After an obscene amount of Lone Star beer, numerous stops at various food trucks, an untold number of incredible shows, three band-aids applied to scrapes and cuts, and fourteen hours plus of driving back to Tucson, my time at SXSW has come to a glorious end. Here’s the last round-up.
Mutillation Rites - Caught this scorching black metal band at an all-day Prosthetic Records at the down ‘n’ dirty Long Branch Inn. This incredible and LOUD four-piece played with such ferocity they blew a circuit not once, but twice. I talked to the drummer afterwards, looks like they’re planning a trek through the southwest over the summer. If you’re a fan of Deicide, Discharge and Mayhem, make sure to check ‘em out.
The GZA - The GZA, aka The Genius, aka Maximillian, is the oldest and the most mysterious member of the infamous Wu-Tang Clan. Performing more than half of the flawless Liquid Swords album, plus a few Wu staples, The GZA had the full-sized crowd shadowboxing and half-stepping while he spat rhymes chock-full of kung-fu metaphors. Never failing to be outspoken and socially conscious, his parting words were "Don't fuck with beef, stay away from that shit, shop at Whole Foods."
Creed Bratton - “I know exactly what he's talking about. I sprout mung beans on a damp paper towel in my desk drawer. Very nutritious, but they smell like death.” Yes, that Creed. From The Office. Few people know that Creed was a founding member of the 60s pop outfit The Grass Roots (c’mon, you know “Midnight Confessions”). Creed and his backing band played a few numbers, told a few jokes, and in my mind confirmed the fact that dude isn’t acting, he really is Creed.
Sleigh Bells - The one show I saw where I was heavily conflicted. On one hand, I’m amazed that what is essentially a noise band has gotten so much buzz and mainstream accolades, but on the other I’m just upset that Atari Teenage Riot never got to perform on Saturday Night Live. After watching metal bands all day, I wasn’t really in the mood for a band that’s all hype and buzz and short on actual great material. However, front-woman Alexis Krauss is a show unto herself, and not slacking in the beautiful department. Also; waaaay to many bros in leprechaun hats fist-pumping, this was St. Paddys Day after all.
OFF! - I ended my first SXSW excursion on an explosive high-note, catching OFF! at a small outdoor stage. A punk rock supergroup of sorts, OFF! has a Hot Snake, a Burning Bride, a Redd Kross, and the finest of punk rock frontmen, Black Flag/Circle Jerk Keith Morris. Playing a half hour of songs never going over the two minute mark, everyone in the crowd was blown away by the short macine gun bursts of intensity. Stage diving and slam dancing commenced in no time, the photographers up front didn’t stand a chance, I saw one guy’s Canon get kicked into his face by an errant stagediver. Keith Morris, never short on between song banter, went on about lost friendships and new camaraderies, lost loved ones and lost wars in foreign lands. I’m glad he not once mentioned The Circle Jerks or Black Flag, and in fact only introduced himself with “Hi, I’m Keith and we’re OFF!” A most impressive set, and an electrifying end to a terrific week.
Thanks to everyone for reading, thanks to new friends made and most of all, thanks to all the bands and venues for throwing an amazing party. You’re a great city, Austin. Over and out!