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
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
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:
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!".
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.
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.