SXSW Scrapbook

Sarah Askari

3/14: I mean, there are shows on Wednesday, but mostly all your skinny jeans and pompadours are still in line for the airport shuttle come sunset. Friendless and alone in my hotel room, I surveyed my options and decided to stay in and cut myself. Except I needed to eat first. I wandered around the neon-and-ruckus pinball machine of 6th Street and found carne guisado from a street cart. Then I ended up seeing the Bravery. Whether that was a better or worse way to end the night depends on your feelings about goth-gilded synth-rock dance beats, but I was into it.

3/15: PR flackette Christina Schmitt and I hiked for miles to rep local. Minneapolis's own duel combustion engine, Birthday Suits, were playing at record-stack shack Snake Eyes Vinyl, and we wouldn't miss it for the world, not even if that world included long madman-playing-a-haunted-house- pipe-organ metal jams and the stench of a dead rat weighing down the air and damn-you- Bam-Margera crazypants young men throwing themselves onto the hood of unsuspecting minivans. It's all in a day at Snake Eyes.

3/15: The Birthday Suits As Birthday Suits started their set, a drunk passer-by walked in front of the mic and shouted his own verses over their hyperventilating noise explosion. While Hideo's hands never left his guitar, his foot repeatedly connected with the interloper's ass, kicking him away from the microphone. Hideo started singing, the drunk took a swing at one of the Snake Eyes guys, and then everything was punching, wrestling, rushing-to-help show-goers, and Birthday Suits detonating underneath it all.

3/16: Swan Island "I have to ask that the televisions be turned off now," Swan Island's Brisa Gonzales said with complete confidence. Usually, men go to Irish pubs with the assumption they'll be able to have a pint and watch the game. But at SXSW, the princess of a queer-friendly dance-metal band might derail your night with her howling and hair-flipping violence.

3/16: Swan Island The set ended with Brisa pretending to hang herself with the mic chord and collapsing on top of a post-amp-dive Aubree (right), as the crowd of people who'd stopped to watch through the open-to-the-street windows erupted in applause.

3/16: The 50 Kaitenz I caught Ramones superfans The 50 Kaitenz at the Elysium's Japan Nite showcase. Fifties-style "oo-oo-oos," totally profesh garage rock, and lots of mugging to the crowd. Can't say it was my thing, exactly.

3/16: Sloan I died and went to Canadian power pop heaven, Sloan were playing there and did I just see Tobias Funke in the audience? Sloan fans are tall dudes who sing along to their melodic rock songs with total delight.

3/16: The Redwalls These kids sang poppy, happy harmonies with a really sweet energy and a spunky rock drive. I heard they just got dropped by Capitol, though. I think they won over everyone in the venue 'cause when I visited the ladies' room, girls were all, "Wow, who are these guys?"

3/17: Sharon Jones Sharon Jones maybe looked like she was about to chair a school board meeting, but she and the Dap-Kings tore the place up. It was a Motown cool and James Brown blazing set, wild punchy Dap-Kings brass knocking the wind out of your lungs and the sweet soul belting of Ms. Jones breathing life back into them. To everyone who was exposed to my dancing: I am sorry, but honestly what choice did I have? I can't even sit still while remembering this show.

3/17: Brother Ali Minneapolis's Brother Ali was all over the festival—I caught him at this short Flamingo Cantina set. It was St. Patrick's day, and I thought the audience was made up of local frat boys 'cause there was so much wearing o' the green—but they were singing along like madmen in the front row, down to the girl in the emerald tinsel wig.

3/17: The Stooges, Vice afterpartyI saw the Stooges but so did everyone. I couldn't get close enough to take a picture. Mike Watt was mouthing the words to all the songs, the Asheton brothers were beside the point, and Iggy was like one of the Body Worlds displays come to life, all muscles and confrontational frenzy: Dr. von Hagens, you thief, where is my body fat? He was on my same flight the next day, and I saw him walking with an uneven gait and some sort of corrective sandal on one foot, already in a tight shrunken ab-revealing shirt, it wasn't even noon yet. After the Stooges, I tried to tag along with some friends to the Vice afterparty. Our cab pulled up to a confusing lightshow of emergency response vehicle sirens and got no farther. Christina lept out to question one of the drunk rockers marching out of ground zero, and he told her that a balcony on the venue collapsed. No injuries, but everyone was being kicked out. (I read later that the afterparty continued on a bridge??)

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