26 March 2008

sxsw day 2, or: "you are important. to the parish. npr could not care less about you."

I have been so lazy lately, guys. Also somehow I managed to actually burn off a section of my hair, so I'm going around everywhere wrapped in scarves to cover up my carmelized bangs. My sunglasses of the season are giant, too, so in all I've got a bit of a bored chanteuse effect going on. Not bad, except that people at work are laughing at me. I mean, more than usual.

Okay! Where we last left off, I had spent an enjoyable day wearing silly hats and listening to people from the UK sing country music. What could be in store for our intrepid narrator today?

After an appetizing breakfast of mimosas and . . . well, just mimosas, Courtney and I went downtown and went over to charlieuniformtango to see Mandy!

Hey, Mandy! CUT is in the middle of tons of renovations, as they're now going to be taking over all the floors in their building, so Mandy took us on a tour of the construction zone. We didn't even have to wear hard hats. She showed us where the new editing bays and her new office were going to be. It's going to look even more swanky and uptown than it already does (which is pretty swanky). I can't wait to see it all fixed up, which, let's face it, probably won't be until next sxsw.

Then we went on to the NPR day show at the Parish. I didn't figure it'd be too difficult to get in, despite indie darlings Vampire Weekend playing at four, because we were so early. Um. Wrong.

There was a really long line, guys. I was at the front of it, and it still took us an hour to get in. During this hour, I: texted Sarah and Daniel to see if they were coming over (they did not), listened to this total tool in front of us bore this poor girl about the talk-radio format, and MISSED my Swedish boyfriend Jens Lekman. I was, and am, bereft. OH JENS. Come back soon, okay?

But we did finally get in, in time for Yeasayer. I've had their album for a while, but to be honest, it hadn't really grown on me that much. But they were much better live than I'd expected them to be, so I was glad I caught their show. They have a whole lot of hair, though, I must say.

The next act of the show was a personal favorite of the festival for me: bon iver. I got For Emma, Forever Ago off the recommendation of a friend, and was really blown away by it. But that was nothing compared to seeing him in person, five feet away, and having his haunting voice reverberate throughout the room. He started a singalong for The Wolves Act I and II and I am not ashamed to say I cried, a little.

Also? Beard.

Last up were the big draw for most of the crowd, Vampire Weekend. I was set to talk about how overrated VW are (before I even saw them, cause I am near-Pitchforkian in my cynicism), but to be perfectly honest, I think I've listened to their album about 200 times since I got it. It's just . . . infectious. Also, who doesn't like people who sing about Cape Cod?

I wonder if any of them would be willing to do my taxes for me.

Oh, also: the show had free Shiner and Lone Star, and tiny chopped beef sliders! I could have eaten twelve of them, but stuck to just one. I'd like to say that I'm super-disciplined, but it was only because I had already had about five free beers.

After the party, Courtney and I went to eat some Vietnamese food. I had bun and coffee:

Yes, I draw shapes with my sriracha. You're lucky I didn't draw some lewd pictograph of what I'd like to do with Liam Finn. I am also lucky, because that would be very spicy!

Then we decided to go hang out at the convention center for a while, because our feet hurt. My feet hurt because I was wearing these shoes:

Sparkly, but lacking in arch support.

On the way to the convention center, I was beset by a giant panda:

I hate it when people in giant animal costumes touch me. I have no desire to ever go to DisneyWorld, simply for this reason.

While we were wandering around the convention center, I heard, "Erin! Erin!" It was Leah! She and Daniel were chilling up there as well:

Leah worked up at sxsw all week, because she's super important. It was nice running into them, and I told them to come see popup later if they didn't have anything on their slate. (Note: I found out later that Jens was playing at the same time as popup. Sorry, popup, I'd have gone to stalk Jens if I'd known.)

After meeting Leah's boss (that's him on the left) and hanging for awhile, Courtney and I went over to the Habana Annex to see the aforementioned popup. On the way, a homeless man gave us flowers. And then extorted money from us. Courtney and I are a notoriously soft touch; I'll just let you know now that it's really easy to get money out of us for pretty much any reason. One, we are usually too distracted with talk of gay sex to be aware of our surroundings, and two, we're both so WASPy that we don't know how to say no to a direct request. I'm just letting you know this for the future. Also, it should cut down on muggings, because really all you have to do is ask.

This marks the second sxsw in a row where I have run into members of popup in a bar - last year, I ran into Michael and their manager Alec at the Needles/Metro Riots show on the last night (also, Damo told me the other day that the Needles have broken up, sort of, and that news is basically like a punch in my gut. I love them.) and this year I ran into Nic and Adi at Latitude on the first night. Next year, I expect I'll run into them exactly halfway through the week. (Also, why is it always a bar? Why is it never a street corner or perhaps a charming model village?) So it's a little weird actually GOING to a bar with the expressed purpose of seeing them. I tried to get a photo of all of them together, but see above, in re: free beer. Also Michael likes to turn around and play with his back to the crowd, I guess:

Never fear. You'll be seeing tons of photos of them for day four.

They were, of course, totally fun, as usual, and I even got a song dedicated to me! That's only like the second time that's happened, and the first time that hasn't involved Authentic Gnome VoiceTM and the dedicator trying to snog me in the middle of conversation (i'm looking at you, bgarz). Awesome.

After the show, Courtney and I had to be on to our next adventure, so we walked over to Latitude (I can't help it! British Embassy! Leah's people! Accents!) to see the fantastic Emmy the Great. At first, the people at the door weren't going to let me in, due to my camera, but once I made it clear that there was no way in hell I was leaving my baby out in the car, they relented. Unfortunately this means I didn't get any good photos of Emmy, but never fear! I got plenty the next day, so stay tuned for her absolute cuteness. I wish I'd gotten a shot of her merch, though - she has a totebag with a cat on it and it says "I CAN HAZ EMMY?" That is A+.

Emmy made me a bit melancholy, actually, as her voice was just so lovely that I longed for someone to share it with. Unfortunately, all I could find was Talkative Scottish Photographer, who yakked my ear off for almost an hour about Tilly and the Wall and why every band I like is shit (general consensus was because there were boys in them). Courtney and I had meant to stay for Johnny Flynn, but we had to escape the TSP! So we made a subtle exit ("uh, we have to be . . . somewhere else.") and went over to The Rio, where we ran smack into a long line of douchey MGMT fans.

Don't get me wrong; I wanted to see MGMT too. But I am not a douche. Or if I am, it's a relative douchiness, like, 1 part douche, 3 parts sparkles. These people? Were douches. They worked for The Sun, y'all. I mean, no lie, part of me wanted to be their best friend and ask who they'd choose in a Jordan vs. Jodie Marsh fight to the death, but mostly I just wanted them to shut up, because they were overly posh and obnoxious. It became quickly clear that I, a lowly wristbander, would never get in to the show, so I left Courtney in line and high-tailed it out of there.

I didn't really have a plan, so I decided to just wander around. I ended up over at the Mohawk, where bon iver was once again playing, this time on the outside stage. The line to get in was way too long, but I could hear him perfectly, so I climbed up on some construction barriers and laid down, stared at the hazy sky, and dreamed away for an hour. It was a lovely respite from the bustle of the city.

Courtney texted me to tell me that the crowd at the Rio had cleared out when MGMT left the stage, so I walked back over there to see I Was a Cub Scout and The Pan I Am. IWACS were good fun - they're a band I enjoy a lot without feeling the need to delve any further into them. Pink Squares comes on shuffle; I dance, basically.

The Pan I Am was . . . wow. I still don't have words to describe it, nearly two weeks later. Suffice it to say that it was not what I was expecting from Ed Larrikin (whose last project, Larrikin Love, is probably in my Top Ten Bands of All Time list). He's a lot . . . darker? And, um . . . scarier? And his guitarist may own and operate an S&M dungeon and demand to be known only as The Baron?

After the set, which was super-short at only about 15 minutes long, Courtney went off to the bathroom. When she didn't return after ten minutes, I went to look for her, and of course she was talking to Ed Larrikin backstage (Courtney has this insanely awesome skill of being able to talk to ANYONE. I envy her a lot, because I am actually really shy [I know, it seems like I'm joking], so I tend to clam up and/or go stupid around anyone who isn't a close friend. It causes problems.). And he was totally lovely and not at all like a scary tranny vampire! He was trying to pay another girl two dollars not to see The Pigeon Detectives the next day ("you don't have to go to my show! Just don't go to theirs!") and was demanding high fives and mocking people for having their own thoughts ("oooooh! OWN THOUGHTS!") and I know this doesn't paint a wonderful portrait of him, but he was genuinely lovely and not at all like you'd think he'd be from this:

Appearances (and music. and performance. and inter-song banter) can be deceiving, I guess.

And that was basically it for day two! We're halfway through!


poshdeluxe said...

after seeing MGMT at stubb's, i can tell why all of their fans are douches (but i still like their music).

what is UP with that panda? if you're gonna wear an animal outfit, don't let yr hair show! i dunno, that's just gross!!

my favorite part of yr day was when you just listened to bon iver and looked up at the sky. that sounds perfect.

Meredith said...

I will be absolutely bereft when the various sxsw recaps in all their forms reach an end, because I love the vicarious feeling of laissez-etc that unexpectedly sneaks up on me as I sit under fluorescent lights in my uncomfortable chair and squeeze my Dwight Schrute-head stress ball. Sigh. Don't ever end, recaps.

Erin said...

Sarah, it was my favorite part of my day, too! You know how it is, when you find that pocket of peace in the middle of a swarm of craziness. It was like that.

Mere, maybe I'll start making some up. "SXSW DAY 48: Today I sat under the shade of an old willow tree and watched as several pygmy chimps made music with sticks. I can't wait to buy their latest album: 'paniscus pantomime.'"

Meredith said...

Riveting! You can't make this stuff up! Except for...how you did.