SXSW 2013: Festival highs and lows
Another year, another SXSW under our belts. This year’s fest was a success, as usual—copious amounts of free booze, fun, and good tunes—but it was also cray as hell. CRAY, you guys.
In case you weren’t able to make it down to my beautiful city, here’s a little recap on what you missed:
1) Best show I saw: Tegan and Sara at the T-Mobile House Party at Papi Tino’s. It was so intimate and fun. They are just the most wonderful ladies. I’m 100% straight, but I would be Tegan’s girlfriend in a second.
2) Weirdest show I saw: Riff Raff at Scott Inn. If you’re wondering who that is, it’s this^ guy (who James Franco based his character on for his new movie Spring Breakers). He had a whole crew on stage with him (like 6 people, one of which was a Lil Wayne wannabe, one of which looked like a troubled youth he just picked up off the street), and when he finished his set, he literally just disappeared. We looked up and didn’t even realize he had left…it was so strange.
3) Best laid back fun + free stuffs: GSD&M Industry Party. Free East Side Kings noms, Reggie Watts and Delta Spirit, photobooth fun (which is secretly one of my top 3 favorite things in life), and free booze out the ass. And because it wasn’t just free RSVP, the people inside were actually pretty decent and not jackoff college kids.
4) Worst realization: The 90s are back. I’m serious. The 90s are back, but more specifically, 90s fashion is back. Grunge, white-wash denim, crop tops, SCRUNCHIES, these shirts (seriously, they are EVERYWHERE), Blossom style, and teeny-tiny backpacks (I KNOW). I just don’t think I’m ready for this yet.
5) Worst fake health-based accessory trend alert: Canes. That’s right, the new big tend is canes. I saw more perfectly capable (read: young) people walking around with the “aid” of a cane that I care to mention. And I think only ONE of them actually seemed to have some sort of ailment that necessitated the actual use of a cane. But more and more each day, I saw hipsters walking around with fucking canes just for looks. They’re they new fake glasses, and they’re ridiculous.
6) Cutest keyboardist/lead singer: Chazwick Bradley Bundick of Toro Y Moi. They played a great show despite some serious audio issues at the start of it at the Dickies tent at Lustre Pearl. He’s just so cute I want to put him in my pocket. After we make out. But you get the idea.
7) Best show I stayed up too late for: The Divine Fits at the Dickies showcase at Lustre Pearl.They were really fantastic; Britt Daniel especially. I just frigging love that guy. He’s so nerdy looking and unassuming, but he’s a fucking amazing rock star and I love it. Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner (though he looks like a cracked out Nicolas Cage vampire), also had a killer performance. I still don’t have solid hearing back in my right ear, but it was totally worth it.
8) Most overrated/mostly worth it venue: As usual, this honor goes to Fader Fort. And this is really a toss up, as it could easily be Best Big Free venue too. But this year was nuts. I did see Solange on Wednesday night, which was great. But I had no idea they kick you OUT right after the last performance. Like, shut it down, man. And Solange didn’t even have a surprise guest! And that night I waited in line for about 1.5 hours. On Saturday, I headed there for what I thought would be my last big SXSW shebang, only to get in a line that was totally heinous. I waited in line for an hour, and barely moved 3 yards. I would have gotten in probably 2 hours later. There are very few things I would wait in the sun 3 hours for; kissing Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a hug from Gary Oldman, or going to see Conan do anything. Sure, they free booze is the bomb, but I just hate that it’s such a huge fucking deal now. And they didn’t even get us surprise guests every night! BOO. (Cue my crotchety old lady syndrome.)
9) Worst evolution: The crowds. I know it seems like every year it gets bigger and bigger, but from last year to this year, the fest fucking EXPLODED. It was so much harder to get into even the free RSVP stuff, the lines were 5 times longer, and the types of people it brought with it were more annoying than usual.
The worst offender of this was the Waterloo stage. Last year, I saw fun. there and I just walked up and found myself a spot, all casual like, and listened to their whole set without feeling like I was going to get trampled to death by the crowd. This year, I went there to maybe catch a glimpse of Tegan and Sara followed by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and LORD HAVE MERCY. This is how riots start, I thought. Luckily, I had already seen the wonder twins, so I killed time by getting free beer until Macklemore and Ryan Lewis went on, but even as the Tegan and Sara crowd abated the Macklemore crowd moved in and I was immediately crushed by my overwhelming claustrophobia. It was fucking so intense, and not worth it. They ended up sounding like shit anyway. I was just so surprised at how that venue had gotten so out of hand that I didn’t even have it in me to stick around any longer.
10) Most predictable letdown: I DIDN’T SEE JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE ONCE.
I don’t know, maybe this was my last real hurrah with SXSW, maybe next year I’ll say ‘just one more!’ I just felt like this year it was a totally different world, and I don’t know how I feel about it.
But overall, I had a great time at SXSW as usual! Even though I sound bitter about some stuff, it’s always a good time. Until the next time…