Friday, March 16, 2012

SXSW Gravy Style, Day Two: Am I Having Fun Yet?

Posted by on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 2:01 PM

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I don’t know what it is you think you know about freelance journalists, but one thing I can tell you is that our bodies are not trained for the endurance required of an event of this magnitude. Hell no.

Our muscles are pretty tender, not unlike that of a baby calf whose fate is a plate of veal. Hence, all this biking, hiking and hustling is more than taking its toll. Yet I trudge through. I trudge for you, readers. I am a martyr for your entertainment. Kidding.

Nobody reads this shit, right?

As I hinted yesterday, the Converse Fader Fort was a veritable promised land of all things SWAG. Free T-shirts screened onsite, an open bar stocked with Bushmills and Budweiser, a pop-up coffee shop called DRUGS, no less than three photo booths (possibly more), mighty cushy lounge areas and a pretty decent roster of bands to boot. I happened to see a set by Fidlar, who caught my attention with a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita” and kept it with fast and sloppy jams about cocaine and cheap beer. Seemed like everyone in this joint was speaking my language — save for the lack of grub. My belly was craving nourishment. This led me back to the Spotify House where i was greeted with free “Mmmmmpanadas” and even more booze.

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Word of mouth led me to the Scoot Inn where I caught the last half of Andrew WK. In a just world, WK would play this thing every year. As it stands, it’s more like every other year. Regardless, if anybody can whip a half-day-drunk crowd into a fiery frenzy, it’s this guy. Afterward, inside, Danny Brown immediately launched into a short and sweet set of solo hip-hop. Brown’s vinyl-drenched beats and a lyrical flow weigh heavy in the East Coast style, but his penchant for bitches and blunts suggest his heart lives out West. One particularly enthusiastic fan lit a blunt, from which Brown toked heartily from onstage on several occasions.

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From there, it was a hit or miss night of music. In what seemed like a pretty dumb idea before leaving Nashville, I brought along my badge from last year. Surprisingly enough, half the time it works — though, ironically, only at unofficial events where they radar scan it for legitimacy. (It did somehow lend itself to my sweet-talking the Fader Fort into giving me a press pass.) The Beauty Bar is one such a place I’ve scored the most luck. Last night they were hosting the IHeartComix/Boyz Noize Records showcase.

Com Truise has a pretty cool name, but their scattered loops and skittish beats were like watching two guys do a much less exciting version of what Nashville’s Hobbledeions does all by himself. Teengirl Fantasy managed to be a little more interesting — even without the live drums — but technical difficulties pretty much ruined any momentum their cluttered synth-jive could gather.

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A chance encounter with old friends pulled me into the Chevrolet Sound Garage where I was treated to solo wank-fest Fresh Millions, followed by power-synth heavies Shiny Toy Guns. My inner elitist fought enjoyment as best it could, but these guys do put on a pretty decent show. Plus, they do a pretty accurate cover of Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home).”

Later, I hit late night staple, The Hype Hotel, where my outdated credentials get me cutsies, entry gets me two drink tickets and a bottomless bucket of complimentary Taco Bell (not literally in a bucket). From the bar, I slowly recognized the voice pumping from the other room as that of legendary reggae and cult film star Jimmy Cliff. Disbelief was followed by elation as he launched into the title track from The Harder They Come. Free booze, free tacos and Jimmy Cliff. What more could I have asked for? Some familiar faces would have been nice. But as the juice in my phone waned, my texts went unanswered. Was I the last man standing? After all, it was only 2 a.m. Maybe I’m not such a baby calf after all.

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