This is the last SXSW post for a while, I swear, but it’s the only one that really matters. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to present to you the second annual (last year’s awards are here and here) SXSW awards, which I am hereby affectionately dubbing “The Rutty Swesties.” Get it? Too bad. Let’s begin with…
Monotonix (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Holy moly. I’m not even sure if I’m that into these guys’ tunes, but you cannot help but be completely hypnotized by their antics. They seriously spent more time crowd surfing or climbing up the walls than standing on the stage, and most of the time they were playing their instruments on top of the crowd. Did I mention the fifteen minute drum solo while they changed an amp that they blew in the middle of the show? I’ve pretty much never seen anything like this, and what a way to close out the trip. If only they did fire tricks… OH WAIT:
The “I Can’t See These Guys Enough” Award
Gil Mantera’s Party Dream (Youngstown, OH)
Two clinically insane geniuses who strip down to their banana hammocks while simultaneously dancing their asses off, playing the shit out of matching Lucite guitars, and blowing everyone’s minds with their incredibly catchy electro-pop (which is drenched in vocoder vocals, brain-crushing hooks, and Stevie Nicks covers). Just go with it.
Runners up: Marnie Stern, Still’ Flyin
My take on the Vivian Girls record was that it was highly mediocre, so I was sure there was a reason these ladies were getting so much attention. I figured the live show was the key, and I really wanted to see what they were all about. Turns out they are all about: being somewhat cute, wearing short shorts, and not being able to play their instruments (or faking as such, which is even worse). I’ll take Marnie Stern’s sick chops any day of the week over this derivative slop.
Worst of the Worst
Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band
THEY ARE CALLED KEVIN DEVINE AND THE GODDAMN BAND.
Best Show of the Festival
The Titus Andronicus debut The Airing of Grievances is an odd and invigorating combination of erudite wordplay and punk rock sensibility; these guys have no problem quoting a few lines from an existentialist philosopher and then closing a song by screaming “Fuck you!” at the top of their lungs. It’s weird, and kinda great. But walking into a show after hearing an album like that, it’s tough to know if you are going to get the punks or the professors. About five seconds into their set, it was clear that the punks had come out to play. The setting was perfect: no stage, just a cleared out corner of a parking lot at a backyard barbecue. The crowd was stocked with uber-hipsters and gutterpunks alike, and everyone in attendance was treated to a simple, unpretentious, and completely furious ass-rocking. Kudos to you, Titus Andronicus. You win SXSW.
Runners up: Mojo Nixon, Monotonix
- Most Likely to Die in a Horrific Stagediving Accident: Ami Shalev of Monotonix (Tel Aviv, Israel)
- The “Nastiest Chops” Award: Marnie Stern (New York, NY)
- The “Prima Donna” Award for longest and fussiest soundcheck: The Rosebuds (Raleigh, NC)
- The “Please Don’t Ever Hang It Up, I Don’t Care HOW Fat You Get” Award: Mojo Nixon (Chapel Hill, NC)
- Shortest Shorts: Hutch Harris of The Thermals (Portland, OR)
- The “Nice Job Pissing Off The Meatheads In Front of Me” Award: HEALTH (Los Angeles, CA)
- Most Judy Garland T-Shirts Per Capita: Abe Vigoda (Los Angeles, CA)
- Most Brew Grooves Jammed: Still Flyin’ (San Francisco, CA)
And if you think I am going on about Marnie Stern’s chops too much, suck on this:
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