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

Friday, March 27, 2009

SXSW Report Card

This is gonna be a long one...

SXSW is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I'd like to write a really lengthy piece on all the marketing bullshit/mob mentality that comes with the territory, but now isn't the time for that. It's time to turn in my report card.

-Efficient use of modes of transportation. I biked most everywhere, except when I needed to transport something specific. Occasionally I would transport my bike in my car somewhere to allow more flexibility to my plans. The last night I got a ride from a friend to the Mad Decent party, they left without telling me, and I got so drunk I had to be essentially dragged into a taxicab by Mark Donica.
-Jokes. SXSW is absolutely the best time to fuck with people. Everyone is drunk first off, which helps, and out of towners usually can't tell if you're making fun of them or not. Case in point, my "I'M MOVIN' TO LA" T-shirt. I was asked probably 20 times if I was actually moving to L.A., even by fairly close friends. I'm not moving to L.A.. Well, maybe not.
-Abuse of free things. This was one of my strongest areas, not because I milked the sweaty tit of a festival for all the free shit in the world, but because I frankly didn't give much of a shit. I drank for free pretty much all week, but let's be honest, it doesn't make sense to wait in line for 15 minutes for a bottom-shelf whiskey and coke that actually costs a dollar if you aren't a stingy bastard and tip the bartender. If you actually want to see a band playing at a venue with massive quantities of free drinks (Purevolume), expect a thirsty mob with no idea who is playing. This is annoying and made me lose respect for human beings. Food however is a totally different ballpark and I definitely stopped by places in order to eat lunch for free. Case in point, DJing for two hours at Karibu Ethiopian restaurant in order to eat a delicious feast.
-Actually seeing the bands I wanted to. This was the most important thing to me. I didn't mind waiting in line for 30 or 45 minutes in order to see a band or DJ that never comes to town. Also, I didn't mind at all going to shows by myself, even when there was no one there that I knew. Partial list of bands: Mayer Hawthorne, The Very Best / Radioclit, Diplo and Switch as Major Lazer, Diplo as Diplo, A-Trak, Bladerunners, Dirty Projectors, Bun B, Kidz in the Hall, Popo, Aside All-Stars, Fiasco, Rainbow Arabia, Mellow Owl, Golden Triangle, Dark Meat, Flosstradamus, dd/mm/yyyy, The Numerators, Mediums, Devlin/Darko, Gayle Gold, Peel, Belaire, MVSCLS, Foot Patrol, What's Up, and a lot more.
-Playing shows. I missed one X-Rays show, but 5 out of 6 isn't bad for an auxiliary member. Also, I DJed once and sat in on the drums with E.M.H.U.'s Spiked Punch.

-Sleep. I would have liked to get a few more hours, as I work at 7am every morning and it was pretty tough making it through the day Wednesday through Friday. Also, my biological clock is now programmed to function on 4-5 hours of sleep which is really dangerous.
-Lack of DIY initiative. There were a few bands who expressed some serious interest in playing shows that I wasn't able to help out, because I was a little late on the ball. Also, I wasn't able to do any of the booking for the Rancho shows, which I'm disappointed about.
-Babes. I wish I had talked to more girls from out of town instead of just staring at them through my sunglasses.
-Missing out on bands. I didn't get to see The Sonics, XXXchange, Kanye, Codebreaker, The Bar-Kays, Megafaun, Amanda Blank, King Khan, Kid Sister, Peelander-Z, Monotonix, or The Oh Sees.

Overall Grade: B+


Awards and Superlatives:

Unsung Hero of the Week: Frederico Rocketjockey, for holding it down for the entirety of all three Rancho day shows.
Best Biker: 730, for screaming and ranting at the heathens while riding through downtown Friday night.
Hustler of the Week: Ervin Berlin. Nuff said.
Most Hardworking Band: DD/MM/YYYY. I think I saw these guys three times and they were laid back despite playing probably 15 shows.
Best DJs: Devlin/Darko/Pretty Titty at the Fader Fort. I've gotta hand it to these guys. I saw some good fucking DJs, but it takes some balls to play an entire Monks track to thousands of people who are just hanging out to drink free booze and be marketed to. Also, they played a great set of three reggae songs in a row after Diplo did his Major Lazer set, perfect for that post-dancehall pre-summer afternoon heat.
Worst DJs: This one is tough (get ready for some DJ snobbery). The Hood Internet at Hi-Lo sucked terrible for the first half of their time, then had a few redeeming mashups later in the evening. Still, playing four hours of mash-ups is fucking retarded. Jayceeoh, an otherwise competent scratch DJ, had terrible sound, due to the fact that he was clipping on his mixer. I went up and told him and he fixed the problem. He also left the lights on in the venue at 4AM so no one danced. I'm sure I saw some more terrible DJs, but I don't want to think about it right now.

SXSW Tips:

-Wear band shirts. People will talk to you about the music you like.
-Bring a water bottle everywhere, preferably one you got for free earlier in the week that you don't mind forgetting/losing/throwing away.
-Have cash money for tipping bartenders, buying merch, 5AM eyes-closed-drunk cab rides.
-When you're in line for a free drink, get two and give one to someone else.
-Eat as much as you can when you can because you're going to be busy later.
-Ride your bike everywhere possible.
-Don't be afraid to go to shows by yourself. You will be much happier if you don't succumb to the will of the free-drink mob.
-Say goodbye to your friends when you're leaving a venue. This makes it feel like they're actually your friends and not an interchangable group of acquaintances. This is really more of a life-tip than a SXSW tip.
-Make straight-faced jokes to obvious out of towners. They won't be able to tell you're making fun of them.
-Don't hesitate if you see a change to sneak into a venue, just go for it, there are no consequences. That hesitation will cost you your opportunity to skip waiting in line.
-Don't be afraid to wait in line for 30 minutes if you actually give a shit about seeing the band. Waiting doesn't make you a tool, it makes you a sincere music fan. However, waiting in line for more than 30 minutes if you're only in it for free booze does make you a tool.

1 comment:

  1. Don't hesitate if you see a change to sneak into a venue, just go for it, there are no consequences. That hesitation will cost you your opportunity to skip waiting in line.

    This tip is truth. It's how I got in to see Architecture in Helsinki ohhhh, about 2 years ago at the Mohawk instead of waiting in a hellish line. Back door came open and I yanked my girlfriend in and sunk into the crowd asap style. Post-livinginAustin memories..