SXSW Superlatives: Nicole.Baumann
This year SXSW got the best of me, and since I’m still living with the aftermath of the fest in terms of a nasty cold I figure I’d share my own superlatives of SX. I had a very different festival than the dudes of this site, which I’m referring to as SXSWJR: hitting up the low key events and only ever standing in one line for the whole fest, which I daresay is some kind of feat. Read on for my distribution of praise and a few super special secret awards that Nathan and RayRay didn’t include.
The Hats Off Award: The Locals…is this Local?
I’m so with Nathan and RayRay on this one, with all the talk of “locals only,” “don’t move here,” “stop asking me where I’m from” that surfaces right before the festival, I felt like most people didn’t maintain that mentality during the past week. I saw people giving directions and recommendations, filling in others with information regarding venues, and the best way to get from x to y. Staff at the venues I frequented were pleasant and patient with drunks and crowds that never seemed to end. Bands from out of town praised the crowds and the city with every set. Bands from in town appreciated the love and showed off our wonderful scene. Go ATX, please stay this way.
Hoped for More Award: Will Butler
While Will Butler’s solo record that he just put out didn’t wow me, I’ve seen his live performance as apart of some other band (not dropping names or anything), and this live act felt half-assed. Sure, you’re playing lots of short sets, but it’s all kinds of pretentious to assume that your solo act deserves praise and my attention just because of your previous fame. If you’re gonna have chicks on stage doing the choreographed dance moves, they’ve gotta be snappy and together, otherwise it looks sloppy and trite.
Living Up to My Hype: Alvvays
Sorry Nathan, you’re wrong. I caught Alvvays twice– once on Thursday and again on Saturday and this band crushed it both times. They showed no signs of fatigue or tiredness; on Saturday we were even treated to a new song and the vocals soared over the mix crisply and wonderfully with each pop bliss chorus. I found myself grinning uncontrollably a little bit. I had almost forgotten about their self-titled LP from last year, but after seeing their live act, I can’t stop spinning it once again. Love them.
Sorry, I Don’t Get It: Title Fight/DJ Windows98
I didn’t mind the music that Title Fight threw down at the Mohawk on Thursday, but the crowd instantly got crazy insane to the tunes of this band: crowd surfing/moshing/just plain going nuts. I’m all about having a great time at a show, but I couldn’t help but feel for the staff at the Mohawk frantically trying to keep surfers off the stage and the crowd from going completely nuts. Fun to watch from the back, but a little too rowdy for a 25 minute daytime SX set.
Ok, here’s where I get real. You’re Win Butler. You’re famous. You know you’re famous. Why do you agree to do a DJ set when you know the only people you’re going to attract at SX are those looking for a secret Arcade Fire Show and then act like a douchebag when no one is dancing : “This isn’t a fucking museum you can dance you know.” I happened to be at the Mohawk and so I stayed for the first few minutes of the set before ducking past 8 Arcade Fire Shirts on my way out. Man, I just don’t get you.
My Personal Discovery: Susan
Susan was the very first band that I saw this year, and man they sort of blew me away. These three ladies from LA were loud and unapologetically jangly as all get out, and I loved every minute of their set. Go check ’em out.
Best Performers: METZ, Charles Bradley, WAND
Man, METZ are just three dudes? Watching their set in the pouring rain at Waterloo Records you would never know; the band brings that much energy.
Charles Bradley: 66. Silver Lamé Tank Top. Purple Suit Jacket. Full Jazz Band. Vocals of a king. Pelvic Thrusts. Enough soul in one fingernail to last anyone for the next three lifetimes.
Ok. I Get it Already: Drunk Show Talkers
Wow, you’re drunk at a show and it’s the middle of the day? Wake the fuck up, so is everyone else and no one cares to hear about it while this band plays their twenty minute set. Go wait in some line for three hours.
The Only Band That Should Ever Play Auditorium Shores During SXSW: Spoon
Call me a fangirl, but I braved the masses to go see these Austin Legends for the millionth time and this band never disappoints. They’ve been touring their most recent album for a year now and the could have easily dialed in their set to a local crowd that payed 0$ to go see them and have probably only heard that one Underdog song. But they didn’t: truly classy. And the surprise fireworks to round out the evening had me feeling like a little kid again.
SXSW TRENDY SHOUTOUTS:
*To the 15 year old girl with Mom Jeans that had been ripped so that your ass literally was out…I called your mom to let her know you destroyed her pants and she’s coming to pick you up. You’re grounded.
* To the Man Buns…please, keep ’em coming, I’m all about it.
*To the dude with the kilt on St. Patricks Day… if you’re gonna go for it, learn how to sit in it while you’re drunk, please, for the sake of my eyes.
*To the ladies with the platform plastic jelly sandals with socks: SXSWet was made for your somehow adequate footwear.