SXSW Swag Report: Quality Over Quantity

As John Nova Lomax noted a couple of days ago, it appears the foundering economy has taken its toll on SXSW's promotional-item racket, with the budgetary allowance for all manner of items emblazoned with this company or that's logo being one of the first line-items to get slashed. It's not just the festival itself dialing back on the free gizmos. In years past, Rocks Off has been inundated by swag, but this year it's slowed to a trickle.

Here it is Saturday night, and Rocks Off's swag haul barely takes up a third of the desktop in his hotel room. Furthermore, a lot of it is stuff that was given to him. Houston jazz singer Kristine Mills slipped him a copy of her new CD, Bossanovafied, at the Austin Music Awards Wednesday, and he scored "Treat Her Right" man Roy Head's Golden Anniversary disc Thursday at the Continental Club. And on the street, he bumped into his friend Werner Campbell, who gave him a copy of the years-in-the-making rollerderby documentary he
produced called Hell on Wheels.

In the interests of his own sanity, Rocks Off cut back significantly on the amount of day parties he attended, but there's hardly been any swag at all at the ones he has. Houston's Justice Records offered a gift bag with clothing (apparently we got the ladies' tank top instead of the T-shirt, but it still fits pretty snug), an issue of local music magazine Lucy, a can of Red Bull and bottle of vitamin water. All in all, pretty useful.

And Rocks Off sure smells nicer than usual thanks to the CK One cologne and Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner he got at Friday's Spin party at Stubb's. And every night he's been sleeping on a pillowcase fashioned from a T-shirt from the Affliction clothing company, who sponsored several day parties this week. Doing some quick Internet research, he also discovered that Affliction is also a fairly rippin' Turkish death-metal band.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray