OH MAN. So SXSW has not yet left my brain, not even a little bit. I woke up this morning and did the following things:
1) cursed loudly at my alarm clock and attempted to throw a book at it so it would shut up (i'm glad my fancy Stephen Fry alarm clock hasn't come in cause I'd feel bad for throwing a book at Mr. Fry. I'd do it, though.)
2) fumbled for my cell phone, where I had 22 new messages (I'm not that popular: 21 were from twitter and one was from someone I met at south by.).
3) got out of bed and wondered where the cham cans were. real life is for suckers.
I know that to really appreciate something, you can't have it all the time, and that I wouldn't REALLY like to have a life where I'm walking around forever and listening to a different band every hour and drinking too much and hanging out with my friends and having no schedule or responsibilities. But boy, do I ache for south by.
Here's what I did on Wednesday!
I left home late, due entirely to the previous night's St Patrick's Day celebration. Have we, as a nation, come to a conclusion about why jello shots are considered a cultural celebration? Cause I'd like to know the reasoning. Seriously.
Courtney, my esteemed sxsw partner in crime, and I met up at our hotel. This is the first time I've ever stayed downtown during south by! It was amazing and Courtney and I have decided we'll never go back to a hotel out of walking distance from the convention center again. We got spoiled. Also, randomly, our hotel had a giant mirror over the bed:
If you think that didn't come back up during the week, you don't know me very well.
We were so tardy that we just had time to get our credentials before making the long trek over to the Levi's Fader Fort. We encountered a very long line to get checked in to the guest list, but I didn't mind for two reasons: 1) there was a very cute ginger-bearded fellow in line behind us and 2) we were going to fulfill a dream of mine.
No, not free southern comfort, although that was nice. You guys. I SAW GRAHAM COXON PLAY THE GUITAR:
Okay, yes. The sound was shit at Fader that day and I couldn't work out what he was singing. I was trying to avoid a crazy lady who is my sxsw nemesis. I'd lost track of the cute ginger-bearded fella. But did I care? NO. Because Graham Coxon is a freaking genius, and watching his fingers move along the frets was, for me, akin to being born again, only instead of vaguely crazy, it was just amazing. And while my love for him was (prior to this point) always pure, seeing him actually play the guitar in person made my tummy sort of tremble.
The fact that he's cuter than a sack of kittens doesn't hurt:
lucky lucky courtney
After I took this photo of Courtney and Graham Coxon, I proceeded to insult his hair and call him old. I really should not be allowed out in public.
After the Fader party had lost its luster (i.e. graham coxon had left), Courtney and I met up with my friends Daniel and Leah (and their friend, Michael) and trooped to Central Presbyterian to see M Ward and Camera Obscura. It was really, really packed in the church, as you might expect it would be for M Ward, and we had some problems with seating, including unexpected entanglement with some chick's extentions. Ack!
The set opened with Anni Rossi, who I'd never heard before, but who has a lovely voice with really haunting melodies. I'll definitely be checking more of her stuff out. And then came M Ward, Man of the Hour. He was amazing, of course, but I'm here to tell you that people shouldn't listen to sex music in a church. I hadn't felt that confused about the feelings inside me since I was 12.
We decided to bag after M Ward, as we all thought we could catch Camera Obscura later (I never did, WOE.). As we were exiting the church, one of the sxsw volunteers cautioned us not to gloat to the people who had been standing in a giant line wrapped around the block for the last 6 hours. We didn't, but one guy did stop Daniel and ask him if they had a bar in the church. We remain undecided as to whether the communion alter counts as one.
Courtney really wanted to see Laura Marling at Latitude, and since I didn't have any plans until later, I came with. First we caught an act called Stoney, who were fine if not particularly interesting. Then Laura Marling - all 3 inches of her - came on and made me fall in love with her.
Last year it was emmy the great, and this year it was Laura Marling: I seem to really love tiny, pocket-sized female singer-songwriters, what can I say?
After her set, I left Courtney and wandered down to catch a few minutes of Danananakroyd's set, as well as to see my friends Brianna and K. YOU GUYS. Danananananananananananakroyd are amaaaaazing. I can't understand a damn word they say; they may very well be singing about cheese processing, for all I know. But I do know this: they do an excellent cover of House of Pain's "Jump Around" and The Wall Of Cuddles is possibly the best invention known to man.
Confused about the Wall of Cuddles? Well, know how, in high school, the cheerleaders would always try to divide the stands into two sides, and one would shout "De!" and one would shout "Fence!" and it was a competition to see who could shout louder? (at least I think that was the goal.) The Wall of Cuddles is sort of like that, only instead of shouting, at the count of four, everyone runs towards each other and hugs.
If you've never been to south by, let me pause right now and explain how the crowds are usually made up. It's 40% hipster, 40% music industry, 10% fans/friends/family of the band and 10% people who wandered in off the streets. There is no hugging. There is affected boredom, and occassionally drunken singing, and very rarely Superfan going mental down by the monitors, but there is never any hugging. Until Dananananananananakroyd, that is. Strangers, friends, band members, bar staff - everyone hugged! It was possibly the single happiest moment of the festival. In years.
This guy hugged me the most:
After that, it was on to see Phosphorescent and Deer Tick at the BrooklynVegan showcase! You guys, Phosphorescent have gotten SO MUCH BETTER. I saw them last year (again at BrooklynVegan, hmm.) and they were good but I wasn't all that blown away by them. I don't know if it's the new material (they've recently released an album of Willie Nelson covers) or just better stage presence, but they were great. ALMOST good enough that I wanted to push my way to the front, but in teh end I opted to stay back near the bar so I could have easy access to more drinks.
And then, Deer Tick!! I didn't get to see Deer Tick last year at sxsw due to some crap scheduling on my part, but their album War Elephant was on CONSTANT repeat on my ipod this year. I was so excited to see them, and they did not disappoint. Well, they did in one way:
What is with their fashion sense? Is this supposed to be ironic, or is it because they're from Rhode Island? Either way, it's no good. Don't hide the pretty with terrible clothes, boys.
They were as amazing as I expected/hoped they'd be, playing a good mix of tracks from War Elephant and their upcoming album, plus a few extras for fun. If you'd like to have a listen to them, here are two links:
cover of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years"
And after that, I went to bed.
SxSW Stats for Wednesday:
Bands seen: 10
Bands loved: 5
Drinks consumed: 6 (it was a slow day, due to driving)
Hours slept: 5
Blisters formed: 4