Forget about showcases. If you wanted to see your future favorite band at SXSW, all ya had to do was slip on party shoes — and snag one of the super-insider-unofficial lists being passed around like high school slambooks. Yours truly played DJ for a day at Thursday’s Heidi's Night of Beauty/Spaceland/Ticketwebdo, where gals got metallic green manicures (it was St. Patty’s after all) while estrogen-spiked rockers GramRabbit,PonyUp!,EraseErrata,and bidding-war babies BeYourOwnPetprovided their own ballistic variety of beauty and the beat. The girl theme took an unexpected turn when a posse of Welsh blokes called GoldieLookin’Chainshowed up in tracksuits (think the Beastie Boys meet Monty Python), rapping about Afrosheen and smoking “soap bar,” whatever that means. Next day, Filterand Spinmags offered battling bashes: Filter’sparty, headlined by KaiserChiefs,may have seen more creative haircuts, but it couldn’t beat Spin’sshindig, where LouisXIV,TheFutureheadsand TheNewYorkDollsmade for a wonderfully bizarre combo. The Dolls in daylight weren’t exactly a pretty sight (were they ever?), but they sounded spot-on, with a withered but commanding DavidJohansenchugging St. John’s Wort while crooning “Pills.” BlocParty,also on the bill, lived up to its misspelled moniker, and also showed up everywhere else all week, from Vice magazine’sgathering (had to beg a cabbie to take me to the space out in some backwoodsy bumfuck ghetto . . . so Vice)to Urban Outfitters. Speaking of U.O., they helped turn an old storage space on Sixth into a makeshift boutique full of faux-vintage threads and rock shots by L.A. photog PiperFerguson,while in the backyard, hottie hopefuls including MaximoPark(hooky tunes but suits are so tired, boys) and neo-glamsters S’CoolGirlsswaggered and swayed near the port-o-potties. I passed on getting in a hot tub with JoelGion— formerly of the Brian Jonestown Massacre (who was promoting Dig!,the BJM doc) at the Spinhouse to pop into the TakeActionparty pit, where a group called Underoathalmost won me over — till they started talking up JesusChrist.I wanted Satan’smusic, man. And that’s just what I got following my nose, much like Toucan Sam, to the least fashionable but most friendly powwow of the week: the HighTimesparty, where, of course, the barbecue wasn’t the only thing blazing.
Spotted cinehobbit ElijahWoodhiding in a corner at the Viceparty. LyleLovettin comfy shoes outside the FourSeasonshotel, cowboy boots in hand. Distillersdiva BrodyDalleand StoneAgeking JoshHommelovey-dovey in the lobby of the EmbassySuites.DreaDeMatteoand back-again beau ShooterJenningsrushing though Austin airport. “Only at a Billy Idol show would you see a guy in Chanel shades and a fur coat in Austin”: a bewildered local at SXSW’s opening night gig, who happened to be talking about CleopatraRecordsprezBrianPerera.“I’m supposed to be representing these guys, and I don’t know anything about them”: random record-company minion ( yes, we really overheard this) at the Faderparty. “You rock folk all come back now, ya hear!”: pilot from flight 407, from Austin to L.A.