at Mohawk next to the Berlin Wall. It was...interesting. I think it created some serious bass nodes, and I hope they figure out a way to make it sound good out there again, or else this whole noise ordinance bit might have the completely unlikely effect of once again making Emo's Outside the premier Austin venue of its size for sound quality. I'm still not exactly sure what constitutes "irony" (for such a college boy, too...i know right?) but something tells me you could dig it out of that situation.

So, what happened? Well, I caved to my neurotic tendency to get into a VIP area I didn't really want to be in and had no business in. It was cute when sneaking in meant waiting for 2 hours in a portapotty at Stubbs (in August!) to get into the 2nd of 2 sold out White Stripes shows after having already seen them in the afternoon, but when its "get to the magic patio where none of your friends are" its just this enslaving compulsion. I decided to try and get up the back way, just because I was curious if they even had anyone at the stairs. They did but it just so happened that when I waltzed up he was deep in conversation with a girl telling her why she couldn't go up there. It was a walk-straight-up situation, but i wasn't out of the woods yet. I got to the top, only to discover i was in the SUPER VIP area, not just the regular one. I talked to this guy I sort of recognized who was either from Mohawk or Transmission and would have almost immediately made an ass out of myself for being there except I had watched the debates so after pleasantries we had something to talk about. That went on a while in a civilized manner but eventually I was just sort of stuck there. I was just trying to get to the patio, but the door was closed (to separate the VIPs from the Super VIPs), and rather than ask to leave that way, I just blew it off and went back down the stairs.

One thing about the whole after party mini-SXSW extraveganza is it kills all the regular fun that happens on a weekend in Austin (we will see...Theatre Fire show tonight @ RanchO). The glut of SXSW tends to trickle down to the little guy in a way that you could go see awesome bands at house parties that are actually house parties, which is cool. The "party" everyone was going to last night was a Hot Chip House Party thing off Caesar Chavez (existential DIY it still a "house party" if it costs $7 to get in, and capacity is limited?) No one I know got in, and I didn't even make it over there because as I was getting on my bike and heading down there I ran into Jess who was taking photos at another "house party" on the other side of Club Deville. Some of my friends were there and she got me in. There was free booze and a long line for it. I'm sorry but I don't understand this one particular aspect of party dynamics. People seem to prefer this scenario to a keg as far as what constitutes "a place to be" for the evening, and yet there is usually considerably more waiting in line. Drinks are free in both situations, but only in one is there this bizarre social pressure to drink of "dude, an open bar!" I don't know, i sort of understand it, I just dislike it. There was a major highlight to the party, which was a Gibby Haynes DJ set. I said about 2 words to him, and I know its probably the worst person in the world to choose as a role model of any kind, but just knowing that guy exists, is tall as fuck and also from Texas is inspirational to me on a personal level. There was also a major lowlight. More VIP access only shit (and not like, don't go there...thats my bedroom). Confronted with this now essentially 4 drinks I didn't want in, and surrounded by neon yellow t-shirt wearing Los Angelites, I managed to mistake DJ Mel -- guy who I've never had a conversation with, is busy running the whole operation, and also talking to a girl -- for DJ Mel, fellow Austinite/guy I recognize and person who I should ask to get me a beer because I'm too lazy to wait in line outside like everyone else. I'm sure at this point he's a party pro and knows how to handle a drunk guy, but in hindsight when I realized how fucking rude that is I felt really bad about it and wrote him an apology. Luckily, I was dumb enough not to realize what a braying jackass I had made of myself for another couple hours into the night, so I was still able to have some measure of fun for a while. Ended up meeting some people at the Peacock and then went over to Dann's, listened to a record, and went home. The end. Another "Friday" growing up in the city...

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