SxSW 2011 Quick Hits & Misses
I’ll post reviews of some of my favorite happenings later, but here are some quick posts about some of this year’s SxSW happenings that I found.
- Flatstock 29 – Flatstock is a poster art show where artists from all around showcase their wares andoffer them to the public for sale. Since my first year of attending SxSW (2007), there has been a guy there named Brian Mercer who I think is an incredible artist and a helluva a nice dude. I think I have bought a poster from him every year and got to see him away from the art show in a few clubs during the week. I highly recommend his work, no matter if you’re a collector or you need some work done. Check out his site: Mercer Rock. There were a lot of other good artists there but most made posters for bands I had no interest in. Local artist Billy Perkins who sings for Butcherwhite was showing as well. He has a current collection of works in process called “77”. I picked up his Ace Frehely poster at FunFunFunFest a few months ago and this week picked up his Alice Cooper poster. I love his style. He also does band posters as needed.
- Wednesday night I wanted to get into the Warbeast/Arson Anthem show at Emo’s. The line was insanely long and none of the bands on the whole bill were really worth waiting that long for. I can catch Warbeast again as they play Austin pretty regularly.
- That same Wednesday I did get to catch Chicago’s Easy Action at the Ale House. I had seen them a year or 2 prior and enjoy their brand of garage punk rock. I met up with my friend Diane Kamikaze from WFMU. We met last year at VoiVod and became fast friends. She’s awesome and I’m glad I got to see her and her friend every day during the festival.
- I did get to see quite a few bands throughout the week that just didn’t do a thing for me. I won’t mention any by name but here’s a photo of one band from France that was pretty terrible except for their drummer. The caption should read, “My shorts are more FuBu than yours!” They were a ‘metal’ band, by the way. Luckily most of the other bands on the bill saved the night.
- People watching during SxSW is pretty interesting. The influx of hipsters and gutter punks is crazy. The hipsters seem to enjoy wearing vintage 80s “fashions” that really don’t fit. I don’t know…most of what I see on them looked bad back in the 80s and still looks bad now. I guess everyone’s got their thing, that just isn’t mine. I’ll stick to my 80s looks of black t-shirt, blue jeans and black boots. I at least wash my hair and bathe regularly. It’s also cool meeting some of the foreigners who attend the festival. After seeing the Bobby Liebling movie “Last Days Here“, I ran into some guys from Japan who were commenting on the patches on my jacket. I told them I was seeing Loudness pretty soon and one of the guys pulls out his travel case with a 25th anniversary Loudness sticker on it. He mentioned that their new drummer is a friend of his. We had a quick discussion about Japanese metal and then parted ways. The saw me again on the street the following night and handed me a CD of some J-Pop stuff. Nice guys.
- Street food/food trailers are a big thing in this town nowadays and even more so during the festivals. Simms’ BBQ trailer at the corner of 7th and Red River is top notch in my book. Their pulled-pork sandwich with pickles and onions really tastes like a McRib. At least this is real pork. Everything from this place is good. The other usual suspects did me right as well like The Hot Dog King, Kebabalicious and Jackalope. I did hit a veggie burger place yesterday that was pretty awful. I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and there was no line there…I now know why! I could not add enough pickles, spicy mustard and bbq sauce to drown out the nasty drabness of that burger. Lesson learned. Besides eating the street food, I am pretty sure I managed to lose some weight over the last few days. I did tons of walking and my feet and knees are aching, but it’s a good thing.
- Saturday morning I was able to catch The Rods at Cheapo Records at 11AM. While I’ve never been a fan of them, I wanted to go see them for posterity’s sake and to get the book signed. Mission accomplished. Their set was lively and some of their true fans were there and that was great to see. They were solid, I’m just not a big fan of their style of hard rock. Their bassist, Gary Bordonaro was really good though. I ended up seeing Gary and Carl Canedy on the street later that night as they were loading in for another gig downtown. Apparently Wendy Dio was in attendance for that one! Pretty cool.
- I got to run into a few folks that I’ve wanted to meet for a while. On Friday I ran into Wino from St Vitus at Scoot Inn and snapped a quick photo with him. Dude’s a legend. I didn’t make the Vitus show that night but heard it was good. earlier that day I went to the D’Addario showcase and to see The Alex Skolnick Trio. It was a fun show and Alex is a damned good player. He was giving out free copies of his latest CD. Repping for D’Addario was Frank Aresti from Fates Warning. Oh man. I’m a freak for early Fates Warning and especially the John Arch era. A friend of Frank’s told me he was going to be there so when given an oppurtunity I chatted with him a bit, snapped a photo or 2 and got him to sign the book as well. He told me a little about the upcoming album with John Arch and how John’s vocals still sound the same after 25 years. I can’t wait for it to come out. Before leaving I got to snap a show with both Alex and Frank. That will be a moment cherished forever.
- The Texas Guitar Show was pretty weak. Much smaller than last year and I’m sure the economy has a lot to do with that. Nobody was making deals either. I did find one 80s Fender Jazz bass that I was interested in and he had it listed at or slightly above book value. I offered a few hundred less and he said “all prices are what they are.” Fine, I put my credit card back in my wallet and moved on.
All in all this has been a fun week. I’m super tired, my feet and knees are killing me, I think my liver stopped working and I think I could go without seeing another band for a good week or 2…but I will make one more trip out this evening when Danava plays again. They were my highlight of the festival along with spending time with Pentagram, both of which I will post about later.