Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

SXSW Day Two - You're Not As Cool As You Think You Are

2:30pm: Throwing your own party means you automatically have some place to go (no matter how tired you are from seeing Les Savy Fav the night before). Unfortunately I've already missed Matt & Kim, but I catch Land Of Talk, who rips through their set with little chit-chat. There's some extra snarl in Elizabeth Powell's guitar today, but maybe that's just a mask for her insecurity. At one point she asks, "How many people here have even heard of us?" to a smattering of cheers. "That's like 80 people," she says. Hey, that's actually a pretty decent percentage for this room.

4:30pm: Never having gotten to see Mclusky, I'm excited to see Andy Falkous' new band, Future Of The Left. I'm even more excited when the distorted bass kicks in and the vein in Falkous' forehead starts throbbing. Within minutes I'm not pining for Mclusky anymore. I could listen to this stuff all day.

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5pm: Despite the whole Comedians Of Comedy revolution, I still think it's a hard road to haul for "indie" comics who have to play to obnoxious rock club crowds. Leo Allen makes the mistake of starting a story with the words "Sixth Street" only to be interrupted by some overzealous local, which leads to him sarcastically making lame references to other Austin landmarks. "Hey, what's that place where you swim in the summer?" he asks snidely, and several people who don't get the joke yell out "Barton Springs!" Oh, my fellow Austinites. Sometimes I just want to hug you all to death.

5:45pm: My formerly friendly local parking garage has not only doubled its price, but shortened its daytime hours to 6pm, so I'm forced to leave our party and miss Michael Showalter. Grumble grumble.

10pm: Another good show in an awful club, this time the cat piss-scented Flamingo Cantina, where the Vice showcase is going down. Someone should tell the little shavers in 120 Days that they're not as cool as they think they are, and their hedonistic electro-Krautrock blend would go over much better in a darkened dance club than on the Flamingo's awkward stage, but I'm sucked in nonetheless. Too bad it takes them twice as long to set up all of their fancy modulators and analog synths than it does to play.

11pm: Fujiya & Miyagi are the perfect band for Karma Lounge, a former electroclash bar which is all deep red lights and slick futurist architecture. The group's Neu-meets-Charlatans vibe is fun, but for a band whose first language is English they're a little lacking in the lyrics department. While it's great club music, this is all style and no substance.

12:30am: The '90s are definitely back: Ultragrrl's pet Oolahs sound like a throwback to the sugary pop of Letters To Cleo and Veruca Salt, their singer is a nasally Kelley Deal wannabe, and she straddles her monitor like Courtney Love. A girl's voice calls out, "I love you Ollie!" to which the singer replies, "I love you too, Sarah Lewitinn!" Well, obviously. If it wasn't for Ultragrrl, would anyone even care about this band?

1am: The Horrors have a reputation for being nothing but a haircut band, but despite the silly costumes (the lead singer spends the first three songs with a bunch of black balloons tied to his neck), this stuff has a good nihilistic swagger to it, splashing about in the same filthy puddles as The Cramps. I like it.

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1:55am: The Horrors' lead singer pitches a full trash can into the audience. Beer cans, half-eaten chili dogs, pizza crusts—they all go flying into the packed crowd. Not everyone is happy about that. A hail of cans and cups go flying at the band (luckily this bar doesn't serve bottles) and they screech to a halt, making a beeline for the parking lot.

2:30am: The Factory People after-party has been shut down already by the fire marshall, who's been plenty busy this week. According to later reports, nearly every after-party in town was busted before they even got started. I guess the cops picked up our free party guide.

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3am: The Playboy party is not as decadent as you might expect. The flyer advertised that it would be hosted by Playboy bunnies, but I certainly don't see any. In fact I don't see any nudity or lasciviousness anywhere, save the 250 lb. girl giving her friend a drunken lap dance. Ghostland Observatory is bumping their sleazy electro in one room while everyone else crowds the lounge. I run into Britt and Jim from Spoon and other scenesterati like Steve Aoki and Tommie Sunshine just before Bloc Party's Kele Okereke starts his DJ set. Jesus, can we get a little more hip in here please?

4am: I hit my limit on mind-blowing fun.

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