Friday, March 24, 2017

SXSW 2014 by the numbers

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Posted by teibs On March - 18 - 2014
@ZackTeibloom Whew. Another incredible SXSW in the books. Every year it reminds me why I moved here in early March, five years ago. SXSW is everything. The day before the fest started, I was resigned to being without a badge or wristband and hoped I could see a few shows and find a way to make the most of it. When a magical badge showed up thanks to Caitlin’s connection and my name got pulled for the Jay-Z and Kanye lottery, every little thing fell into place. I got to interact with my favorite sports journalist (Bill Simmons), see my two all-time favorite rappers in a tiny venue, sat in the first couple rows as my two favorite podcasts (Comedy Bang Bang & You Made It Weird) were taped live, talked to Max Fisher and George Bluth, had a long conversation with Gareth Campesinos, saw my new favorite band (White Sea) four times, saw my favorite up and coming indie rock band (Oberhofer) three times in one day and, aside from missing the Hendrix tribute show and a couple more comedy shows, I saw everything I dreamed and then some.
It was just perfect. For all the backlash about the vomit-y Gaga performance and explosion of corporate hoo rah blah blah, I had the best SXSW yet. I spent 10 days on my bike with Caitlin, navigating through throngs of festival goers, hopping all over this great city for the best Spring Break on Earth. Even after taking Sunday off, I’m still recovering Tuesday morning, but here’s a quick rundown of my SXSW in numbers
photo by itzbizket.com
Music
  • 30 shows seen that I saw enough of to properly rate.
  • 3 legends who wow’d me: Blondie, Kanye and Jay-Z: Blondie still completely has it at 68 and Kanye & Jay-Z is like an arm wrestle to see who’s the greatest rapper alive and everyone wins. Though my drunk live tweeting suggests Kanye won.
  • 1 legend I didn’t enjoy: Gary Numan – I guessed it would be fun to hear “Cars” and that the rest of his stuff would be equally enjoyable. Nope. As Caitlin said, “he’s trying too hard and looks like an old Billie Joe Armstrong.”
  • 4 bands worth seeing multiple times: 

  1. White Sea‘s Morgan Kibby had the best voice of the festival and her song writing is gorgeous, which made it mandatory for us to see four of her five SXSW shows.
  2. Oberhofer‘s new songs rocked so hard, we happily saw them three times … in one day. The new material is so strong we didn’t even miss our favorites from the first album.
  3. Charli XCX has turned from a pop star to a rock star, and even though we miss her pop hits, she still has enough pop star in her to bust out an “I Want Candy” cover at every show. I saw two, Caitlin saw three.
  4. Pale Hound is a young, budding college band with clever lyrics we saw earnestly play while a nude scene from “Starship Troopers” played one night and behind a book store in the rain during the day.
  • 4 buzz bands I was impressed by: 
  1. Jungle may really have just “that song” for now, but we really enjoyed that song. The rest was half good, half forgettable, but that song is just the best.
  2. TacocaT isn’t just that band with the song about periods. They’re a bad-ass 3/4 girl punk rock band.
  3. Har Mar Superstar has more soul than a balding fat man out of Minnesota should have. And he knows it.
  4. Magic Mouth It was a big gay dance party for these guys at Cheer Up Charlies and I loved every minute of it.
  • 2 friends in bands I was happy to see: Stamps and Ezra Furman – Festival Crashers’ own Andy Shore’s brother Rob plays bass in Stamps. I’d never seen them and was pleased to say I truly enjoyed their daytime show. The Michael Jackson PYT cover caused me to smile big at Rob when I recognized it, causing him to smile big back right back at me. I’d seen Ezra Furman a dozen times, but he sounded as good as ever with a sax player in his backing band of “boyfriends.”
  • 3 Buzz bands I thought were good, but nothing special: Temples, Wye Oak
  • 1 Buzz Band I hated: Future Islands – Band is fine, lead singer is incredibly obnoxious. Like Jeremy Piven hanging with 20 somethings.
  • 2 female-led Austin artists I should see more often: Ume and Jordan Valentin
  • 4 more Artists I’m glad I saw but don’t have much to say about since I wasn’t locked in the whole set: Monogold, Anamanaguchi, Kelela, Schoolboy Q, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings
Interactive & Parties
  • 55 free drinks that I can recall. This is an estimate. There were Jamison shots and apple cider and so many vodka sprites and white wine and all of the beers.
  • 2 Times I got drunk drunk I was hammered at the Jay-Z and Kanye show and pretty far gone the Saturday before Daylight Savings time.
  • 232 free parties signed up for via RSVPster and a friend’s master spreadsheet.
  • <10 of those parties actually attended and even less actually checked my RSVP.
  • 4 Man Crushes seen up close:
  1. Bill Simmons – His panel with 538’s Nate Silver needed a moderator, but it was fun to see Bill again and I got to ask about incorporating their video into other ESPN outlets, which led to an announcement of their video podcast network and putting Grantland video on ESPN the network. And I didn’t fanboy out!
  2. Pete Holmes I did fanboy out on Petey Pants, but he’s used to us weirdos. His podcast with Jim Bruer and others was by far the funniest thing I saw all festival and I had the privilege of meeting him after the show. I told him I’d listened to every single “You Made it Weird” podcast (500+ hours worth) and had spent a dozen hours compiling the best “Keep it Crispy” endings on his show and told him I always kept his laugh in, since he has the best laugh. He was touched and we hugged and posed for this pic. It was exactly how I’d hoped it would go down.
  3. Scott Aukerman – My buddy Janosch got to moderate a panel with Hot Saucerman, but I was content to see both live tapings of his podcast back to back. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, but last year I wore a Comedy Bang Bang t-shirt to his taping and he said “nice shirt,” so I didn’t have much else to say.
  4. Jason Schwartzman – This was the better of two always enjoyable “Overheard with Evan Smith” tapings. I got to ask him about having his first ever role being with Bill Murray and he gave a wonderfully charming answer about how even a decade later, just hearing Bill Murray say his name out loud makes him think “Holy shit, Bill Murray just said my name!”

So, that’s it. The wristbands are cut off. The moustache is shaved. The badge is tucked away in a special place in case I need to use it to crash something next year. I had the time of my life. Not everyone did. There were whiners. Lots of them. Not me. I got nothing but love for SXSW. It’s why I live here. It’s why I love here. Until next time.

Here’s every band I saw ranked:

The Throne

  • Kanye & Jay Z 9.9

Top flight

  • White Sea (4) 9.7
  • Oberhofer (3) 9.3

Great shows

  • Blondie 9.2
  • Har Mar Superstar: 9.1
  • Ezra Furman 9.0
  • Ume: 8.8
  • Magic Mouth 8.8

Good shows

  • Jungle 8.7
  • Charli XCX (2) 8.6
  • Stamps 8.5
  • Palehound (2) 8.4
  • TacocaT 8.4
  • Tysson 8.3

I enjoyed, but can’t rank

  • Monogold
  • Anamanaguchi
  • Jordan Valentin
  • Kelela
  • Wye Oak
  • Schoolboy Q
  • Blackie & the rodeo Kings
  • Temples

Hated It

  • Gary Numan 6
  • Future Islands 3

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