Donnybrook Does SXSW 2KX
Donnybrook attended the SXSW Musical Festival of Activities and we saw a great many sights. We saw some things that made us say to ourselves, “That is so Raven.” Then sometimes we saw things that made us conversely say, “No, that is not at all Raven.” We laughed, we cried, we bathed in velveteen piles of swag and eagerly drank waterfalls of free booze–what else is new–in fact keep your eyes peeled to One Track Mind. I hear they kept a running tally of how many free drinks they imbibed.
So anyways, over tea this morning I says to Father Guido, we should rate everything we saw with a pinkies up and pinkies down method, so that’s what we did. Father Guido responded by simply sipping his tea, pinky up, which either means he enjoyed the notion or he wasn’t listening.
The New Pornographers Free Booze/Tunes Shuttle: an enthusiastic pinky up
Right after witnessing Vern Troyer getting tossed into an SUV like a bag of sand, we rode the New Pornographers free shuttle into town, which was even cooler than witnessing Vern Troyer getting tossed into an SUV like a bag of sand. The inside of the bus was multicolored and covered in fur, the open windows blasting a rainbow of keg cups around like confetti, there was a heaping pile of booze in the very bumpy backseat, and enthusiastic Matador Records employees were blasting the new album. Not only were we grateful for the free ride, but it was a decidedly merry way to start SXSW.
It came late, but rock n roll is never on time.
I would almost buy the new album Together on principle alone because of Matador’s marketing techniques, but on its own the album really was really really great. Upbeat and celebratory and a brilliant next step for the New Pornographers, it was the perfect music to spill an entire drink on your crotch to.
Pictureplane DJing the SESAC party: pinkies up for non-conformity Whilst sitting in the mid-morning sun on the balcony of the gorgeous Driskill Hotel, the environs of which the Donnybrook elite are accustomed to–mimosas, a full breakfast spread (including carmelized onions!!!), really cool swag (a flash drive bracelet!!! Stetson cologne for men!!!), and an elite guest list–our new hero from Denver, Pictureplane, spun tunes in a Ministry t-shirt, throwing on a loud gangsta rap number with a refreshingly blunt refrain: “I’m high like a bitch, high like a bitch, high like a bitch, high like a bitch. I’m high like a bitch, high like a bitch, high like a bitch.” I looked over at him and I thought I saw him giggling in his tea. I knew he was great and I love “Goth Star,” but now I like him even more.
Pictureplane DJing the fancy SESAC pahty
The iHeartComix/Jelly/Maddecent Carniville party: seizures aren’t fun
Remember when you were 12, and you and your friends amped yourselves up on a suicide slushy and snorted some Ritalin and downed a wine cooler and turned on the strobe light and ate a pickle and smoked a cigar and jumped on the trampoline? That is exactly what this party felt like.
Parts of the lineup were really good: the Very Best, Major Lazer, Diplo, Sleigh Bells, Kid Sister, and Yacht. There were carnival rides, cotton candy, free beer, and the American Apparel flea market next door….so on paper, a brilliant little wonderland of neon delights.
But in practice it was unbearable! The openers were so horrific, and not in an ignorable kind of way. In a seizure-inducing way. After about an hour of speed-crunk-gay-hooker-rap, it starts to anger you in a place deep deep down inside. Throw some Washed Out in there for a palette cleanser or something at least. I think I almost died of annoyance.
The NPR Party: a pinky up for the lineup
In a world where free booze and swag dominates, the NPR party scores high on lineup alone. I know–actual music! Sleigh Bells, Surfer Blood, Local Natives, G-Side, Smith Westerns, and Brooklyn Rider. We talked to Stephen Thompson about their interesting choice to start the festivities off in such a high-brow fashion, with stringed quartet Brooklyn Rider, and he said the audience was digging it because everyone likes to feel unique and fancy. We know all too well about that feeling.
Then we drank a free PBR while listening to the Smith Westerns‘ down and dirty love songs. The Smith Westerns are a teenage band who play pop songs that sound like expert adult musicians trying to play teenage pop songs. It’s confusing and really great.
The Smith Westerns sang “Oooh baby let’s just make out” through curtains and curtains of great hair. Next Pantene spokesmodels?
Warpaint: let’s give it up for intensely talented and beautiful ladies I had wanted to see Warpaint long ago, so lucky for me they were playing after the vibrant rock band the Henry Clay People at the Aquarium Drunkard party at Lambert’s.
Experimental indie rock along the lines of Yeasayer, Warpaint‘s music has a primal feel seething just below the watery surface; the fact that they’re also gorgeous girls is a fact that did not go unnoticed by the enthusiastic crowd. The experimental atmosphere they create is less dissonant noise and more soothing and rain-foresty; and their recorded music has a ton of latin echoey percussion. Dreamy, and sleepy.
In the middle of the set they did the strangest thing–they jammed! We’re talking full-throttle instrumental noodlings gone amok. And you know what? It worked. They lulled the audience into a dreamy trance so the jamming just made sense, and I left the set feeling slightly groggy, like I had just woken up from a dream or…something else entirely.
Celebrity Spotting: indeed!
The season was ripe for celebrity-spotting, as we saw Bill Murray at Koriente, Vern Troyer at the airport, Joseph Gordon-Levitt at his fictional girlfriend’s show (Zooey Deschanel from 500 Days of Summer) at Rachel Ray’s party, as well as Rachel Ray herself. Being Donnybrook, we were of course invited up to all of their private suites to be wined and dined with spreads of imported cheeses and freshly flown-in hookers.
The Luke Savisky Installation at the Austin Museum of Art: feeding our narcissism
They had an excellent pop art music poster exhibit, but the thing that trapped us for a long time was Luke Savisky’s installation. It was a curtained-off room with cameras that projected the images of the people all over the walls, along with the shadows and silhouettes of a hanging cage. It was like a fun house, where you never knew where your face was going to be projected.
Angora Holly Polo’s face on the big screen, as it should be
The Governor’s Party Swag Bag: a Donnybrook-worthy spread
The Governor’s party is an elegant relaxing oasis each SXSW. We dined on bacon-wrapped partridge at sunset looking out on the lake, took some Annie Ray photo booth pics, and got swag bags with bottles of vodka in them and tons of coupons. Birds Barbershop gave a free haircut away, so naturally Father Guido Sarducci IV decided to shave a lightning bolt into the side of his head. Upon arrival, Birds Barbershop gave Guido and Angora each a free Lonestar Lite beer, and proceeded to give Guido the coolest ‘do ever:
It’s not quite lightning bolts but it’s almost there. It’s kind of like Charlie Brown or a Native American drum head!
The Pulled-Pork Sandwich from Lambert’s: dog food
In a sea of free shit, I decided to splurge at the Aquarium Drunkard party because the pulled pork sandwich from Lambert’s looked so good; so I paid $6 and got two pieces of bread with what looked like rat intestines in between. Who knows, maybe I got a bad one. But they also charged me $17 for two red bull vodkas so I’m bitter.
However their Frito pie, with brisket and goat cheese, was absolutely amazing!
Friend Island: a party brought to you by Home Tapes and Forcefield PR One Track Mind brought us to this adorable party with pancakes, boozed-up fruit punch, nachos, candy, and happy Brazilian music coming from Garotas Suecas! All free, of course. Everyone was in great spirits. The benevolent bearded nice guy slinging pancakes was generous and the nacho guy was cracking jokes, making fun of people ordering water, and put about a cup of tequila in the nacho cheese. What a great party.
Garotas Suecas. Don’t they make you happy just looking at them?
The Fool’s Gold showcase at Malverde: hot hot hot!
The crowd was lively and the backdrop was scenic, the stage in front of an open view of the city lights of Austin. Theophilus London‘s jazzy soulful new wave set was silhouetted brilliantly against the night sky as he enchanted two groups of girls competing for his attention.
Telephoned is a DJ/female rapper duo between Sammy Bananas and Maggie Horn, both lively and decked out in mod ’60s suit and dress, Maggie Horn dancing largely and theatrically and spouting lyrics along the lines of, “Bitch, I eat you for breakfast.”
VEGA, featuring Alan Palomo of Neon Indian fame, played synth-driven dance music. With the open air and plants hanging from the high ceiling, it felt like Miami in 1980–had I been alive and in Miami then to compare.
Alan Palomo in an awesome three-eyed cat sweater at the keyboard
OH NO ONO’s outfits!
Thanks to One Track Mind’s suggestion, we caught two sets by the virtuosic Danish band OH NO ONO on Friendly Fire recordings with the likes of Elk City (who we also caught). OH NO ONO’s music was tight and trippy, flying off into new sonic territory with psychedelic backflips and almost glam harmonies. But their outfits were the best. The lead singer was wearing a pin-striped onesy, the drummer looked totally like Sick Boy, the keyboardist was wearing awesome suspenders, and a few of the members sported ’80s side-afros. There was an excellent cloak and a whimsical cap with a feather involved in it at the second showing. After every song, the drummer stood up and did a grandiose bow, and the bass player spoke adorable, thickly-accented pleasantries.
This picture doesn’t do their outfits justice. Stay tuned to SXHugfest for a great hat picture of OH NO ONO
Paradise Cafe’s Balcony: beauty and leisure
We saw These United States and Horsefeathers at Paradise Cafe, and drinking a beer on the balcony ain’t bad neither. Would you look at this?
These United States do an interview with Seattle Show Gal
The Filter Party: lame-sauce
The worst thing ever is waiting in line for an hour and the people throwing the party aren’t even there to stop a big crowd from mobbing in front of you in slow motion. The party must have sucked on the inside, because Fool’s Gold, sounding awesome as usual, took their tropical dance party and conga-line out of the venue, taking off in a pedicab while still playing. Two pinkies up for that exit!
LA’s Fool’s Gold takes their show to the streets in a pedi-cab.
The Weather: double-lame
This is the second festival in a row lamed-out by the weather–the first was Monolith, which became a cold rainy nightmare so we drank in the press tent all day. At SXSW this year we forced ourselves to march into the cold, ill-prepared for the weather (we had packed all tank tops and shorts and sundresses), because it was the last day of the festival, goddamnit! Then by nightfall we weren’t having it so Ish and Esteban from Coma in Algiers brought pizza over to our hotel and learned us about the forefathers of magical realism, which was pretty awesome. They are just as entertaining in person as their live show, though in wildly different ways! They also told us about GaybiGayGay, which we’ll have to check out next year.
The Mile-Hi Fidelity Party: Bravo!
This year the Mile-Hi peeps made us proud with a great party at Habana Calle 6. With the stage back in a nice courtyard that lets out by the creek, drinking Stranahan’s Whiskey, it was a nice lil Denver reunion in the midst of the madness.
Denver’s Houses puts on a fantastic show as per usual at Habana Calle 6
Stay tuned for more coverage from other Donnybrook writers, as well as SXHugfest!
*The front page excerpt is 72% untrue