By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
QUINTRON AND MISS PUSSYCAT By far the second-best show at SXSW. (See Bats, above.) The New Orleans duo enacts a puppet show about a female squirrel who decapitates Death, then pops his head back on so that she can smooch him. Quintron jams out circus music on his organ and "drum buddy" (a photo-electric oscillator circuit that, uh, makes beats and stuff) while Miss Pussycat shakes her maracas and looks cute. Quintron chants, "Get fucked up! Make out!" while the audience proceeds to, er, get fucked up and make out. (Of course, I might not remember that quote exactly, considering I was a bit inebriated myself.) Last scene of the night: Two slovenly people rub each other on the dance floor.
RUMORS Overheard: Paul Westerberg will play a Vagrant Records gig. Truth: Good publicity stunt for lesser-known Vagrant bands. The head 'Mat must still be in hiding. Overheard: The Courtship of Eddie's Father's Brandon Cruz is now fronting the Dead Kennedys. Truth: When the actor performs, fans throw Jell-O shots in honor of former DK frontman Biafra. The new lineup is now being tentatively called The Ed Kennedys. (I say, why not the Ted Kennedys?) Overheard: Quintron declares that SXSW is his last show ever. Truth: Nah, say members of noise pranksters and Quintron collaborators XBXRX. He's playing in Dallas next week.
SHAMELESS CHEATING Countless industry execs/editors/fans who are married/dating seriously/"partnered" come to SXSW to kiss/grope/shag one another. Inbreeding between journalists and publicists is slightly sketchy, no? The ever astute Courtney Love quips, "I had always heard that SXSW was where you guys all came to cheat on your husbands and wives."
TO WATCH FOR Other buzzworthy bands. The Walkmen: The old Jonathan Fire*Eater as the new Strokes. Gold Chains: Beck-ish raps over techno beat, sans heavy irony. Knife in the Water: Alt-country with a Nick Cave-style sneer. True American gothic. The Von Bondies: Detroit garage can now afford its own parking space.
U2 Band most ridiculed for being sellouts by Courtney Love during her keynote speech. For the record: Love's imitation of Bono's accent is, as the Irish demigod would say, even better than the real thing.
THE VENUE Was that Sean Connery playing drums for the Small Faces? It seems strange that this Swedish Sixties pop group pairs four youngsters with an older dude who has enough years on him to know who the Pretty Things are and what elementary schools they went to. Still, their soccer anthem "Mmm-hmm" is the catchiest power-pop single I've heard in recent times.
WEIRD DUDE DOING THE HERKY-JERKY DANCE His name is Beatle Bob and he's your private dancer. The middle-aged St. Louis native/music groupie has been shaking his overgrown mop of hair at every music festival across the country for the past few decades. If you find Bob at your band's show, consider yourself blessed: SXSW performers consider him to be a harbinger of good luck.
XBXRX Then: Alabama discordant rockers/ dance partiers who were once banned in Canada after mouthing off to border officials. Now: The band broke up. Two members are currently acting as Quintron collaborators. One was spotted filming Skin Graft Records bands while at SXSW. No word yet on whether Celine Dion's homeland has forgiven them.
YEAH YEAH YEAHS Bikini Killed the radio star. At the much-hyped Brooklyn trio's show, Yeah Yeah Yeah's riot grrrl Karen O. howls her lungs out, spills beer all over the stage, and shakes around in a corset that covers her business with two giant, fake flowers. The poor boys playing Blonde Redhead-ish guitar and drums in the background don't stand a chance.
ZZZZ Forty shows in four days. If I never see another one, I'll die a happy girl.
Hey, wait! Aren't the Walkmen, Knife in the Water, and the Mendoza Line all playing in Minneapolis this week?