Monday, March 20, 2006

South by Oh My God That's Some Funky Shit

Well, it's Monday morning and it's all over except except for waving adios to the out-of-towners. Here, in not-necessarily chronological order, are the rest of the movies and all of the musical highlights/lowlights/whatever I happen to remember...


Apart From That sucked but they gave me a t-shirt. The write-up in the film directory made it sound interesting, set "in a sort of Bizarro-world contemporary heartland sans Wal-Mart." Another line in the review talks about taking the chain stores out of the landscape. This is what piqued my interest so it's too bad the movie had nothing to do with that. It was just about some people trying to deal with others in their lives and doing a bad job of it. A lot of it seemed improv'd, which made a too-long film only more tedious. Much of it was shot out of focus, though seemingly on purpose. Avoid at all costs.

The King was a movie shot here in Austin in 2004 that I worked on. I don't think it's got distribution yet but hopefully it will get some. I loved the dark script when I read it and it came out as a pretty dark film, not exactly how I expected it, but still unsettling. Gael Garcia Bernal gives a great performance as the titlular character. My one complaint is that the last scene is way too short and missing, in my opinion, a very crucial shot.

The Great Ecstacy of Robert Carmichael was a UK film about a teen loner who discovers Ecstacy, though not in a good way. He lives in a quiet seaside town and doesn't have much to do. He hangs out with the local drug dealer/hoodlum and plays the cello. This is a "slow burn" movie where eventually the protagonist loses it. I've seen it done better, though when he does finally explode, it's a pretty fucking disturbing scene. There's no sermonizing or moralizing of what happens here and I didn't have a problem with that like the guy in the audience who called out "What the fuck was that?" over the end credits.

Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly had a much-anticipated sneak preview. It's beautifully animated and I think any animation/PK Dick fan should definitely check it out. I don't know if it will be as big of a cult film as I initially thought, however. The story is a mindfucker and I know it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but then again, it's not supposed to be. Keanu Reeves did a good job and Robert Downey Jr. steals most of his scenes.

And that was it. There were plenty of other flicks on my list, but it was time to move on to the musica...

First up were a couple of acts at the Jackalope on Wednesday afternoon. Single Frame (not Single Prick like Jason and I first heard) were a good local four-piece, kinda heavy pop I guess. I'd see them again. Then, there was Astronautilis, a rapper from Jacksonville, Florida who shook with a pent-up energy. He reminded me of Sage Francis, b/c of his flow on things personal as opposed to things bling.

At Emo's Main Room, I caught a few minutes of the UK's Field Music. They were ok, but nothing I'm going to seek out. Then came Serena Maneesh. I was seeing this name at many of the non-SXSW day parties and initially thought it was an act from India. But no, it's a Norwegian act that lives in a Scandinavian world of art rock and noise descended from punk. No 2nds for me, but help yourself. I had come to Emo's that night for Of Montreal, who I'd seen written up in a few places. I really dug them and their glammed dance-rock. I was reminded of Scissor Sisters, but without the need to be Elton John or a full-time drummer.

I ended the night at Stubb's to hook up with my peeps at Mogwai. I'd heard them before and thought they were decent background music for surfing the interweb. After hearing them live, I still think that though they may have taken some of my hearing b/c that shit was LOUD.

We started Thursday at the Iheartcomix party where Pam had to lie her way in (nice). Cut Chemist worked the decks like the champ he is. I want more of his solo stuff and more J5, too. Then came Jean Grae. She had some great raps and was funny, too. More please. I'd also been hearing about Lady Sovereign, who was doing a DJ set inside, though she's apparently a rapper. Her DJ set mostly consisted of her striking poses for the photographers and handing records to a guy who played them. She did actually play some herself but it didn't seem like she wanted to. I'm interested to hear her album (called Vertically Challenged, which shows the diminutive lass has a sense of humor at least), but it will have to be most spectacular to change my current opinion of her as a poser/product/tool.

Then, it was to Stubb's for a barely-announced Beastie Boys show. Everybody has talked about how awesome it was, but I guess was a little under-whelmed. Ad Rock's mic was turned way down for the first 3 or so songs but it did get fixed. It just seemed like they were going thru the motions to me. MCA was rockin' the gray hair, but he looked kinda nonchalant about the whole thing to me. I guess my memories of last year's show at the Erwin Center are fonder.

Jason led us to Film School at Club de Ville. We only stuck around for a few songs but I liked them. They reminded me of Sigur Ros, but with English lyrics and not as much etherealness. I'm going to check them out more. And finally, I don't think I'll be going to CdV of my own volition anymore. It's probably been a good 6 months since I was last there, but I don't remember ever paying $5 for a well drink there, even though the bartender said they hadn't raised their prices. So, sorry Club de Fault but I'm going to get mine on the Side now.

Back to Emo's for Ireland's Flogging Molly and their raucous punk (complete with mosh pit and almost a fight) mixed with Irish folk tunes. My ears are still recovering. Upon healing, I shall listen to more Flogging Molly.

Later, we took a shuttle over to the Backroom where the majority of the hip-hop acts were performing. I'm not alone in saying that this sucks. The Backroom has sure been around a while and props to them for supporting the music, but it's too far away from the main SX scene. Hip-hop is getting a raw deal by not being given a nightly downtown venue (there were a few acts at Emo's and also La Zona Rosa). We got there in time to discover Blow Fly is apparently the oldest living rapper. And the dirtiest. I never knew until that night that Pussy Don't Need No Drugs. Also, a sequined Mexican wrestler outfit and a couple of inch-long fingernails make for a memorable costume. His backing band looked like some band geeks I used to know trying to keep the dream alive, and a couple of white-trash dancers tried to work it. The goal of our journey was to see Devin the Dude, who'd journeyed up the road from Houston. His entourage of 3 back-up wrappers, 2 dancers, 1 DJ, 5 video camera operators, and 15+ hangers-on filled up the stage while Devin kept the audience happy, and buzzed with a secondhand high. The bouncers had an altercation with somebody that went outside and there was a girl-fight that got quickly broken up; the one who seemed to lose had previously kissed me for letting her get closer to the front. And I very much would have liked to bloody the face of the cross-eyed garden-gnome-looking motherfucker who knocked his way into me, stood on my feet, and swung his hippy hair in everybody's faces. Oh well, at least I don't look like an idiot and my hair doesn't smell like strawberry lip gloss.

Friday afternoon got us at the Jane Magazine party, held at the soon-to-open Beauty Bar (like the Iheartcomix party). Again, they had music acts out back and DJs inside. Only this party was much more crowded than its predecessor. So much so that after you waited in line to get in, you had to wait in line to see the music out back. Lame. We saw Of Montreal and Mates of State, a keyboard/synth & drum duo. Some of our group hated them but I haven't heard enough to completely banish them from my ears yet, though I could see them getting annoying.

Dinner and margaritas at Jaime's. Then a little wandering on 6th St. which being as it was a Friday night and St. Patrick's Day was more crowded than the night before with some ridiculous lines. Along with my friends Rob and Seth, we went to Emo's to hear Minneapolis rapper P.O.S. We got there about 5 or so minutes after he was scheduled to start and settled in to listen. But his DJ's mobile mixing equipment (he wore it like you'd wear an accordion) lost power and that was that. Later, it was pointed out that this may have not been P.O.S. but that would mean they were way behind schedule.

Most everybody else was over at La Zona Rosa for the Arctic Monkeys midnight show. This was THE SHOW by this years IT band. I'd heard them but wasn't grabbed enough to spend my entire night at one venue waiting for one band. After numerous messages saying there was no line and you could walk right in, I decided I'd go hang out with my friends and see if their Arctic Monkey love would rub off on me. I guess I got there 10 minutes too late, b/c I had to wait 15-20 minutes to get in. My peeps were up near the front but I didn't feel like being a sardine so I hung out in the back. 15 minutes late, they came out with the lead singer announcing, "This is everything a gig should fucking not be." Most of a song was performed before coming to a full stop to make a comment about all the cameras in the crowd, after which the last verse was completed. More attitude about the press photographers in the pit ("vampires") and another song with a full stop. After exchanging a couple of text messages with the Mrs., I left. Sorry, but I'm not going to waste my time taking attitude from a 19 year-old kid who chose to perform at an industry-centered festival which he chooses to slam when he didn't have to agree to perform here. It's not like they didn't know what it's like b/c they were here last year.

I ended the night at Snow Patrol who were all over the place last year, everywhere except my stereo. They were ok, but I don't know that I'll spend any money on them. They struck me as a less-redundant Coldplay, with more of an edge. I'll check them out some more, but I'm not a fan yet.

Saturday I was all set to check out DJ Muggs, and surprised to find no line at the Flamingo Cantina 30 minutes before his show. There was no line b/c there was no show. Bummer. So back to Emo's for The Datsuns. Not bad. Everybody then went their separate ways. I wandered around 6th St., trying to find something random at a random venue. All I found were four dudes playing homemade drums (bar stools, trash can lids, a keg in a plastic trash can) wowing the passers-by on a street corner. I downed a strong rum and Coke at Casino and fell into Beerland to await the closing set by the Pink Swords. They gave a strong show as always and Dirty didn't electrocute himself so then we partied at their house until 5am. A great finish.

Photos to come to Flickr later...


At 3/20/2006 06:01:00 PM, Anonymous ennea999 said...

Your writing rocks. Thanks for saving me the time, price of a wristband, and general hell that dealing with sxsw consists of these days. I felt like I got the most out of it by simply reading your blog.

I want to hear the lie that the Missus told to get into that show.

At 3/21/2006 09:06:00 AM, Blogger slight said...


All she said was that she had gotten an email confirming her rsvp and it wasn't her fault they didn't have her name on the list. That she had sent both of our rsvp's and if they had me on the list (which I was) then they should have her.

At 3/21/2006 01:24:00 PM, Blogger zenbetty said...

As far as prices go, just give them an evil eye and say, "Dude. C'mon. Austin prices puh-lease. Give me a break."

Don't ask. Tell. Then if they don't obey, throw a tantrum and walk off shouting, "I put your kid through college, you bastard!! Good luck to you now!"

At 3/21/2006 02:35:00 PM, Blogger slight said...

I'd be happy to if someone could confirm or deny for me that well drinks are/have been $4.50. I don't want to go off half-cocked y'know. It's fully-cocked or stay home for me.

Cue penis reference in next comment in 3... 2... 1...


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