Nightranger at SXSW

South by Southwest ?

may be a big ol’ blast, but it’s also a boot camp: Non-stop parties, showcases and seminars, plus endless walking, talking and, oh yeah, drinking, make for an arduous four days.A&R heads probably have the hardest job ’cause they had to check out so many newbies in lieu of the already-established hot-ticket biggies (we saw V2’s John Sidel and asst. Keith Morris pounding the pavement everywhere). And since big-ticket headliners also played “unofficial” sponsored parties, many pals even said “fuck the $500 badge” this year and went just for the party scene. (We’re sure SXSW’s organizers are thrilled.) Nightranger did a little of both and, as you’ll see, it was a restless, raucous good time.

Moz By Mozwest

Thursday, the man, the myth, the Moz (a.k.a. Morrissey) was interviewed by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke. The gist? He thinks radio today is generally “dreadful,” and theorizes that it’s because “Too many people are making music.” Indeed. But, hey, isn’t that why we we’re all here in the first place? On his famed celibacy vow: “Everybody has a dry spell.” On being a front man: “Playing guitar is a cop-out. Guitarists hide.” About Fricke’s pub: “I’m too real to be on the cover of Rolling Stone”.?.?. and, finally, about his view of life, “The world is a pigsty.” Mozilicous!

Tres Bueno

Rumors flew about from Day One: Would Ray Davies join Morrissey onstage? Would Rosanne Cash jam with Ghostface? Of course not, but we did luck out at Stubb’s Barbeque Friday when The Beastie Boys gave a flawless, free-flowin’ secret set, including “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” and “Intergalactic.” The rumor that ZZ Top would rock the Saturday Vice Party (at some scary backwoods warehouse) wasn’t as reliable. A bearded tribute band played instead, though most of the liquored grungers didn’t know the difference. It’s hard to tell all the beard-rock dudes apart these days.

Beauty and the Beat

In his quest to simultaneously beautify the world and get it wasted, Paul Devitt is opening Beauty Bars left and right; his new Austin club was one of SXSW’s biggest hipster hubs with parties for I Heart Comix and Jane mag that included electro-pop tart Annie and ’fro-metallists Wolfmother. Across town, we loaned our deejaying skillz to the Spaceland/Heidi’s Night of Beauty bash, where L.A. talents Los Abandoned, Darker My Love and The 88 proved California knows how to party. It also knows how to kick some ass: The Derby Dolls proved it at a convention-center bout against The Lonestar Rollergirls, the team from the A&E reality show Rollergirls. Rockin’ and rollin’!

Schmoozin’ for a Bruisin’

SXSW is supposed to be about music, but that didn’t stop a maelstrom of merchandizers from promoting their shit among SXSW’s desirable demographic. Red Bull (with Buzznet) and Levi’s (with Fader mag) even had “houses.” Also enjoyed chillin’ in the massive MySpace Bus. Some peeps were dissing it, though we don’t know why: Forget about faux “friend counts” and hooking up, MySpace is the best thing to happen to music since well, since SXSW. Speaking of promoting, props go out to Nine Black Alps, who cleverly used the ubiquitous Austin cabbies to spread the word by posting their name in some taxis’ back windows. Talk about street teaming.

Our fave raves included Urb mag’s tequila-soaked Gang of Four bash, where DJ Tommie Sunshine, members of Morningwood and Art Brut were seen bouncin’; and the Dim Mak–sponsored Burn Lounge, where The Sounds and Moving Units both turned in potent sets amidst light raindrops and heavy eyelids (it was the long last night of the fest).

Scene and Herd

She Wants Revenge’s Justin Warfield bawling out an Urb mag writer on Sixth Street — something to do with the band’s recent cover story? .?.?. Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe being escorted offstage after a lengthy jam session that bled over to the next band’s slot .?.?. The backing band for Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin, who ended their set after only one song when their drummer passed out. “My band is out of sorts today,” Franklin was heard saying .?.?. Lion Fever’s Jennifer Pearl rolling around the ground with an irate audience member at the Tokion party .?.?. Beatle Bob (a fab four clone and SXSW fixture) head bangin’ on stage with some metal band at Emos .?.?.Spaceland’s Mitchell Frank and Broadway Bar/Golden Gopher owner Cedd Moses at hot Swedish group Love Is All’s showcase, where they said they’d be joining forces for a new music venue in good ol’ downtown L.A. .?.?. Other bands who made an impression on us and/or trusted tastemakers and talkers: The Cuts (Oakland), Mohair (U.K.), The Guillemots (U.K.), The Ark (Sweden), Tapes and Tapes (Minn.), The Clean Prophets (L.A.), The Heights (U.K.). Till next year, later faders!

LA Weekly