Music: Kyle's day one (SWEATY JEWS!)
Because we're drowning you in SXSW coverage, I present my notes in easy-digest list form, so you can read them quickly before your boss catches you screwing off at work. Stick it to the man, comrades!
10:07 p.m. – After a colossal clusterfuck of a trip getting down here, Josh and I amble over to Beauty Bar for the Asthmatic Kitty/K Records/YouTube showcase. I have my first Shiner of the fest, and notice how most of the dudes in the audience are wearing plaid button-down shirts with pearl snaps. My shirt has pearl snaps, but isn't plaid, so I WIN. As Fol Chen begins their set, it's difficult at first to tell if they're line-checking their instruments or actually playing a song.
10:17 p.m. – A woman standing in front of me turns to her friend, makes the "so-so" sign with her hand, then they leave. Fol Chen's synthy, sloppy indie rock isn't without its charms, but I feel the same way—especially when they whip out a cover of Mariah Carey's "Emotion."
10:35 p.m. – Outside, Desolation Wilderness is more my speed: a rock quartet that reminds me of '90s greats Shiner, a seemingly odd fit for K Records. In keeping with the evening's theme, singer-guitarist Nicolaas Zwart wears a red plaid shirt (no pearl snaps)—but he's from Washington, so it's legit.
11:15 p.m. – We make the move down to Sixth Street to check out Scottish band Dananananaykroyd at the Dirty Dog, but catch the tail end Fool's Gold. At least nine dudes are on stage, half of them in sunglasses, one wearing a tie-dye shirt. They sound like a ballsier, worldlier Vampire Weekend. I'm not a fan of Vampire Weekend—which is probably a lazy comparison here, but it feels apt—so I'm unmoved. Josh is especially annoyed by singer-bassist Luke Top's tie-dye shirt. And there have to be about a million other bands out there with the name Fool's Gold, right?
11:33 p.m. – There's not another Dananananaykroyd out there, as most people would have better sense than to name their band that. (They're a shoo-in for my annual band-names list.) From my cursory listen on the SXSW website, they seemed to be part of wave of Los Campesinos!-esque bands invading SX this year. But in place of their Welsh counterparts' terrifyingly catchy melodies, Dananananaykroyd—I'm just cutting & pasting their name from the SXSW website, because I know I'm gonna screw it up—uses punk-rock bombast, with screamy vocals atop loose, agitated rock propelled by two drummers. But they share Los Campesinos!'s ecstatic enthusiasm, which makes their self-described "fight pop" go down a little easier.
11:38 p.m. – Dananananaykroyd tries to incite a "wall of death"—where people line up, arms around each other, and sweep through the floor, crushing everyone in their path—on the dancefloor, but with a major change. They split the crowd into two halves, then order everyone to charge—but instead of clotheslining each other, they're ordered to hug. "Moshing is for fucking meatheads!" proclaims vocalist Calum Gunn.
12:25 p.m. – Back at Beauty Bar, DM Stith belatedly begins a saddish-bastard set. There's a lower level next to the stage with big, comfy-looking booths. At SXSW, seats are exceedingly rare, so I take what I can get. I can still hear DM Smith, even though I can't see the stage. Hey, SXSW is murder on your feet. When your dogs are barkin', you best…. throw 'em a bone? I'm not sure how to complete that.
12:37 p.m. – A couple walks down Red River air-guitaring together. Aww, SXSW is where rocker couples come together.
1 a.m. – Josh has written quite a bit about Cash Cash, whose Killers-via-Jonas Brothers music is completely unironic, despite what their new album had us expecting. Check out Josh's take on it here.
2 a.m. – We trek way the hell out for the Red Bull Moon Tower party, which is going on all week. In order to get in, we have to wear a white wristband, then get a temporary tattoo of the event's logo that's about 5 inches long. We can put it anywhere, but we have to show it to the door guys to get in later. Marc, Sean, and I exchange "seriously?" expressions. Sean makes a crass comment about putting it on his penis to the door guy, who has to suffer the thankless task of forcing people to do this.
2:33 a.m. – Not to continue dogging them, because the party had quite the setup—big outdoor tents with graphics projected on them, cool décor, open bar, etc.—but having Shepard Fairey as a DJ? "Hey, the guy who did the famous Obama poster is big right now. What if we have him DJ?" Supposedly Fairey used to DJ back in the day, but he looked especially rusty here with some especially clumsy segueways between songs. And he was onstage for what felt like an eternity.
3:38 a.m. – This is probably the latest I've ever seen a band begin a set, and it looks like another one will performer after Monotonix finishes. Neither Marc nor Sean had seen the Israeli spectacle—really, they're more spectacle than band—though I caught their awesome set at the Hideout Block Party last year. The trio sets up on the ground, with the crowd surrounding them. As soon as the first song begins, everything erupts, with drinks flying in the air and singer Ami Shalev airborne over the crowd. The crowd seems a little too psyched to pour drinks on Shalev, but he doesn't seem to notice. A guy next to me is floored: "No way is this going on right now!"
3:45 a.m. – We watch for a few more minutes before heading back. I'm pretty psyched about the bed awaiting me at the Doubletree. Time to rest up, because it's only gonna get nuttier.