Monday, March 28, 2011

SXSW Memories Part 2

Yeah, that looks about like my memory.

So everybody's been piping on and on about SXSW, which just blew through Austin with the gale force of a drunken hurricane in skinny jeans.  The hurricane also has a really obscure and ironic taste in music and was into every band before they got big.  SXSW is always an exciting proposition for locals here; on the plus side, if you can get work off you can to see about 20 to 1000 bands in one day and pay too much for delicious, life-giving beer.  At the end of the day you can go home and sleep in your own bed, which is an appealing prospect, particularly if you ask any of the myriad people who ritualistically flock to downtown ATX for the experienceThe downside is that the streets become congested with people from out of town and they're all hanging around on the streets and just being turds, clogging your favorite venues like the arteries of America's collective heart.  Can't get into that venue where you know the bouncers and bartenders by first name?  Should have bought a wristband, homo!

I managed to get a Friday off this year, which was a refreshing change of pace, considering last year where I was on call and had to sit out all of the best stuff except for the Action P.R./Metalsucks showcase at Mohawk.  I was delirious with excitement at the prospect, especially because all of my dudebros from the Crusty/Cakey Alliance of Superfriends were coming into town to celebrate and drink mass amounts of brewed beverages.  Fun!  Excitement!  Hangovers abound!

I headed to downtown on the train, which, though I didn't imagine I was being overly clever, proved to be a very popular idea, particularly for the surprising number of people who were bringing their fucking BABIES along to SXSW.  So what if you have a papoose with a sleeping infant in it strapped to your stomach?  You're still cool, right?

Nope.  Sorry.

I got downtown and immediately realized that I should have done more research and constructed some kind of itinerary for the day.  Everybody was still asleep or burning off hangovers from the night before, which I had to miss out on because I didn't have enough vacation time to be able to escape the confines of work.  I waited around and got into the Emo's tent for the New England Death Metal and Hardcore Fest showcase at noon.  Turns out, there were several good bands on the bill, but they were padded by a huge amount of faceless metal/deathcore bands, which meant that the place was packed with 15-year-old boners with tank tops and basketball shorts frantically windmilling around.  Since I had nothing better to do and no idea of where I should go, I stuck around until after The Funeral Pyre played their blistering set.  The singer was awesomely belligerent toward the crowd, who seemed to take his verbal abuse as a challenge to their two-stepping skills.  The crowd soldiered on, and as The Funeral Pyre left, I received a text from Andy Wilhelm alerting me that he was at Studio 501 getting ready to see Trap Them.  I fled the scene rapidly, thankful that I had gotten to see a good band so early, but regretful that I didn't do more homework.  I could have skipped so much garbage.

The Funeral Pyre unhappily playing great music at a teeming crowd of boner children with shitty T-shirts.

Like the wind I ran to Studio 501.  I never even try to conceal the throbbing hard-on I have for Trap Them, and it was pointed directly at 12 o'clock as I dodged pedicabs, hipsters and meandering parents desperately clinging to their youth despite the crying, crapping albatross around their necks, which was inexplicably present at the time.  How many people bring their stupid kids downtown for something like this?  It's retarded!  Anyway, I arrived and had a beer with Andy Wilhelm.  I came to find out later that the beer was served to me by Yakuza's Bruce Lamont (who I had never looked at before and for some reason had assumed he was Asian), which was strangely titillating and hilarious.  I tipped him well though.  We soldiered up for my favorite surprise of the day, an experience which I've already written about here.  Trap Them played, which was unsurprisingly great and featured some new cuts from their hot new album, Darker Handcraft, which I've been blowing off writing up for no good reason.

Literally the only picture I have of Trap Them that looks like any kind of person and not a crazy blur with a baseball hat.
I ran into the dudes from The Funeral Pyre and congratulated them on a successful set and lamented with them about the substandard crowd for which they unleashed their breathtaking aural assault.  They were done being belligerent and were quite nice once they were away from the stink of mouthbreathing teenagers.  That exchange was followed in short order by All Pigs Must Die, who played a solid if unremarkable set of their blistering hardcore.  I feel bad saying that, because I was so looking forward to seeing them live, but their live show lacked energy, which is understandable considering most people don't bother to sleep during SXSW.  But I was left wanting more energy, more punishment!  Also, was that Ben Koller on the drums?  He had bangs!  Do something different with your hair Ben Koller.  I'm a huge fan of your playing and bands and stuff, but the haircut is making you look like the gross, homely Olsen sister who works at Arby's.
  All Pigs Must Die, who actually look like humans in real life, and would here too if I were capable of operating a camera.

The first half of my day a complete triumph, we moved on to Lovejoy's to catch the massive grind explosion happening over there.  While we walked over there, I spotted a girl taking a picture of a sleeping hobo who was on the slanted part of the IH-35 underpass.  Van Damned shouted at her and we made fun of her dumb hair and lack of compassion for her fellow human beings while I ate a granola bar.  And before you ask, no, I didn't offer the hobo a granola bar.  Hobos don't like granola, and I don't like hobos.  I'm only human, after all.  DON'T JUDGE ME!

That concludes my recap of the first half of my one day at SXSW.  I was going to actually write something fun, but my iPod died early in the day, thereby disallowing me from hearing anything new and good, other than what lots and lots of people yell at me as I walk up the road to the train station.  Turns out, people have all sorts of colorful things they like to yell out the car window while they pass me on the sidewalk.  Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of my SXSW wrap up.

Because my wrist hurts today.

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