SXSW: The Best Things Come In Small Packages

See scenes from Sixth Street and beyond in our slideshow.

If we'd been playing SXSW bingo yesterday, Rocks Off would have scored multiple squares for animal hats and "more badges than clothing." We spied a guy in a Borat swimsuit (sooo 2007, brah) and had the pleasure/pain of riding our bike behind Leslie Cochran wannabe with a perfect view of the man's, ahem, assets.

That is to say, it seems like SXSW gets a little more wild every year. Sixth Street looks more like Beale Street, the parade of bodies in all manner of costume reminiscent of Mardi Gras. Everywhere, spontaneous dance parties, rap battles and fashion runways break out on the street. It's not out of hand... yet. But it will be soon.

This is Rocks Off's first time covering SXSW with credentials, which is an awesome thing if you have friends with credentials too. You get to go first in line, you get extra perks and sometimes you get into special parties plebeians can't get into. But let's say you have a close friend who only has a wristband, or worse yet, your friend has no tickets at all and is planning on doing SXSW on the cheap. The question then becomes How good of a friend are YOU?

Let's say Bad Brains and The Black Lips are playing at Emo's. The line for those with badges is about two people long. The line for those with wristbands is about 100 people long. Do you wait with your friend? Or is it every music fan for themselves?

This is the question Rocks Off was pondering as we waiting in line to get in. We though about other things too, like how many poeple does it take to cross the line-jumping line? Holding a spot for one friend is okay, right? Two people is probably okay. Three people? What if they're off in search of a bathroom. Do you look like an asshole when they come back and seemingly cut in line.

And how long should one wait in line for a big name band before cutting your losses and heading on down the road? When Rocks Off saw that the line for Duran Duran at Stubb's wrapped around the block and almost to I-35, we uttered a mental "Fuck this" and headed for smaller pastures.

Which is how we found ourselves at Parish Underground, listening to a band called The Vandelles. With women on drums and bass and dudes on vox and guitar, they sounded like the Beach Boys if the Beach Boys were girls playing through 50-year-old amps. The bar wasn't event packed. It was exactly the kind of vacation-y vibe we needed after braving the thong-clad crowds.

We read the best quote ever on Twitter yesterday: SXSW puts to bed the notion that the music industry is dying, since literally everywhere you turn, a band is playing their heart out. Lesson learned. If the point of SXSW is to discover new musical delights, what's the point of waiting in line to see the same old same old?

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Shey is an experienced blogger, social media expert and traveler. She studied journalism at Oklahoma State University before working as a full-time reporter for Houston Community Newspapers in 2005. She lived in South Korea for three years, where she worked as a freelancer.
Contact: Brittanie Shey