SXSW Stream: Notes From The Field

So far the SXSW rumor mill has spun out tales of private or surprise performances by Kanye West, the Roots, Jane's Addiction and Bob Dylan. Further details, if there are any, to follow.

Estimated badge pickup time - media: 15 minutes

Estimated badge pickup time - artists: hours

Waiting for his badge, Rocks Off ran into old friend, Astros fan and SXSW Music Director Brent Grulke: "Pudge? Pudge? ...Well, we need somebody." We know, Brent, we know.

* Downstairs in the above monstrous line:

Rocks Off: "Is this the bag line?"
Random Dude: "No."
RO: "What's it for?"
RD: "I don't know."

(It turned out to be the line for the extra wristbands that come with an artists' badge.)

Also in that wristband line, Rocks Off ran into former Houstonians Josh and Yvonne Lambert of the Octopus Project, hands down the cutest couple in the entire indie/instrumental prog-rock universe. Unlike years past, the OP has scaled back its SXSW appearances this year, only playing a party Tuesday night and its official showcase Saturday at Emo's. "I'm trying to take it easy this year," said Josh, who added Devo and Echo & the Bunnymen topped his must-see list. (Good taste, man.)

And who was Yvonne looking forward to seeing?

"Our friends," she laughed. Awwww.

Is it just Rocks Off, or does every third male under 30 at SXSW look like he's in Kings of Leon? Hell, maybe they are in Kings of Leon.

Random Recommendation No. 1: Fellow Friendswood native Chuck Stephens, former owner of Austin's Porch Light Records and current real estate agent - who says he's actually selling some real estate these days - said Future of the Left, the band that arose from the ashes of McLusky, "destroyed" earlier Wednesday.

SXSW Axiom No. 1: If you really want to see a band, there will always be a line out front. If there's no line out front, you don't really want to see the band.

Random Recommendation No. 2: Phil Schawe of Houston's KPFT said he wants to see the White Stripes-ish Pack A.D.; Seattle's Manooghi Hi, whom he described as a Bollywood-type female Indian singer fronting Metallica; and close the whole thing out with Jon Langford's hammer-and-sickle honky-tonk rowdies the Waco Brothers.

Rocks Off ran into Houston's Geschichte storyteller Benjamin Wesley outside Emo's, who said his scheduled solo performance at Eastside artists' space Co-Lab (613 Allen) was canceled due to the venue's problems attaining a sound permit. (This happens at least once every SXSW.)

However, he said the necessary paperwork should be in order in time for Friday's indiehouston.org day party, featuring every Bayou City band you ever heard of. Wesley also performs solo at the Cherrywood Coffee House off 38th St. in Hyde Park tomorrow, and with Tha Fucking Transmissions Friday at the Swishahouse showcase.

Rocks Off got a stiff dose of tight, yelpy '60s surf-garage, with lots of organ, Wednesday afternoon at Emo's courtesy of youthful Alabamans Thomas Function. See them tonight at Headhunters or tomorrow at the French Legation - that's right, even some of the most historic places in Texas host SXSW parties - with the Thermals.

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