SXSW 2012, Round 3: Best Laid Plans & Too Many Bands
Okay, South By Southwest. Enough already. You have too many bands. Really, SXSW? Jack White AND Eminem with 50 Cent AND Skrillex AND the Cult AND Temper Trap AND about 1,817 other acts--all on the same Friday night? Come on, SXSW, pace yourself.
Well, pacing oneself was so not on the agenda during SXSW's first big weekend night, as what appeared to be the entire population of Texas descended upon Austin's 6th Street to watch (or, more specifically and sadly, stand in block-long queues for) the abovementioned acts and more. It was astounding that with so many options this evening, every venue was still so beyond-capacity packed, and that it seemed like there were even more revelers out on the sidewalks than in the clubs. (The flier-strewn, beer-and-I'm-scared-to-ask-what-other-liquids-soaked 6th Street felt like a combination of Mardi Gras, Tailhook, and the set of Mad Max, and when I finally pushed through the teeming crowds and made it back to my hotel room at the end of the night, I felt like I needed to take a bath in equal parts Febreze, Purell, and bleach. But hey, a little chaos and uncleanliness is all part of the SXSW experience.)
Friday started in a rather civilized manner, actually, with Spin magazine's lovely Stubb's BBQ day party, always one of the best bashes of any SXSW year. Kicking off the sunshine-day festivities was Brooklyn-based "disco orchestra" Escort, whose fetching frontwoman Adeline Michèle was easily the best-dressed person at all of SXSW. Rocking a Janelle Monae updo and a print-on-print ensemble of which "Project Runway's" Mondo Guerra would approve, the Parisian-born stunner thoroughly charmed the earlybird crowd not just with her superfly style but with her sultry voice and her multi-piece band's Scissor Sisters-meets-Stereolab partystarter jams.
Keeping the Brooklyn girly-arty-dance vibe going were Chairlift, whose cocktail pop went down pretty well with the free cocktails Spin was so kindly serving up. Caroline Polachek was also an enchanting frontwoman, basically the Jackie O of SXSW, elegantly gliding across the Stubb's stage as she soothingly crooned in her sweet ingénue voice. By the time I got finished watching Adeline and Caroline, I was feeling pretty dumpy myself. How did these lovely ladies manage to keep so cool in the Austin heat?