South by Southwest: a one-of-a-kind music, film & interactive conference held annually in the capital of Texas. It’s my 11th time visiting Austin but my seventh SXSW in a row. South by serves its purpose but it’s also a zoo, sometimes a sweaty orgy.
Off the plane and my boys Pio & Stout from Lodi picked me up and were quick to blaze and crack open a bottle of warm whiskey. Damn it’s hot outside. I’ve been so used to the recent Montreal cold & the multiple layers of clothing hiding our beautiful women that as as soon as I hit Austin, the short shorts, skirts and cowboy boots were very hard on me (get it? :) These Austin ladies love showing off their tanned skin and butt cheeks.
People here don’t fuck around. Their slogan is true to the t-bone — “Keep Austin Weird” — and trust me, it’s weird. Aside from the over abundance of smelly hicks and mutant vagabonds, there’s an amazing art and music scene along with eccentric characters that I dearly love and admire. A lucid dose of Dick Linklater vibes.
My biggest problem in Bat-Town has been the Austin police. Since my first inception @ SXSW, I’ve consecutively had altercations with police officers. My first altercation was my first day on Texan soil, in the middle of 6th street while chugging a bottle of rum like it was gaytorade [sic], all while my friend Angel Deradorian (of Dirty Projectors) was babysitting me. That’s when officer #1 (ON A HORSE) screamed, “WTF do you think ya doin’ BOY?”
I knew I was screwed when he asked me to spread my legs and proceeded to feel up my entire body & crotch. He then went through my wallet and sees my Quebec ID and asks laughingly, “Ya from Kebeck. Ya speak French?” I replied, “Oui oui man, j’adore le jambon Canadien & it’s my first time in Austin and I don’t know your rules — I cum in peace.” He again laughed and kindly asked me to get my ass out of his face. Six years later, officer #8 took me back to the police department to feel me up (again) and made me blow (into) something.
My first taste of music of the day was at the Mohawk, at an event organized by Queue, who are old hoodrat friends of mine from Sacramento. They got me a VIP wristband to drink whatever my liver desired for free. My sidekick of the day was my old friend Marisa from Sacto — she hates it when I mention that she represents a roster of dead people at Sony Music (Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley & Incubus.) Her and I abused the bar & hit up the main stage for Beach Fossils. Lo-fi pop and pretty fun. The singer totally loves himself and acts like Ferris Bueller off stage but I still give him the time of day cause the band makes my ass pucker up a little.
Up next was Thurston Moore’s new band, Chelsea Light Moving. On stage, Thurston still has that 16-year-old spirit. The dude is an amazon in many ways. I didn’t care if his songs were good or not, it’s Thurston fucking Moore, & I made the sign of the cross after every song. During CLM, A publicist from Kansas asked me, “Who is this kid on stage? He’s gonna be huge!” As soon as he looked away, I hocked a loogie in his drink. Idiot.
Now, seeing Thurston is one thing, but kicking it with him? That’s a dream come true right? Well I DID IT. We shot the shit over some drinks and lettuce in the vip lounge. He loved that I was born and raised in the same hometown as his good friend Stephen Malkmus. I started calling him THURSTY. He loved it.
On another stage was Toronto’s Moon King (members of Doldrums & Odonis Odonis). I booked their first show ever & I was actually in this band but they kicked me out after our first soundcheck. We still hella tight tho. After getting them multiple beers, their live set took me to their planet. I don’t know what if that planet is called Moon King but I think so. They all have that serial killer on acid look in their eyes. I’ve seen them more than anyone & I’m not gonna stop loving these bros with B.O.
Next on the agenda was Planet Quebec. I work with this organization that basically hosts a dozen showcases promoting Quebec artists at the swanky Swan Dive on Red River street. The opening cocktail was packed and had a line-up of 500 people outside. Picture a room half-full of tanned Americans, the other half Quebecers with pale skin and farmer tans. We were all there to see Half Moon Run. I’ve booked and helped this band since their beginning & they love me and gave me a shout out ;) I think their story is something like this: The singer used to be Leonardo Dicaprio’s stunt double but opted to start a band with dudes he met on Craigslist. The band itself are a chick magnet and will def be a modern-day Radiohead to a bunch of younger kids that don’t know who Thom Yorke is.
I finished off the night with my old boss and sidekick Rory. We had to go support our boys from the LBC, Delta Spirit. I used to kick it with this band when they played at bonfires and chanted the nights away with their best friends Cold War Kids. This is all before these bands grew facial hair of course. I am honoured that these guys all let me into their houses to pee wherever I wanted. Since then, Delta Spirit made their way onto Rounder Records and toured the world. These guys are nothing but good. Lot of hippie Southern soul vibes with KILLER stoner/biker riffs. They crashed on my MTL floor a couple of years ago & fell in love with la Belle Province. They claim that the Tams Tams changed their lives.
Thinking the night was over, I was stumbling back to my hotel but bumped into Doldrums & Blue Hawaii. We decided to go for another round but I don’t remember anything past that point and blacked out, again. I think Arick of Doldrums put something in my drink. ■
Real Mexican food, finally
Inspirational taxi drivers
Cheap alcohol avail everywhere till 2 a.m.
Sunshine, all day
The Habs won
Thurston Moore putting his hand on my hand & shoulder
ATM machine fees
Creepo doucheroni dudes leering at barely clothed cocktail waitresses