SXSW 2011 Audio/Video Retrospective SXSW 2011 Audio/Video Retrospective

Charles chronicled his SXSW 2011 experience, day-by-day, artist-by-artist, in the conclusion to SXSW 2011 perspectives of a first timer
Date: 4/16
Band: Braids
Live/Interview: Interview
Thoughts Going In: This band plays music so precious, it makes my heart hurt. I want them to like me so my girlfriend can use their music in Dutch shoe commercials.
Experience: Two of them come to talk to us. A boy and a girl. They have an orange between them. They seem young. REAL young. We’re a little late and so are they. They have minutes to do the interview. We set up hastily. They judge me for having a beer at 2pm. I notice the X on the boy’s hand. Straight Edge? Fuck that. I decide they’re judgmental shits. I still want them to like me, though. They practice their vocal exercises and harmonies. This is, admittedly, adorable. The interview sucks. They look at me slack jawed. We talk a bit about driving and Dutch shoe commercials. Evidently, they were courted by an oil company to be in a sales video. They declined. I might have heard some of that wrong. Someone gets them with five minutes left before they’re scheduled to play. They say we should hook up again. I know we won’t.
What I Learned: Braids are Canadian and would like you to license their music.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “They were fucking CHILDREN!”
Braids – Lemonade by Drewtewksbury

Date: 4/16
Band: Obits
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: Why the fuck am I seeing Obits again? I mean, I like them, but really?
Experience: There’s a line to get in. The beer is expensive. Once inside and the band finally starts playing all I can see are Rock Froberg’s wife’s sunglasses. The Indian from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has decided to stand in front of me. It’s hot. I can’t get a shot off to save my life. Ben’ll handle this one.
What I Learned: Obits are great. Hell is other people.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Wow, Rick Froberg looks goooood.”
Obits – You Gotta Lose by subpop

Date: 4/16
Band: Ringo Deathstarr
Live/Interview: BOTH!
Thoughts Going In: With all the Jesus and Mary Chain worship going around these days, it’s nice to hear someone love My Bloody Valentine as much as I should. I bet they’re really nice people.
Experience: Outside. Reasonably empty. They have free beer. It’s a Shout It Out Loud! Party which means I may well see a girl I sorta had a thing with but haven’t spoken to in five years. Whatever, the beer is free. The band is loud. The girl is REALLY pretty in a Next Top Model hippie/waif way. Her and the dude have loads of pedals. They use them wisely. Eric and Weddle appear, drink beer. Shoot/record rock. I take pictures. After their set, I lug some amps in exchange for an interview. Just five minutes. It goes fine. I feel better about things. I give them my card and tell them to sleep at my house when the come to New York. We’ll have barbecue. Hooray!
What I Learned: Ringo Deathstarr are lovely and loud and friendly. Pretty girls make great TV.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “What’s a Ringo Deathstarr?”
Ringo Deathstarr – Do It Every Time by Audiopleasures

Date: 4/16
Band: James Yuill
Live/Interview: Interview
Thoughts Going In: Who the fuck is James Yuill?
Experience: Super, SUPER nice guy. We shoot by a tree and get pursued by what I believe is the same giant red wasp that tried to join Ben in the shower. We talk at length about rock, electronica and the perils of performing as an experimental artist while still satisfying an audience that wants to hear the hits. Also, Nirvana. Moby. My interview “technique” is getting better but I still talk to goddamn much.
What I Learned: Shut up. James Yuill is tall and British. I should really get some of his records.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “If the Ice Cream Man gives away all his ice cream for free, how does he make any money?

Trophy Wife – The Quiet Earth (James Yuill Remix) by James Yuill

Date: 4/16
Band: The Stepkids
Live/Interview: Interview
Thoughts Going In: Seriously, who the fuck is this band? How did we set up these interviews? Are they soul? I bet they’re all white guys.
Experience: The band is late. We set up a shot and then have to move it fifteen minutes later to a club nearby. There’s another crew there from On Point Music (hmmmmm). They promise to be brief with their time and respectful of our schedule. They are not. We stand idly for forty-five minutes while On Point ask all the banal questions I was hoping to use as a launching pad for real conversation. They also play up the sycophantic complements. I get a headache. We debate leaving. Their manager shrugs. We stay to play professional. On Point finishes. Ben points out that the band was interviewed under a bunch of swastikas. The Belgians look ashamed. We reposition the band. I sit among them and deliver a ten minute monologue about living in Queens and pretending to be half Greek. I ignore the fact that one of the band members used to play guitar for Alicia Keys. We then proceed to shoot the shit for close to an hour. I have no idea what they talked about but, in the end, the description of their live show (“The band wears white. The instruments are white. The background is white and I do live animation over them as they play.”) sells us on them. They ask us to shoot them later. We’re honored and pissed because that fucks up our expectations but decide it would be in our best interest to do it. Besides they sound interesting.
What I Learned: Sometimes bands really do give a damn about their art.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Did you notice you did that whole interview under a bunch of swastikas?”

Shadows On Behalf by The Stepkids

Date: 4/16
Band: Mujeres
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: We should really catch Guadalupe Plata.
Experience: Sweaty Spanish rock. Not pretty. Not sexy. Not ironic. Just fucking rock. Spilled beer rock. The guitar player is shirtless. I find this inspiring. Can’t tell if their names is Mujeres or if they’re just macking on some ladies. Did I just say “macking”? Shit.
What I Learned: Spanish boys know how to party.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Wait…was that Guadalupe Plata?”

Mujeres – Frantic by ITCManchester

Date: 4/16
Band: Guadalupe Plata
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: This is gonna be awesome.
Experience: Awesome. Not as awesome as I thought but there’s a whole lot of dirty rock in their hearts and comes through in spades. I wish they weren’t so bluesy (read, slow) but the hell with it. An older dude is playing a broom handle, tin drum, one string bass contraption and I think this is decidedly sexy. I should drink some water, then go see The Black Angels.*
What I Learned: Some people deliver on expectations.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “This is Guadalupe Plata, right?”
*I can not get in to see The Black Angels. Fuck you, Josh Homme.

8 – GUADALUPE PLATA – I’d rather be a devil [IHAV 01] by IHAV

Date: 4/17
Band: The Stepkids
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: I don’t think I’ll like the music but the show sounds pretty dope.
Experience: Well. The beers are expensive. The crowd is sparse. The band seem to be taking forever setting up but I think I’m just a little antsy and haven’t had a decent sense of space or time since last week. When they do play, the music is very much as I expected. White soul. Lots of notes. Instruments are held high and played extraordinary well but in a way that just hurts me. The light show is…well, just look at the quote. I decide we don’t all need to be here for this.
What I Learned: Sometimes, your art isn’t for everyone.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “When he said ‘live animation’, I thought he was going to be drawing a bunny or some shit. That was a Windows fucking Screensaver.”

Date: 4/17
Band: A Place to Bury Strangers
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: I don’t know how much longer I’m going to like this band but I should be able to get some great pictures.
Experience: I can’t get NEAR close enough to get a single shot off. The band is loud. As I try to approach I am blocked by a goth chick who I’m fairly confident doesn’t NEED that wheelchair. I’m going to be really pissed if I miss Gay for Johnny Depp. I should go. I go.
What I Learned: It really doesn’t matter how loud a band is if you can’t see them.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Fuck this, I’m gonna go see Gay for Johnny Depp.”

A Place To Bury Strangers – Keep Slipping Away by MuteUSA

Date: 4/17
Band: Gay for Johnny Depp
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: FUCK YES!
Experience: I get there a little early. A very angry, very shirtless, very hardcore fucking band is playing. The crowd is small but frothing. I see an eagle/American flag tattoo and wonder if I’ll be eaten by some local white supremacist faction in this bar off a goddamn alley. Maybe I missed the Gays. Goddamnit. No. No, I didn’t. The band wraps up. The Gays set up. Soundcheck with screeches and screes and pretty soon my face is melting from all the terminal pink ferocity. The singer attacks a cameraman. He climbs on the bar. Climbs the amps, the stacks and all but makes out with a superfan (Hooray! They have one!). They banter back and forth. All snark and vitriol. Homoerotic confrontation. I love it. They play “No Teeth, Thumbs Up” and I end up in a mess on the floor, with the singer dry humping me and the two of us screaming “FUCK YOU! I WANT TO FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! WANT TO FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! AAAAUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!” Bliss.
What I Learned: Sometimes you need some dry humps in your rock and roll.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “We were there. Just in time to see you get taken to the floor. It scared us. We left.”

Cum On Feel The Boize by Gay For Johnny Depp

Date: 4/17
Band: Talib Kwali
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: Holy shit, I’m going to see Talib Kwali.
Experience: I don’t know Talib Kwali, I realize. I think I do. I know that he’s important but I don’t know shit from his records. The crowd does, though. They love it. I love that I’m finally at Emo’s drinking $3 Imperials and I can smoke and nod my head and actually sit down for a second. I think I might like hip hop more than I ever really allow myself to. Cool.
What I Learned: I need to buy some Talib Kwali records.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Did you see me on stage with Talib Kwali? No one stopped me. That’s fucking AWESOME!”

Talib Kweli – Listen by Austin Hamann

Date: 4/17
Band: Olin and the Moon
Live/Interview: Interview
Thoughts Going In: That kid kinda looks like Beck.
Experience: The drummer notices my GG Allin shirt and demands it. I like these guys. In person they read far more punk than their music (a soft, errant twang with all the right intentions) would suggest. They’re hungover. I’m hungover. We talk under stalks of bamboo about birds and bees (no, really) and Ryan Gosling. The idea is pitched to start a band called Gay for Ryan Gosling and tour with Gay for Johnny Depp. Said idea is swiftly rejected. We think loving Johnny Depp is too obvious. They have a new record called Footsteps. You should check it out.
What I Learned: Two members of this band are brothers. I don’t know anyone from Idaho.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Who needs a drink?”

Olin and the Moon – Gonna Make You Mine by buzzbands

Date: 4/17
Band: Gay for Johnny Depp
Live/Interview: Interview
Thoughts Going In: FUCK YES! (Weddle and Eric are nervous)
Experience: We make our way to a box club at the end of a road out of town next to a river. A electric acid test van pulls up and some meepish circus gets out and leaves with their equipment in carts and wheelchairs. Two bears drive up to the club in overalls, on mopeds. Where the fuck are we? The band’s late. That’s okay. Chelsea Piers shows up and takes us to meet the drummer. The other guys are meeting with VH1 on account of the singer assaulting their cameraman at the show last night. Score? We chat under the same bamboo and cover everything from the durability of America fashion (Chelsea likes my Red Wing boots) to Steve Albini’s recording technique to being “literally” gay for Johnny Depp and how much better this festival would be if we could just get our asses out of downtown. These guys are WAY nicer than I anticipated. They even invite me to some fashion thing and give me a sticker. Once a fan boy, always a fan boy.
What I Learned: Those horrible black birds that appear to be everywhere are called grackles and they totally fucking hate you.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “So, they…are…gay?”

Date: 4/17
Band: Hi Ho, Silver Oh!
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: I’d really like to catch one of the bands at our showcase. I already missed the lovely singer/songwriter lady who showed up with the full band but she sounded nice from the street.
Experience: Eh, yeah. You know. Yeah. They’re good. They have lots of hope. Promise. They’re not ready to change your life just yet but they’d sure as shit like to. I’d like their music to be a little faster. A little louder. A little ballsier but I know it can’t all be maximum rock every time.
What I Learned: Sometimes gentler is better.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “I was told there would be barbecue.”

Hi Ho Silver Oh – My Confessor by Brand X

Date: 4/17
Band: The Sundelles
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: Please don’t be another shitty Brooklyn band.
Experience: Loud. Yeah. Louder than expected. Garagey shoegaze…ish? I’m not really sure what the Sundelles are on about. At once, it seems very straightforward distorted rock but there’s something off about it. Don’t know if that’s good but it’s not bad and I refuse to say “It is, what it is” (that doesn’t count). I think I want another guitar. I settle for another Dos Equis.
What I Learned: Muslims rock.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Maybe, if you guys dance, the barbecue will get here faster.”

The Sundelles — Gold by nikileighbuds

Date: 4/17
Band: Inspired Flight
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: That’s a lot of fucking gear for two guys.
Experience: Holy fucking fuck. This band is amazing. AMAZING! Totally unexpected. Entirely enthralling. Electronic/hip hop/rock full on fuck yeah. They use every inch of their instruments. At one point the dude is scratching, playing samples on his laptop and shredding at the same time. I think my mind is blowing. See this goddamn band. SEE THEM!
What I Learned: Electronic music can totally translate into a live environment when the people behind the music understand that a computer is not an instrument.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Fuck is right!”

We All Want To Fly (feat Inspectah Deck) by Inspired Flight

Date: 4/17
Band: Family of the Year*
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: Are these guys gonna be dicks?
Experience: No. No they are not dicks at all. In fact, they spend the whole night (aside from an appearance over at CNN) hanging out at our party. Every band member is incredibly friendly. Their manager (I think?) looks a lot like a girl I lost my virginity to. That doesn’t mean anything. I just can’t help but notice. Musically, they’re a folky down home progressive love fest. That description kind of sucks. I like them a lot more than I imagined I would. Their name makes me twinge. Still, they come off surprisingly bombastic. Earnest without any embarrassment and with a bold approachability. Does that make sense? SXSW is confusing. Someone outside thought they were Iron and Wine. Better?
What I Learned: Sunglasses do not equal shitheads
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Dude, they’re SOOOO NICE!”
*This is the only band at SXSW I saw more than once.

Chugjug by Family of the Year

Date: 4/17
Band: Pepper Rabbit
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: What the fuck is with band names?
Experience: I don’t remember what this band sounded like at all but the bass player AND the guitar player both also played organs. I don’t think they gave a flying fuck about anything. They sure did play SXSW a bunch, though, and I tried to take pictures that made the singer look like Ian Curtis for some reason…I think.
What I Learned: Sometimes I go away.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “150 Decibels at the front of the house is like putting a fucking jet engine on stage. Fuck that.”

Pepper Rabbit Older Brother by kaninerecords

Date: 4/18
Band: Pujol
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: Jack White put our your 7″ huh? I bet you wear headbands.
Experience: No headbands, but hats. Perfectly adequate, trash blues rock. No wonder Jack White lent his name to their wax. Personally, I prefer John Spencer’s deconstruction but all the St. Pat’s drunks are dancing so that’s pretty fun. You wouldn’t know it from the band, though. They don’t fucking smile at all. They just play. Great.
What I Learned:I still don’t know how you say their name. Best Quote In or Out of Context: “We’re Pujol.”

PUJOL – Too Safe by POTQ Escucha

Date: 3/18
Band: Slang Chickens
Live/Interview: Live (TWICE!)
Thoughts Going In: I’ve never heard Ben more excited about a band. I can’t wait to see them.
Experience: ROCK! YES! ROCK! Good, fun, ROCK! Surf and country and beach city bashing. Great closers. Great time. This is the only time during the entire festival that all the Pinpoint boys are dancing. Or, you know, yeah…let’s just call it dancing. It finally feels like our party. Like our city. Like our fucking JAM! And it is. Excited, confused but determined. Slang Chickens are Pinpoint’s poster band.
When they close us out gun girl (did I mention her? Yeah. She had a gun) tries to get them to play a set at her drug den out of town. Ben intervenes and we get a super private 3am set of acoustic songs. I think we recorded some of them. I bet the footage is awful. Still it was great to have a private anything with all these people stumbling around. The play a song they say is by “our friends Christian Death.” I shout something. The set ends shortly after that.
What I Learned: The world is not in my head.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “YEAH! ROZZ WILLIAMS FOREVER!”

Parasited Out by Slang Chickens

Date: 3/18
Band: Xray Eyeballs
Live/Interview: Interview
Thoughts Going In: Gotham City low lifes? Okay. I’m game.
Experience: Remember how I was hungover yesterday? Yeah. Today, my face looks like a brewery. Thank fuck it’s really sunny. Xray Eyeballs are the happiest bunch of misfit hip kids I’ve ever met. Tall, short, skinny, pretty, fat, young, old. Fuck it. Rock and roll will live forever weird. They’re here to eat tacos, they tell me. I believe them. They introduce me to the bass players young niece who played guitar with them last night. She’s one of the most beautiful children I’ve ever seen. She tells the camera she plays “rock star”. Our hearts melt. She then gets in a squirt gun fight with the singer, OJ and soon we’re all doing something called “The Resurrection Dance”. RAD!
What I Learned: NYC has hope yet.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “You don’t go to migas, you eat migas.”

Date: 3/18
Band: Locksley
Live/Interview: Interview
Thoughts Going In: Wait, is it Locksley or Band of Locksley? Do they dress like Peter Pan? Not my interview, not my concern.
Experience: I run sound. A dude from 91X is SD does the interview. I like these guys like hell. They’re from Wisconsin. I had Aaron Rodgers as my fantasy quarterback. We talk about that off camera. We also sing the Cameron song from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. They have great shoes. The dude from 91X is totally capable. I miss being in front of the camera. They buy us barbecue. We talk a lot about unions.
What I Learned: I should order beef ribs whenever I can.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “I believe in Michael Vick.”

Locksley – On Fire by SashaxMini

Date: 3/18
Band: We Are Animal
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: I should see a British band.
Experience: Huh. Not that crowded. I thought anything foreign was a feeding frenzy. I guess that means I get to breathe. Hooray for me. There’s a hairy dude playing keyboards and a cowbell. I wonder if he’s a joke. He’s not. None of this is. I love that. It’s awfully sunny for North Wales. I couldn’t tell you a damn thing more than that.
What I Learned: Welsh people like fun too.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Cowbell.”

WE//ARE//ANIMAL – 1268 by tomrobinson

Date: 3/18
Band: White Hills
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: I really want to see a psych band.
Experience: Emo’s again. YAY! I love this place. I want to move to Austin just so the bartenders will know my name. The band is good. They look a good deal older than I anticipated which bothers some of my brethren but I could give a shit. The chick is playing a Lucite bass and the guitarist is all over the place. They’re actually a little menacing. I thought Kid Millions was their drummer. I can’t tell if it’s him. Doesn’t matter. My eyes are on the strings. Bashing and cranking and wailing like mad. This makes me very happy. Seems glorious and elliptical and then the guitarist goes crazy and trashes the stage. Strangely this does not produce my favorite picture of the evening.
What I Learned: I like psych bands.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “I don’t think you can be too old to play psych.”

White Hills ‘Three Quarters’ by markdischord

Date: 3/19
Band: The Naked and the Famous
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: My feet hurt.
Experience: Seriously. My feet hurt really fucking bad. Like, I’m getting a little concerned because it feels like my ACL is about to throw up and once it does I’ll be crippled forever. Also, my bones appear to be cramping. Can that happen? I think it is. I’m a miracle of pain. The band is fine. Actually, I think they’re great but I can’t focus on anything but my suffering. I decide to take a walk so it gets displaced. I can’t figure out who else to see. I return. Yeah, they’re good. Really good. We’re really far away.
What I Learned: Beer doesn’t fix everything.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Dude…Are you okay?”

The Naked And Famous – Punching In A Dream (Does It Offend You, Yeah? Remix) by The Naked And Famous

Date: 3/19
Band: Das Racist
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: I don’t want to see this band but I’ll be damned if I’m getting left behind.
Experience: Fuck them. Seriously. Fuck Das Racist. I didn’t like that goddamn “Taco Bell” song. I didn’t give a shit about their mix tape but you know…no. There’s no qualification. Das Racist are a shitty band. They might not be shitty all the time but they’re certainly shitty tonight. Or maybe this is some high parody I’m missing because I’m white. They do, after all, make a point to exclaim that “this is not for the white people” which is pretty goddamn amusing considering the most steadfast core of their audience are skinny anemics in horn rims. But the charge must be because they’re “real hip hop, you know?” I just saw Talib Kwali though and he seems so much more…you know what? Forget it. I stand by my opening statement.
What I Learned: I really don’t care about Das Racist.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “No, he said ‘this is not for the black people’ so it’s racist. I think it’s ironic.”

Das Racist – Swate by The Up-Turn

Date: 3/19
Band: Zlam Dunk
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: None.
Experience: Heard this band from outside and they sounded good so I decided to join them. I’m glad I did. No expectations. No destinations. Just a whole lot of young, urgent punk. But not dumb punk. No leather jackets. Keyboards and cowbells and instrument swapping and tambourines and yelling and crowd surfing and just the kind of joyous explosion that helps you face the day. It feels like my own. I will buy their records when I get home*.
What I Learned: Punk surprises you like nothing else.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Oh, thank God.”
*I do. I actually pay for them.

Vice by zlamdunkmusic

Date: 3/19
Band: Fang Island
Live/Interview: Live
Experience: I really didn’t think I’d get the chance to see this band. Ben got the clue that they were doing an early show so we hustled our asses over to the venue just in time to see them start their guitar heroics. Do you know Fang Island? You should. “Daisy” is one of the most uplifting songs of the last few years and they totally play the shit out it. They play the shit out of everything. I should know all the songs. I have all their records. But I couldn’t tell you fuck all of what came from the stage by name but I can tell you it was great. The one and only show of this festival where everyone was smiling the whole goddamn time. Oh, and Zlam Dunk were there.
What I Learned: Joy is eternal.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “I think it’s time to switch to whiskey.”

Fang Island – Sideswisper by malangiereviews

Date: 3/19
Band: Bare Wires
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: None.
Experience: I’m here to see Xray Eyeballs. I’m early. The beer is free. Great. I’m finally out from downtown but I’m treacherously close to the Fader Fort. Eff that Ess. Bare Wires play some heady beach rock that’s just coarse enough to keep from being boring. They’d kick ass on a mix tape. I’d see them again.
What I Learned: Free beer makes bands better.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “We hate Das Racist too!”

Bare Wires – Romantic Girl by bangkokerror

Date: 3/20
Band: Xray Eyeballs
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: Please, please, PLEASE be awesome.
Experience: Fun as fuck. A little noisy. A little weird. A little brothers Reid guitar delay but not nearly as ominous as I anticipated from listening to their record. Just, really fun. Incredibly animated. They like to sing about getting and/or being high. I don’t know if I would call them a party band but I’m a terrible man to decide what should happen at a party. But, I’d have them play my house. In fact, that’s an official invitation. Dear Xray Eyeballs, please play at my house. Our dogs are really friendly. And you remember the lovely rock star niece I mentioned earlier? She’s there. Standing in front of an amp and playing an egg. Eventually OJ gives her his guitar in one of the most tender gestures I’ve seen since Steve Albini gave a teenage girl his drum sticks. I fucking (heart) this band.
What I Learned: SXSW reveals her awesomeness eventually.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Man, if OJ didn’t have to sing he’d spend the whole show crowdsurfing.”

Date: 3/20
Band: Kanye West, et al.
Live/Interview: Live
Thoughts Going In: THANKS, MATT!
Experience: Between Xray Eyeballs and midnight a lot of shit has happened. We’ve eaten. We walked. We complained. We drank. I think Ben took a Vicodin and shifted to whiskey. We’ve seen snippets of bands from whatever the hell happened at the art museum to three songs at the Polyvinyl showcase. I honestly don’t know what the fuck all is going on. I thought we’d be killed getting in here. I had to call the production manager to come out and get us and even then we didn’t get into the big ass abandoned power plant that he (care of Vevo) helped transform into one of the most impressive distressed spaces I’ve ever seen. There’s an amazing food truck outside. Free beer. Free margaritas. Free vodka. GOOD MUSIC! That’s what the stage says and I believe them. Mos Def plays first. It’s after 1am. This place is packed. I can barely stand. Rowe’s here, somehow. Motherfucker. Mos Def comes out all righteous bombast with a team of paramilitary figures. He’s wearing an electric eye mask. What? Awesome. We try and get pictures but we’re miles away, it seems. The large black man behind us takes of his shirt for no readily apparent reason. Oh look, there’s Puffy. Diddy? Fuck it. I need a cigarette. To be honest everything kind of blurs for the next few hours. I think Common performs. I don’t know who else. Kanye comes on strong. Not his usual stage show but that motherfucker was born for this. I fade in and out. My feet are failing. Ben’s fading. He leaves some time around 3:30. He misses “All of the Lights” where Kanye has a high school marching band join him on stage which is nothing short of amazing and then something else happens I guess and then Jay-Z and then…I don’t know. I find Rowe. Someone mentions blow. It’s 4am. We have to go.
What I Learned: Every man needs a spectacle.
Best Quote In or Out of Context: “Where the fuck are we?”

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