NOISE: South, West, and all sorts of points at SXSW


Oh me, oh my, what to do every day at SXSW - the competing pull of day parties and unofficial showcases and the panels and speakers during the day - and then the night parties and official showcases at night - has me torn like a paper bag full of giveaway matches, condoms, beer bottle openers, and random acts of swag. And outfits and tats and hair. "There's a lot of hair going on," said one girly wag in the elevator at my downtown digs. "And lots of interesting facial hair. We're going shopping." Inspirational! Oh, yes, and music, music, music.

Oxford Collapse work those stripes. All photos by Kimberly Chun.

Here's a rundown of a few recent soirees: Brooklyn's Oxford Collapse busted it up at the Sub Pop showcase early on on Wednesday night. Furious mod aerobics by the bassist. Earlier Seattle's Tiny Vipers kept it sweet and low. BTW it was impossible to badge your way into the Beggars Banquet and 4AD showcases in the neighborin Emo's properties - where Calla, Voxtrot, Beirut, Mountain Goats, and Blonde Redhead were rocking. Queue you...

About time.

So with that in mind, I lollygagged over to Beauty Bar where Best Fwends, Holy Fuck, and Crystal Castles were setting it off in the sparkly interior, and the Comas, Langhorne Slim, Jack, Illinois, and Annuals were busting moves in the patio. Amsterdam's About were pretty durn electro-popping - throwing some bodily force into their boy-girl performance.

Oh. Oh. It's Oh No! Oh My!

Down the street on Sixth the Dim Mak party was swinging, sweatily, in the confines of Flamingo Cantina. Oh No! Oh My! impressed with proggish indie stylings before Pony Up, Scanners, Willowz, and Har Mar Superstar stepped up.

Pandas on parade.

Australia seemed to be throwing mucho dinero at their homegrown music scene so showcases straight from Oz seemed to be everywhere - or maybe they just had mondo-efficient flierers. One of their number, Panda Band from Perth - what no Koala Band? - started promisingly enough with energetic rock that took intriguing melodic turns.

Slaraffenand - say it 20 times fast.

Jet lag was starting to overtake one's curiosity around the time Copenhagen, Denmark's Slaraffenland came on at Mohawk at the Hometapes show. Interesting group - we all edged closer when the sax and trombone and effects pedals came out. I hereby dub the trombone the most ubiquitous unexpected instrument at this year's SXSW.

Outside on the Mohawk patio, a Steve Earle-like Rob Crow was ripping - sounding like he was channeling Geddy Lee of Rush and playing some delicate, at times moving music. Think he dedicated a song to Corey of the Bay Area label, Absolutely Kosher. Has everyone acknowleged that Mr. Goblin Cock is something of a genius yet?

Crow don't blow.

More blogging to come - last night I kicked myself down Sixth for missing the afterhours Playboy party out in the boondocks, which word has it was surreal and chock-full of bunnies - hey, cabs were impossible to nab at 3 a.m. Is music sexy again? There did seem a preponderance of bottle blondes at this year's SXSW.

Tonight, Friday, March 16, I'm looking forward to hyphy at the Beauty Bar with Federation, the Pack, and Saafir - if I can get in - and the Holy Mountain and Ecstatic Peace showcases as well as a Vice afterhours party. Scrape me off the floor when you're ready to go-go.