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The Insipid Underbelly of SXSW
2000-03-20 12:57:30


Viva La Musica
 
You have come a long way from the Bloodthirsty, Beady-eyed news Hawk that you were in days of yore. Maybe you should try reading something besides those goddamn motorcycle magazines -- or one of these days you'll find hair growing in your palms.
-- HST

 

South by Southwest is the DEFINITION of a sellout alterno-entity that collapses under its own weight. Our man RAGBOY, chief of Pigdog Ranger Station One (Austin, TX), gives us a blow-by-blow of the weird side underbellies and crazy hair farmers that make SXSW the weird craziness it is. Beaujolais!

Well, we're three weeks into the SXSW multi-fucking-media conference, and I still can't drive downtown to get a beer without bumping my 1972 Buick Centurion into a SAAB with California plates. But, in the interest of pigdog journalism, I headed down to Emo's to catch some of the thrasher BO and some worse music.

Emo's is a hairsprayed thrasher 80's throwback from a time when yuppies ran the economy and we had a geriatribot in the White House. The thing that so appealing about Emo's is that north Austinites hate it with a passion, even though they're the yuppies that used to control the economy. These are the same yuppies that were too lame to get on the boat to San Francisco in the 60's and decided to settle here driving out all the decent folk.

On the other hand, South Austinites, those bedraggled trailerdwelling creatures, flock to it like pigs to shit. In their dirty Wranglers, holy black AC/DC T-shirts and shit encrusted ropers, they congregate in Shiner slurring masses wishing for the heydays of Poison and Motley Crue. That thrilling yesteryear when an ugly tone-Def boy could become a god with an air guitar, spandex, make-up and Depp. But enough about my shattered dreams.

The trip down to 6th street (Austin's miniscule equivalent to Bourbon Street) was harrowing what with record agents skidding their SUV's out of the way and fresh dot com Beemers squeaking their disdain for my primer-racing-striped gas-guzzling Centurion assault vehicle.

So, I pulled up in front of Emo's and I began to suspect that my fave venue had betrayed me. Gone was the metal-death-head silver on black motif. Gone were the milling crowds of hairy-pitted sleeveless shirt wearing south Austinites with their black-toothed pleasantly porky heffers. I saw flannel evening wear, Seattle-grunge spouting, whiny nineties kids. I saw some kind of coffee-shop-cum-tofu-bar facade called Emo's Jr.! I saw sweaty flannel girls with no make-up and straight hair and Doc Martens. I saw Ceaser-haircut boys smoking American Spirits.

I knew this was a bad sign. Your flannelly Seattle set stay closer to the Grunge District around Lucy's Retarded Surfer Bar and the Library...places of that Nature. In the day, the only thing for them down here on the east end of 6th was an ass-kicking. Instead of backing down, I flashed my official pigdog press pass and went on in. It was worse than I thought.

I walked in and some Brooklyn duo that wishes to God on Earth that they could've been born an unholy union of the Sugarcubes and Velvet Underground were just starting their set:

I am the World Trade Center http://av.sxsw.com/bands/audio/128-2430.m3u

Anti-WTO wannabes were milling about with carrot juice cocktails and angst. I got a down-yer-nose look from the bar bitch when I order a double Jack-on-the-rocks, but she grudgingly took my money and gave me her watery version of God's Own Drink.

The IatWTC set only got worse as I got drunker. Then, a quintet of college boys took the stage, proclaiming with look, origin, and song that "We're just like REM, only you can understand our crappy lyrics...and we haven't sold out, yet!".

kincaid http://av.sxsw.com/bands/audio/128-2426.m3u

I was five sheets closer to the wind by the time the next "band" came on board. I don't know if it was really late, or the fact that I was spewing obscenities during every song, but the place cleared out pretty quick. And I was left with these guys, lulling me to sleep with some electronica.

The Dylan Group http://av.sxsw.com/bands/audio/128-1980.m3u

It was too late when I finally found out that Emo's hadn't gone away. They'd just moved right around the corner. Guess I should have followed the smell of hairspray and the stunning riffs of Poison Us, an 80's tribute band. I drove by Emo's, the Centurion pushing the city one step closer to environmental legislation. There they were, my spandexed comrades beating the living shit out of some frat boy.

The traffic is dying down now, but maybe it's just Monday.

I hate SXSW.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

iambic@pigdog.org


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