The fact that the Black Lips were on so many lips is perfectly understandable: they're a fine garage punk band onstage heaves or no and worthy of the humps they're getting years along, but we all know that. I wanted my mind blown as well as punted.
Barring that, where were Arcade Fire, Of Montreal, LCD Soundsystem, TV on the Radio, Deerhoof, OOIOO, and so many others currently touring but perhaps too sensible or established to play a seemingly requisite dozen times? Whither MIA, the Hives, Queens of the Stone Age, Feist, Marilyn Manson, and others with anticipated 2007 albums to hawk? Are Coachella and its Rage Against the Machine reorientation giving SXSW a run for the splashy reunion buck (sorry, RATM guitarist Tom Morello's Nightwatchman show with Slash, Perry Farrell, etc., doesn't cut it)? Are SXSW's sideshow and party scenes undercutting the panels and showcases? Perhaps the coastside cynics are spoiled because we think a Hoodoo Gurus gathering just doesn't measure up to recent no-shows like Whitehouse.
Still, the ole rocks do get off, if when you least expect it, wandering past a bar, ears caught by some new emanation. That happened to me, when I stumbled on inspired, powerful performances like those of Toronto's stunning, vibes-focused Hylozoists at Habana Calle and the BjörkishKate Bushy lady band Bat for Lashes. And then not so unexpectedly, when you brave the puke and garage smells of the Beauty Bar Patio for an all-Bay hyphy throwdown with an energized Federation, packing their stunna glasses at night, an ebullient Saafir, and a speaker-mounting Pack. The fact that you have to go all the way to Texas for the latter makes SXSW the beloved monster that it is it's just getting harder to cut through the noise.
Back in black: Black Lips, Black Angels, This Moment in Black History, Black Fiction.
Some words never stop being fun: Holy Fuck, Holy Shit!, Shitdisco, Fucked Up, Psychedelic Horseshit.
All ze buzz: Paolo Nutini, Earl Greyhound, Pop Levi, Albert Hammond Jr., and Cold War Kids. *
For more on South by Southwest, click here.
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