Eds. note: Carl Spackler took a break from hunting Varmint Cong and ogling elderly golfers to check out Austin’s South by Southwest music festival. So we’ve got that going for us. Here’s the first installment of his report, filed between cannonballs. – Perry Ellis
Apparently SWSX gives free Baby Ruths away too.
OK, it’s been two months since SXSW but I can still do a re-cap! And
I’m doing it in two parts!
4:00 PM on a Thursday and instead of my usual spot wasting away at my desk, I am at the Levi’s Fader Fort awaiting a Lou Reed Tribute starring Moby, Yo La Tengo and My Morning Jacket. Saul Williams has just finished up Niggy Tardust. Incredibly powerful stuff that I didn’t come close to comprehending until seeing him perform live. I’m not going to delve into the bizarre greatness of Saul Williams, you’ll
just have to find out for yourself.
The Levi’s Fader Fort is an annual SXSW event that is run in the Youth Center and its parking lot. It’s a really odd scene full of swag, give-aways, free booze and hipster doofuses. Free booze is a constant of SXSW, which is a factor to beware of as you can be trashed by 3:00 PM no problem. Fortunately the Fader Fort also provides free Vitamin Water along with their free Southern Comfort and Bass.
Obviously, with such provisions SXSW is a bit of a blur, but there are so many good bands only a fool would get blotto.
Did I mention Lou Reed was in attendance for the Lou Reed tribute? Probably worth noting, especially since he played with Moby later that night. The one downfall of the tribute was the haste of the bands–they had 1-3 songs and like a 15-minute window to play them. Had I known this, I would’ve stuck at the Roky Erickson Ice Cream Social. Still, MMJ and Yo La Tengo still put forth solid performances and hanging anywhere in the vicinity of Lou Reed is always cool.
Here’s a clip of MMJ:
Rewind a couple hours earlier to the aforementioned Ice Cream Social, where I caught locals the Black Angels. Roky Erickson is not the most sane man, but he can play a guitar and is a legend in Austin. The Social is an annual event since Roky’s brother Sumner became his guardian and really brought Roky back to music. If you haven’t seen the documentary on Roky, You’re Gonna Miss Me, you really have to:
Of course it will never compare to my surreal experience attending a showing of the film and then dancing with Roky’s crazy mom during the post-film concert. While I attended the social, I did not get to catch a Roky show during SXSW, but heard that the concert (backed by Okkerville River) was damn good.
Right after the Black Angels finished up, I rushed across the river to Antone’s to catch the second half of Daniel Lanois’ afternoon set. If you don’t know who Lanois is, he is the exceptional producer / guitarist behind albums like The Joshua Tree, Oh Mercy, Wrecking Ball and others. He is a major influence on my sound and it was exceptional to see him in person. It was just Lanois and a drummer and they filled the room with an incredible sound. More impressive was that it was Antone’s, typically known as a very difficult room to adjust to:
More to come in Part 2.