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SXSW Update: Anybody Remember The Zeros? Lemmy, Maybe?

Have you ever been to a party or bar with about 30 or so acquaintances that you all know to some degree or another? You want to try to talk to all of them, or at least hug and say hello. But you can't because the party just gets louder and louder, drinks start flowing and people are just running around all manic and shit. You end up getting stressed the hell out and just want to run out screaming into the night.

That's what this week was like for Rocks Off and SXSW. The damn thing isn't but a month away and we are already fretting about missing Breaking British Band A and their six showcases and the big next American Garage-Punk Band's party at Mohawk. [Ed. Note: Speak for yourself... we're just going for the "Speed Dating" at the tradeshow.]

It's the same thing every year. We go in expecting to be listening to one of them the rest of the year after March, but one bad show and some snotty behavior and we leave not caring. Whatever happened to Glasvegas? The Cribs? Bloc Party? We love all three but their Austin stands left us feeling a little duped.

This year so far seems to be a slow starter, with few "huge" names which we now believe will be a boon to smaller bands. This means that people won't be fighting other bastards to see Metallica at Stubb's and missing the next MGMT or Flaming Lips down the street at a smaller venue. No offense to Lars and The Gang, but during the time we spent bellowing "Master Of Puppets" we may have skipped someone killer.

One announcement this week that peaked our interest was '80s punk band The Zeros, who will playing a series of showcases, including a Requiemme Showcase. They were hailed as the "Mexican Ramones" in some circles for their Southern California lineage and tight garage-punk lines.

No doubt they have made an appearance on Rosa Guerrero's Mutant Hardcore Flower Hour on KTRU a time or two. Band member Javier Escovedo is the younger brother of Alejandro Escovedo, so that can explain the hooks and tidiness therein. The Zeros are forever a part of punk history as well for The Germs, in their live debut, opening up for them and the Weirdos in 1977. You can also trace origins of El Vez back to the Zeros. The band was the then-Robert Lopez's first gig.

March 19 at the Austin Convention Center, pop-metal singer and motivational speaker Andrew W.K. will speak on what makes one a legend in the music industry. In the past few months, the singer has come under attack from various scene investigators who claim that there are actually two W.K.'s, one for performing and one for public speaking.

If that is in fact true, it's a creepy yet shrewd vision of the future where you get two personalities for the price of one. One does the dirty work and another sits back and fields' questions and sits in on SXSW panels. You can read more on the "conspiracy" here. It gets confusing even for people like Rocks Off who live and die by kooky thoughts.

We asked God to give us a reason to bust the hatch on Houston early the week of SXSW and he delivered, by coming to Austin to headline Stubb's with his band (not Hawkwind) the Tuesday night before the festival with The Sword and Year Long Disaster. This means we won't miss any small bands in the process, but this also means we will have seen Motorhead twice in less than six months.

One of the notables added this past week include one of our new faves, singer-songwriter Joe Pug. We had heard of him through Justin Townes Earle a few weeks back and promptly janked the his new album from Rocks Off Senior's desk. [Ed. Note: We are kind of interested in this guy. Please give the CD back.] Messenger is good stuff, sort of scruffy with plenty of flourishes like the elder Earle was doing by the late '80s and his voice sounds a tad like that one Jewish dude from Minnesota.

The Chicago artist will hopefully break out of SXSW 2010 like a rocket. He hits up Mango's here March 14 with Horse Feathers. Here is he is doing "My Father's Drugs." Between this and "Mama's Eyes," Rocks Off is straight-up screwed.

Added to the list this week also were Those Darlins (yowza!), Pierced Arrows, Nebula, The Young Republic, The Walkmen, Via Tania, Annie Mac and Latin rockers Maldita Vecindad, who will be at House Of Blues March 16 with Houston's own Los Skarnales opening.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty