We talk about how SXSW brings nothing but unappreciative swag hoarders and confused corporate attempts at relevancy but I don’t know, this year didn’t pack on the irritation the way the event normally does, not for me, at least. The last real night I was out at SXSW, there were solid crowds everywhere I went, and they didn’t seem any more disinterested than your normal Austin fans, the key difference was just that there were more of them, and no one playing music for what ultimately comes to a payout of half a dozen Lone Stars is going to complain about that.
At Beerland, I saw Oozer unfurl a blistering wave of drone at a decent sized crowd that bulked up further by the time Popper Burns did their psycho B-52s thing. People gathered on that Beerland patio like they always do, talking shit and burning through pizza and cigarettes but there were more familiar faces than strange ones. Bar 96 was closer to what the stereotypical SXSW problem crowd is– bros drenched in Axe body spray exchanged stock tips while I waited to buy whatever was cheap– but that’s kind of Bar 96’s stock in trade, isn’t it? And it didn’t make much of a difference when Big Bill took the stage, all the backwards cap wearing meatwads who had been ironically(?) shouting “BIG BILL” at Alan Lauer‘s branded kit shut up or got drowned out by the music by the time Eric Braden reverse heckled the Yahoo populated pit. So it’s fitting that Ovrld’s closing SXSW coverage is this trio of moments, three local bands doing their thing in basically normal spaces for the love of it, to crowds just out for a good time, not a single tote bag in sight.
Words by Nick Hanover
Photos by Ashley Bradley.