SXSW, you were fun and wonderful.
You also failed to provide the A-level swag! I know all the good stuff jeans were at the Levi’s Fader Fort, and that was pretty much it. Who’s working marketing for all the various groups that gave stuff away, Bag of Swag? Who? This is slightly embarrassing, even for a bag of free crap:
The swag itself is housed in a lovely cloth tote bag, depicting what appears to be Betty Rubble hauling a Marshall stack across Mexico. I guess! Who cares, they probably got a local artist at the last second to make this. And since I like the B-52′s, I like this.
Right away the tote is weighed down with a giant phone book listing all the bands. This is the ONLY worthwhile object in the Bag of Swag. It is a comprehensive list of bands, playing times, venues, local cab #s, etc. Essentially, a SXSWepdia.
Next up we have so many crappy magazines. GTF outta here Bass Player. Phil Lesh? Come on you guys, there has been literally 60 years of recorded music since Phil Lesh had his playing style influenced more by Bach counterpoint than by rock or soul bass players (although one can also hear the fluidity and power of a jazz bassist such as Charles Mingus or Jimmy Garrison in Lesh’s work, along with stylistic allusions to fellow San Francisco psychedelic-era bassist Jack Casady). Also, guess which sentence in this paragraph excerpts liberally from Wikipedia?
Like, I wouldn’t be averse to be reading an interview with Flea (yes I would), or that ogre guy who now plays for Metallica, or that caveman that used to play bass for Nirvana, or even someone wearing a Jaco Pastorious mask. You got thrown into the garbage in the first 2 minutes, Bass Player, and don’t think you’re getting away with it either, American Songwriter and Music Connection! Only Alicia Keys stays, because she’s pretty and I want to see more pictures of her in the magazine.
SXSW is big on themes for their day parties and events, and here are some guides… British Music, German Music, English Folk (apparently different from British Music). The Flatstock 24 guide was tops though, it was a listing of all the vendors who were selling awesome tour prints in one of the exhibition halls at the Austin Convention Center. You can see a lot of the vendors and some of the stuff they have available here. I don’t really pay attention to tour prints, and sure Peter Saville and all the books about like Grunge era Peter Bagge/Sonic Youth/Mudhoney freakout posters, but I was very happy to see modern, elegant posters (usually for terrible bands, but NONETHELESS!).
Hey Green Label Sound and Severe Records! It’s the 90s! Compact Disc technology is the wave of the future! Now let’s go buy some slap bracelets and Koosh Balls! Also, Reebok Pumps and Captain Planet.
No one should give away CDs, for so many reasons. And if you do, come on Severe Records, try to spend that extra 5 cents a CD and make some actual packaging. Trent Rhodes man, you should not be bragging about your position with this CD. Just put in a Polaroid of you picking your nose! I would accept that!
And I actually like Green Label Sound — there are a lot of neat artists on that sampler, but just… don’t make a CD. Give me a fortune cookie with a download link inside it or something.
Precious energy! At SXSW we ate like 11 year olds whose parents were out of town for the night. That basically means fried cheese and street meat for every meal. We didn’t even have time to eat delicious BBQ! For as far as vision permitted, there were no salads. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, forget it, have fun eating white bread and Diet Coke for dinner. Food options at music festivals are already an embarrassing state of affairs, so the fact that the Bag of Swag gave us an energy bar and some pretzels was like “YESSSS”
Now we’re talking some slightly more inventive swag. Good work, ASCAP and, I guess, MySpace! Now MySpace has not exactly been knocking the grand slam viral balls out of the idea park, but flimsy little plastic key … condoms I guess? are memorable and fun. ASCAP also gets point for pure function: matches. I don’t know what “I [screaming mouth] SXSW” means exactly, but sure, I’ll put it on. And actual condoms are also a good idea. Musicians like sex, after all.
Here we have what is known not-at-all-affectionately as the dregs.
Aside from the random stickers, which I like, I don’t think it’s unfair to say “what the hell is this.” Midem, what word am I spreading exactly? The word of a red electricity-conducting M? The word of “solutions, business, connections, knowlege” (four meaningless words, placed side by side)?
Hey The Rose, I don’t care what your slogan is, it is not physically possible to play a world tour in just one night, neither metaphorically nor literally. And Billboard Bungalow, I don’t even know where to begin with you.
This is pretty neat. The top 2 items in this picture are both earplugs. See above with ASCAP re: form < function. Bottom left we have a dinky little first aid kit with 2 Lifesavers (ha! I get it now!) and on the right we have a neat little waterproof container thing with yet another pair of earplugs. Thanks, AOL!
And thank you , dear reader!