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South by Southwest Awards ’09

March 25th, 2009 | Comments Off | Posted in Entertainment, Music, Personal, Photos

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…

Best Suprise

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

Most Overrated

Vivian Girls

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


Best Show of the Festival

Titus Andronicus

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

Technical awards:

  • 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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SXSW ’09 Band Photos are up!

March 24th, 2009 | Comments Off | Posted in Music, Photos

I’ve posted all my favorite SXSW artist shots from this year on Flickr. I selected about 130 out of about 6000.  I think I did OK; not as good as I’d hoped.  I think I need to be more pushy in the front row, but without a camera tag, I feel guilty squeezing in there.  I also had to leave my camera at home for most showcases (aka nighttime shows) on the worry that the larger venues wouldn’t let me in with an untagged camera.

I also have some really great shots of friends, food, interesting people, etc, that I will sort through and post shortly.  I wanted to get the artist shots up ASAP.

Anyways, here are some of my favorites from the week, in case you don’t want to look through them all, followed by the full slideshow.

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SXSW ’09 Band Tally

March 23rd, 2009 | Comments Off | Posted in Music

Got back late last night, exhausted (although suprisingly chipper) and glad to be back.  Had a blast; met some fine folks, drank some cold beverages, ate some delish Tex-Mex, and (of course) saw some great shows. Total count this year is 56 bands and one comedian, not inlcuding five repeat viewings. That’s a tie with last year; I tried to hit 60 but wasn’t able to pull it off.

I’ve got over 6000 photos to sort through, and I’ll get those up soon.  I’m also planning on doing a second annual SXSW awards (’08 awards are here and here) within the next few days, but in the meantime here’s my list for SXSW ’09:

Abe Vigoda (x2)
Alberta Cross
All the Saints
Andrew Bird
Au Revoir Simone
Bishop Allen
Crystal Antlers
Deer Tick
Eugene Mirman
Gil Mantera’s Party Dream
Graham Coxon
Gringo Starr
Holy Liars
Horse Feathers
Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band
Little Boots
Loch Lamond
Marnie Stern
Max Tundra
MC Sweet and the Alisons
Mojo Nixon
Mount St. Helens Vietnam Band
Paper Chase
Psychadelic Horseshit
Quiet Hooves
Red Cortez
Solid Gold
Still Flyin’
Thao Nguyen and The Get Down Stay Down
The Dirty Projectors
The Donkeys (x2)
The Grates
The Intelligence
The Mae Shi (x2, second time w/ Kid Static)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Thermals
The Uglysuit
The Week That Was
The Wheel
Titus Andronicus
Venice is Sinking
Viva Voce (x2)
Vivian Girls (x2)
What Laura Says
Winter Sounds

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What would wolves do?

April 16th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in Music
The newest Les Savy Fav video, from their fantastic 2007 record Let’s Stay Friends, as described by
A pair of intrepid explorers find themselves on a strange planet and wind up in a cave with some fish-scaled cherubs who party like there’s no tomorrow. Then it gets weird.
Good stuff, take a look for yourself:
Listening to: Islands – Creeper
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March 26th, 2008 | Comments | Posted in Music, Personal, Photos

I’ve finished developing and uploading my SXSW pics, so here’s the final set:

Listening to: Rush – Rivendell
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