(Is really just part one of an on going series, as I am still a lil braindead and can't put it all into one post. I'm not one for brevity you see...)
“We’re about to crash into the sun. All of us! And that’s very bad.” My daughter Eva just screamed that from the bathtub as I sat down to write this, my SXSW ’08 wrap up. If she would have sent that warning two weeks ago, I might have run outside and welcomed the impending explosion with my arms wide open and my eyes tightly shut, but now that SXSW ’08 is all said and done – and hath been a smashing success – I’m going to hope that her five-year-old mind is just making things up.
For the past two years, I haven’t been able to write shit about the conference/festival I now call home for 12-14 hours a day between December and March, but this year I feel as though I have to. Generally, after the four day bacchanalia fest, I’m so wiped out that I really can’t muster up the energy to sit and actually think about what just went down. I also had to um, well, move along to the next hustle as my checks up until a few months ago were anything but regular.
But now, my life is on a different course. I’m duly employed, doing something I love and have loved to do on the side for some years, and yeah, things are a lot different.
Below you can see a ton of photos, just like you can see from years past if you click the archives over at HoustonSoReal. And from those photos – which many say are worth 1,000 words a piece - you can get an idea of the magnanimous undertaking that SXSW really is. It’s no mean feat, it’s no simple task, and this year, after eight years of having no real job to speak of, I immersed myself in it full bore. All the way. No turning back.
SXSW looks a lot different from the inside looking out. I liken it to any machine. Unless you take the machine apart and really study its mechanisms, you’ll probably have no idea how it works. That’s what bothers me most about SXSW’s critics. SXSW is the biggest and most useful and constructive party anyone has ever created in the history of the music business. It’s a complex puzzle put together by a relatively small group of individuals whose passion for the music supersedes their needs for sleep, and there’s haters out there who just love to talk shit about it.
I don’t normally take shit talking in stride, but as stated above, I’m an employee of this business now, and can’t take my personal feelings out on the nutsacks of the wieners who wanna whine about an event that drops more music, free beer, bar-b-q and opportunities on this two horse town for a few beautiful days every March than any other organization in the world.
But this is AustinSurreal, so I can talk a little shit, fuck it. (R.I.P. Pimp C – thanks for the inspiration brother).
First people I want to talk about are the critics who say “SXSW is no longer about new music and unsigned artists. It’s the big bands now who rule the roost.”
MOTHERFUCKER WE HAD 1,800 BANDS THIS YEAR! Are there even 1,800 bands signed to major labels in this world? Do you want to try and coordinate 1,800 bands on 80 stages over 4.2 nights? No, you don’t.
You also don’t seem to want to cover any of the indie/unsigned/new/local bands either. Every fucking writer that hit me up about this shit had the same questions. They weren’t asking things like “What’s the deal with these Norwegian rappers you are bringing?” “Who’s SouthBound and Ryno & Slim Gutta? Are they cool?” No they asked me how to get in touch with Ice Cube, Clipse and Bun B. They barely even gave a shit about Dizzee Rascal or Devin.
Then I sit and read the blogs and the papers and the magazines and it’s all about all the bands you would expect them to be about. It’s sad, cuz when I was growing up we had about 1/10th of the magazines, 1/16th of the radio stations, no internet, no satellite radio, and I think back then more music got thru to the masses than is getting through today. You can challenge me on that if you want to, but I pay attention and all I am seeing is a bunch of copy cat lazy ass motherfuckers all clamoring for the same thing.
It’s some bullshit (shout out to those who stick their necks out for the new shit. Please send me some links cuz I’m having trouble finding you.)
That my friends, is my biggest beef. The lazy ass media.
I feel like going off on some of the other critics (local Austin whiners who don’t like money being dumped on their city by the bucketful and who go and start mini “festivals” that run at the same time as SXSW…) never mind I’m not getting into that.
But “xxx,” I know who you are.
Fact of the matter is, I am not better than them, because instead of focusing on all the great things that came out of my SXSW experience, I’m complaining and honestly right now, at this moment, I have nothing to complain about. Except for the fact that I didn’t see Dokkebi Q play cuz I was caught up in craziness for most of Saturday. That’s it though. Wait, actually I’m also extremely annoyed that David Banner didn’t show up for his panel. But he did come out and rock his show, so whatever, I can’t complain too much.
And I won’t, in fact, I’m going to end this here, have a few beers and chill out and start working on my play by play run down in a separate post. People who hate complainers have probably already tuned out, and honestly, all the great things that happened last week deserve their own post.
And it was a great week. All that business about wanting to crash into the sun, went right away once the festival swung into full swing. The days approaching the fest, were some of the most stressfull, and nerve racking days I have ever spent, but that’s really only because I am a worry wart and have no faith in much of anything. Next year I have to remember that there’s really not so much to worry about.
SXSW went down, it goes down every year, it has for 22 years, and it will go down for years to come. And this my friends, it what really matters.