Blogging SXSW while it's still going is like writing about a hurricane whilst still in its eye. Every moment you take to type is a moment that you should probably be making your next move. I've gotten countless texts from friends and colleagues alike while here in Austin. Usually, they say "I'm at _____, where are you?" And the ugly truth is that maybe I'm at the convention center having a soda, or on a street corner watching people walk by. Sometimes I'm at a show, but jeez, sometimes I'm not. I'm not the type of guy who can submit myself to 14 hours of music and still, you know, enjoy music. So instead of doing a detailed blog about where I ate and what I saw yesterday, here's a summation of my average day at SXSW.
"Look at all these cool people! Man, so cool! So stylish!"
"God, listen to all these great bands! So great!"
"It's so nice to be in warm weather for a change! Guess I won't be needing this hoodie!"
"This band is very loud!"
"It's hot. All the ice in this drink melted before I even took a sip. And this band is too loud."
"My feet hurt. This band is very good. They're also very loud. I should finally get earplugs."
"I'm too full and my feet hurt and it's hot and this band is very loud. God, all these fucking people think they're so fucking cool. Ugh."
"Every band I've seen until just now has been from Portland. Maybe I've lost my sense of adventure. Maybe I don't like music anymore unless I can watch it blossom before my eyes. Maybe I should quit. Look at all these beautiful, hip people. Look how much they care about this band. I don't care about this band. Is this band good and I'm just too old and jaded to recognize it? Do I just look for bands that recapture the spirit of my favorite bands from high school? Am I done growing as a listener? Will all the things I love just slip away from here on out? Don't people deserve a music critic who is adventurous and actually likes things? This all sounds like Against Me! and Bright Eyes to me. This sounds terrible to me. I'm really losing it. That's it, I'm calling WW and telling them I'm the wrong guy for the job. I just don't care anymore."
"Maybe if I drink more, I'll get this band."
"God, this is a beautiful night. These people are all having so much fun, and they're all doing their thing. I love that. And THIS band, THIS band I like. I'd never even heard of this band! How had I never heard of this band! What a fantastic band name! What a fantastic frontman! What a hot keyboard player. They really have it all. I should buy their vinyl. But it would get too hot and melty in Texas. Maybe I should do a little interview with them. I should introduce myself. They might be impressed that a music writer from Portland likes their band. Maybe they'd even give me the record for free. I could make a little video. That would be really great.
Yeah, I'm not going to do that. I should leave."
"This is the life, man. Great music, great friends. I mean, not friends maybe but bands and stuff. No, I consider these people friends. No, wait, I can't consider them friends because then I can't write about them anymore. Anyway, what a night. I love Tecate. Why do I always get Pabst back home when I hate Pabst and love Tecate? This is a great band. I don't care if my ears ring tomorrow because this is a great band and they're worth it."
"My feet hurt, I'm sweaty, this band is too loud and I want to die. I fucking hate Texas and I hate all these fucking good looking people and their stupid fucking band t-shirts and their stupid nose rings and stupid sexy tight tank-tops. And aghh! Stop texting me about that party! I am not going to that party! I've been out at shows since the afternoon, the last thing I want to do is go to a party with some shitty DJ or shittier local band that I don't care about. FUCK YOU, TEXAS! FUCK YOU!"
"Sooooo glad I'm back at the house. Man, I saw a lot of really great bands today. And I caught up with people I don't usually get to see. Tomorrow I'll be less bitter. Tomorrow I'm not eating as many tacos. Tomorrow is going to be awesome and I'm not going to complain. I have the greatest job in the world and I'm at the best music festival ever, in what may well be the second greatest city in America. I love you, Austin. I love you, Texas. I love you, Whataburger. Good night."
Kazaam! lunch box at my host, Ryan's house.
I accidentally saw the Thermals again.
Then I saw Cursive. How do they stay so dramatic all the time? Anyway, it was good. New record ain't bad.
Then I saw the Ice Cream Man! He's never dramatic, but he gave me a fudgey pop! He needs sponsors, so if you like sponsoring things, sponsor him!
Austin will always be weirder than Portland because they have more bats.
Cool-looking Japanese band!
Alex from In Music We Trust (left), Anthony from Expunged Records (pink Blind Pilot shirt) and two unidentified ladies at the Blind Pilot show.
Sandpeople! Ethic on the mic:
And Illmac on the mic (video w/bad sound):
Shaky MF Hands with Jake de Joggers on the drums. Loved it. LOVED it.
Monotonix played at a ballet studio. I've been putting off seeing Monotonix because I wasn't sold on the music and I didn't think I could be swayed by the whole performance art, public participation thing. Fuck that. These guys put on an amazing show where the crowd becomes a part of the band. And it's a shared experience I won't soon forget. There's a tangible sense of danger at a Monotonix show, but there's also a whole lot of love. Kids were smashing into eachother, the band was smashing into kids. It was a thousand degrees in this dance studio with no AC on a real hot night. But man, it was fun. The band has been written about so much that I don't think I'll add my take on what happened last night, save to say these dudes completely redefine what it is to be a band, and what it is to involve the crowd in your shows. I respect that. I had a lot of fun. Here are the pictures:
And a quick video:
That was it for me! At least, that's all I took photos of. Back to the party. See you kids tomorrow.