South By So Tired

It’s been a busy, hectic week. Been going downtown quite a bit, mostly for SXSW nonsense. I used to harbor hate for SXSW like most of the other townies, but I realized that life is too short for xenophobia and high-horse riding. While the people I used to run with are stewing in their tired-of-it-all juices, I decided this year to actually get out into the crush of society and find some good times.

Went to Flamingo Cantina Tuesday night and watched most of the evening’s nerdcore rap showcase where MC Frontalot headlined. I’d never seen him before, but I understand he and his buddies started the nerdcore rap movement, rapping about games, technology, comics, and so on. What impressed me most with Frontalot is that he performs with a live three-piece band who lay down the funk under his liquid flow. Funniest bit about his set was his song “I Hate Your Blog“, which is apropos in this context.

Sharing the stage that night was MC Lars, who shared his love for Edgar Allen Poe; Schaffer the Darklord (STD) whose love for his psychoses reigns the day; and Jesse Dangerously, whose ultra-fast tongue carries a deadly weight in words. I didn’t get in early enough to see the other crews on the lineup, but I had a great time nonetheless.

Friday, went to Silhouette on Congress and saw a showcase of electronic artists throwing down the beats. Top of my list is Daedelus (Alfred Arlington), who I tried to see on Wednesday but lacked a badge. I’d heard of him through some of the network streams I listen to, but I never realized just how much of a following he has; the venue packed to capacity when he took the floor. His setup was simple: a Mac and two Mono controller pads, but his mastery of the controllers, samples, and loops at his disposal meant the music constantly shifted moods and never stopped — until the house circuit breakers blew from pushing so much bass. A debug and a reset later, and the show was back on. Set was mint.

The evening showcase was put together by producer Braille (Praveen Sharma), whose set I caught the latter half of. His Soul House style was at once smooth, warm, and sunny. It had a great positive vibe. I need to find more of his stuff.

Surprise of the night was 3-piece outfit Archie Pelago whose beat-driven chillout sound was a fine blend of trip hop, jazz fusion, acid house, and confusion through looping and layering of live sax & cello with the DJ beats. At first, I was suspicious of how they’d fit live instruments into the electronic vibe of the evening, but those guys delivered by sampling, looping, and layering in realtime, giving them a large, fulfilling sound. Worth a listen.

After walking around downtown all week, sitting at various cafes, milling through the crowds, I’m tired. Officially tired. Knees and back and muscles are beat. Ears ringing. I’m also sick; there’s no way of knowing what’s on anything you touch when you’re out in public, so even with all my precautions, I still picked up some kind of pharyngitis. I’m carefully nursing myself to health.

Head is still full in new experiences and inspirations, so overall it was a positive gain. The novelty and bigness of the week was good for me. Glad I went out of my usual.

— Dr. Strangenew (or, “How I stopped hating and learned to love the mob”)

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?