A few things interfered with my enjoyment of SXSW this year, and they were all boneheaded, clumsy things absolutely not related to the festival at all.
First, I lost an unopened pack of cigarettes right before the Pistol Valve showcase on Friday, which didn’t put me in the right frame of mind to see the band. Then tonight I discovered I made a banking error that left me overdrawn by $900. Yes, you read that right. I also lost my lighter at the very last venue I attended. I guess the universe is telling me to quit smoking.
The weather this week has been absolutely gorgeous, and every evening was beautifully cool and breezy. I noticed, however, every night I returned from shows, I was not a sticky, sweaty mess. I can account for Wednesday — the Hideout is a theater, not a club, so there was no crush of sweaty bodies. For the remaining nights, I ended up at places with patios, the only places where you can legally smoke in Austin, so I spent quite a bit of time outdoors. I also didn’t stay for the entire Japan Nite on Friday.
A friend of mine questioned whether I was maximizing the cost of my SXSW wristband. This year, I strove for quality, not quantity. Yes, $130 is a lot to pay for admission to clubs for four night, but I would like to enjoy the shows I go to with that wristband. And that means feeling comfortable. If there’s no incentive for me to stay till last call, why should I? If I’m not feeling wowed by a performance, why shouldn’t I find someplace to park my ass? I’d rather give my feet a rest than suffer through a showcase for which I feel ambivalent.
At the same time, I knew beforehand — judging by sound samples and name recognition — the pull to the showcases I normally like wouldn’t be as strong. SXSW 2007 marks the ninth festival I’ve attended. I’ve developed a feel for what might win me over.
This is a recaplet before the real review gets posted.
Nekomushi: Very theatrical. But I missed most of the performance because nature called, and there was a line to get back in.
Metalchicks: Couldn’t really hear the synthesizer effects, but Sugar Yoshinaga can thrash with the rest of them.
The Spunks: Songs about the lead singer’s tiny penis. Straight-forward purist punk — none of this pop-punk shit — which doesn’t really need much elucidation.
Gitogito Hustler: Left of Mummy the Peepshow and right of Kokeshi Doll.
Because of the aforementioned line to get back into Nekomushi, I cut my losses and skipped on Asakusa Jinta. Can’t say I was very much interested in seeing them, though. Hiromi and boris coincided with the Spunks.
bloodthirsty butchers releases a new album, titled Guitarist wo Korosonaide, on May 16, so says Bounce.com. The album will be the first release of the butchers’ new self-run label, 391 tone. The creation of the label also comes at a time when the band is about to celebrates its 20th anniversary. Yoshimoto Nara, who designed the cover of 2005’s banging the drum, returns to design the cover of the new album.
This is a recaplet till the real review gets posted.
Overall theme of the night: Japanese women with horns.
Oreskaband: I’m not into ska, but I liked the band’s performance enough to get a t-shirt.
The50Kaitenz: I fucking hate garage rock.
Pistol Valve: I had a lousy view of the stage, so it wasn’t until toward the end of the set, when a few people went for beers, that I got a full appreciation for the spectacle of 10+ Japanese women playing horns.
GO!GO!7188: Yuu and Akko know how to strike the rock star pose, and even though I’ve been neglectful of following the band for the past six years, last night made me see the light.
I skipped out on HY because judging from the samples I heard, I knew they were going to be Core of Soul all over again. I’ve also seen the Emeralds before. See my comment about The50Kaitenz.
I knew the risk of attending shows by performers with a vast back catalog, when I’ve only listened to one album of theirs. But I went to the Bob Mould showcase anyway because, well, nothing else really grabbed my attention on the Thursday schedule.
(I opted not to see Cho Brother-Sister, nor Akiyama Tetsuji. I listened to their MP3 samples, and they weren’t enough to convince me to go.)
I didn’t know how difficult it would be to get into the show, so I decided to show up a showcase early just in case. I wasn’t the only person to come up with that plan. The line to get into Buffalo Billiards snaked along Brazos St. I got in half way through Say Hi to Your Mom. (Not bad, but not my thing, either.)
The evening started a smidgen to the ominous side when I headed to a garage where I usually park for SXSW and saw it was charging $10. I was willing to pay for the convenience and waited for an attendant to show up. And I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.
OK. I know locals can get bitter about SXSW, but the church who owns the lot probably wouldn’t take too kindly to a loss of business. But lose it they did, and I gingerly backed out of the entrance and circled the block a few more times. I ended up parking in a state government lot across from the capitol. Free beats $10 anytime.
Of course, that meant a lengthy walk from 10th and Congress to 7th and Red River. It was 10 minutes to show time, and when I arrived at the Beauty Bar, there was a line extended past the block. Huh. Most SXSW venues are more than happy to open the doors and start taking liquor orders at least half an hour before show time.
Quruli releases a new single on May 30, followed by a new album on June 27, so says Bounce.com. Details about either release have not been revealed, but the band launched a recording diary on its official site to keep fans informed of new developments. The release of the new album follows the departure of guitarist Omura Tasshin last year.
Yes, it’s been quiet here at Musicwhore.org headquarters. I could hide behind an excuse of preserving my energy for SXSW, but the truth of the matter is my attention has been distracted by non-blogging toys.
I’m far enough behind with "365 Days, 365 Files" that I’m pretty sure it’ll be more like "330 Files" or "298 Files". I’ve already decided not to post audio entries during SXSW, and in late April, I’m heading to Honolulu for a week. I’ll most likely not have access to a computer, so I won’t be posting at all.
The last pieces of Cocco ephemera are two a capella b-sides. "Mafuyu no Suika" was the middle track on her "Kemono Michi" single, and "Ai no Uta" was a hidden fifth track on the "Yakenogahara" single.
"Mafuyu no Suika" is a children’s piece along the lines of "Chiisana Ame no Hi no Kuwamui", which opens the Kumuiuta album. It’s short and to the point, concentrating on the natural timbral beauty of Cocco’s voice.
"Ai no Uta", on the other hand, sounds like a parting gift, which at the time it was. With a "We Will Rock" beat tapped and clapped, Cocco delivers a simple message with a simple melody: "Love ya!"