SXSW 2012, Round 2: Hot Breakfasts, Hot Gossip, and Hot Tickets
File this under #sxswproblems: No matter where you are at the Austin musicfest South By Southwest, no matter what hot buzz-band showcase or exclusive afterparty you've managed to blag your way into, you know you're still missing out on something else. If you're at, say, the Temper Trap show, well, you're missing the simultaneous Miike Snow, Grimes, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Of Montreal gigs that are going on at various venues all over town. And you're missing Bruce Springsteen's invite-only show too, by the way. It's a horrible feeling--that nagging suspicion that someone cooler than you is somewhere out there, having a better time or seeing a better band or getting more free drink tickets than you are--but if you can just let go of all that "gig envy," and enjoy the moment, you'll soon learn that good times and good tunes await on pretty much every street corner in downtown Austin. And part of the excitement can come when you don't overschedule yourself, and you almost literally stumble into fun while just roaming down 6th Street.
Anyway, after my whirlwind SXSW 2012 kicked off with bands ranging from Southern soul revivalists Alabama Shakes to "X Factor U.K." pop starlet Cher Lloyd, I woke up Thursday morning determined to see as much music and have as much fun as possible (I hadn't quite gotten over my gig envy just yet). So I started my day with the breakfast of SXSW champions: breakfast with Leeds mod-poppers the Kaiser Chiefs, that is, who performed a bloody good, bloody-Mary-laden brunchtime show at the Hard Rock's "Sound Of Your Stay" lounge as some sort of promotion for a new belVita breakfast biscuit. Breakfast biscuits? Oh, how very English of them!
With a belly fully of breakfast biscuits and bloody Mary mix, I headed over to my next stop, Google and YouTube's "Live At The Lot" open-air party, which took place atop a multi-story parking garage; I considered the several flights I had to climb to get to the venue my cardio for the day, and assumed I'd worked off some of those biscuit calories in the process. There on the roof, New York's Cults and L.A.'s Best Coast trafficked in a festival-ready sound I like to call "sundress rock" (patent pending): a breezy, girly genre also popularized by the likes of She & Him, Jenny & Johnny, and Vivian Girls. (Side note: Vivian Girls were actually scheduled to play a show at a Kate Spade pop-up store this SXSW, so I think that proves my point. Kate Spade makes sundresses, right?) Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino looked quite fashionable in her pinup-worthy red sailor onesie and showgirl fishnets, and sounded even fresher playing new summery surf-pop songs like "The Only Place," "Why I Cry," "Last Year," and "Mean Girls," all of which sounded like they were expressly written to only be played in direct sunlight. Seeing Bethany play in some dark, dank nightclub would almost seem, I don't know, wrong.