¡No Mas! Okay, Mas.

SXSW gives a girl more music than she could possibly need—but not as much as she wants

Am I going to have to take out a restraining order against David Cross? I ask myself as the Mr. Show star walks into a venue soon after me for the second evening in a row. Last night, I saw him at a solo show by Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. Tonight, we're watching Sloan, graying sons of Canada, who release endless albums of catchy, melodic power pop. As the whole crowd sings along to "Ill-Placed Trust," I send clumsy text messages over my phone, trying to find a friend in the throng.

I'm one of several people who are taking their first steps at texting down here, where meet-ups are always welcome but audio communication is often impossible. "Got 2 shake cross wiher r u?"


Left to right, three flavors of SXSW: Swan Island's dance-metal, Sloan's power pop, Sharon Jones's stone-cold funk
Sarah Askari
Left to right, three flavors of SXSW: Swan Island's dance-metal, Sloan's power pop, Sharon Jones's stone-cold funk

Sharon Jones is soul in control. Backed by the mathematically precise Dap-Kings, Jones gets onstage in a tent outside Emo's, and I feel my tendons and bones get so excited I worry my skeleton may hop right out of my skin. When she starts singing and her band starts Motown swinging, everything becomes bursting brass and shaking shoulders, sweaty hips and shouting horns. Her cool, sweet voice rides over all.

Is that what my dancing tendons and bones would've looked like if they'd broke free?, I wonder when I see Iggy Pop at Stubb's. The Stooges frontman seems to be a creature of leather and sinew, bare-chested and springing all over the stage as the seminal punk band starts in with perennial crowd-pleaser "I Wanna Be Your Dog." This is the sound that provided the raw material for half the bands at the festival, a living moment of history, and the entire audience cheers in gratitude to see the legacy alive and...and...his pants are about to slide down entirely, aren't they?

The last chord of the last official set of Saturday night is echoing in the air, but I'm not ready to give up the ghost just yet. As we head back to hotel beds and midmorning flights, I mentally draw up plans to re-create the SXSW experience back at home. It's a complicated endeavor requiring blocks of Nicollet Mall to be covered by weather-buffering plastic domes, the gutting and repurposing of the downtown Macy's, and the relaxation (or complete repeal) of open-container laws.

But first, Kinko's. We're going to need laminates, and lots of them.

See also: The SXSW Scrapbook photo gallery by Sarah Askari

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