NOISE: Doing the SXSW Red-Eye


Contributor Kate Izquierdo sent in her latest dispatch on SXSW, the final days:

Shitdisco is the shit.

Every year, you swear to yourself that you will find alternate routes to maneuver the Sixth Street on St. Patrick's day, and every year you forget or get too loaded and find yourself backstroking through a sea of jello-shot hoovering, stiletto-tottering, verdantly outfitted U of T students looking to whoop it up. They're a surreal injection into the conference populace, who are now starting to show the effects of four solid days of drinking, schmoozing, rocking, and ricocheting from venue to venue. Our forearms are purple from wrist to elbow with stamps, the plastic day party wristbands are cutting off our circulation, we're sunburnt, and, oh, yeah, maneuvering on about four hours of sleep. We're all ratcheting up to that level of cranky that can only be healed with a two-day nap or a lot of valium.

Don't get me wrong - the day (Saturday, March 17) was a good one, albeit one that started an ungodly hour. We kicked off at 9:30 a.m. with the Allen Oldies Band over at the Continental for an early morning dose of dance party and jalapeno pancakes, all hosted by club owner Mojo Nixon. Dancing to 96 Tears on no sleep is the cheapest hallucinogen on the market, I guarantee it. Being served chili-spiked pancakes by women in French maid costumes did little to normalize the event, either. Spontaneous chants of "Nine thirty! Nine thirty!" kept erupting, as if people needed convincing it was Saturday morning. For the record, it was still Friday to me.

Back downtown, we started our afternoon with Monsters are Waiting, a lovely shoegaze band from LA with perfect Baby Jane-type vocals. Oh No! Oh My! were poppy with spare, children's story-time narratives over some of their songs. Shitdisco, who won "Best Band Name @ SXSW" hands down, were a Scottish dance quartet resplendent with lots of neon gaffer's tape and steady doses of hi-hat rock. Detroit's Thunderbirds Are Now were a last-minute addition to the NY2London party, and took advantage of the rock formation enclosing the patio stage with some impromptu climbing sessions. "We don't care about anything!" the lead singer announced. Always easy to say until the ambulance shows up, eh?

We finished the afternoon perfectly with a lengthy yet righteously pose-free set from the Buzzcocks. "Orgasm Addict," "What Do I Get," etc. - all good songs, zero witty banter, and no tantrums when the sound cut out a few times. And speaking of the old timers, we caught the Stooges later in the evening, and it was a similar story. The punk rockers of yore acting like well-mannered pros who don't rob me of $30 and 40 minutes? If that's selling out, here's to it.

We wound down the festival at Red-Eye Fly with whisky, Waco Bros., and a bit of a dream for next year. I'm convinced that there is a way to pit the St. Patrick's shot-guzzlers against those flier-wielding street-teamers. It could be a custom-built Worlds of Warcraft: Music Industry Edition. Imagine the possibilities.