SXSW is not a music festival so much as it is an experiment in excess. If Coachella is a glass of water that keeps getting bigger until it more resembles a kiddie pool, then SXSW is a flood with a neglected cup somewhere in the middle. The natural result is rampant crowds and ever more rampant lame behavior amidst all the genuinely spectacular musical offerings. In honor of the world's most bloated city this week, we present the five biggest sellouts at SXSW.
Seriously, you're not getting into the Fader Fort. Photo by Marco Torres
1. The Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Show at Stubb's There are ways to see ridiculous things at SXSW: Iggy and the Stooges playing in a tiny club, people heckling food-truck operators about the province of the tomatoes on their sandwiches (no, seriously, I saw that happen), etc. But those big-name shows come with Disney-size lines and require stamina. The line for the Nick Cave show at Stubb's was three blocks long and five people wide a couple hours out. Did those people at the end really think they were getting in?
2. The Gobbler Grill
No, seriously. They sold out of food. Although given that it looks like they were just giving it away, it seems like maybe they just don't have enough signs.
It's a sweet deal, to be sure. If you're lucky enough to be within bus distance of Austin, you can eliminate the hassle of driving for the cost of a very cheap Megabus ticket. But do not assume you'll be the only genius with this idea. In fact, assume it does not take much of a genius at all to have this idea, and that you will end up spending four hours just about ass to ankles with an aspiring rapper/college student. Oh, and if you do take Megabus, please remember to bring a hearty supply of lollipops that you can loudly smack for the entire duration of the ride, thereby annoying the shit out of everyone around you.
Dramatization of a Megabus in Austin. They all look pretty much the same.
4. Pretty Much Anyone Hanging Out at Hotel Bars SXSW is more of a circle jerk than the Grammys could ever hope to be. Don't get me wrong: There are great bands playing occasionally great sets, constantly. Those aforementioned Stooges and Nick Cave shows? That happened basically simultaneously and across the street. That sort of gaudy density of surreal offerings is uniquely SXSW. But no one in Austin is a fan -- instead, everyone's affiliated somehow with something. Back in Nashville, you may just be a social-media rep for a record label, a hard-working not-asshole who turned down much more lucrative career paths to do something you love. But SXSW makes every little fish pretend he's a big, brazen shark. The money's often in the hotels, so the puffiest chests are commonly found out on their patios, drinking overpriced Local Beer of the Months and talking about their jobs like they're generals at war.
5. Best Coast
Psh, I remember when you were all cool and Tweeting as your cat. Now look at this, all done up in fancy lights and rock-star hair with corporate logos behind you. HOW DARE YOU MAKE A LIVING???