The SXSW Report: #2: The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Anyone wanna play in the sandbox?

I'd already seen Ben Lee once. He's a cute kid

and I like some of his songs, but I never imagined I'd wait half an hour

just to get into the Electric Lounge to see the kid a second time.

I'd actually come

to see Alec Empire and his Digital Hardcore crew, and I obviously wasn't the

only one. The line was enormous, and the fire marshal wasn't fucking around.

Ben Lee was cool for ten minutes, then he was a little less cool, then I had to

sit down because the heat was making me dizzy.

Glaswegian buzz band Bis

were next. Two guys who didn't look old enough to buy ice cream on guitars and

a girl who looked even younger on the drum machine. They were pretty awesome,

but also only for about fifteen minutes. High-energy snot punk. I think the

folks at Grand Royal should take a lesson from Chuck D. at Slam Jamz and only

release singles and EPs, and they should yank their bands after twenty


Neither prepared me for the full-on assault of Atari Teenage Riot.

This was a jailbreak, or as my friend Chris H. said, "It's like an ice pick in

your forehead over and over...with a strobe light."

Mayhem, thunder-and-lightning electric punk with neck-breaking beats and

attitude. These rainbow

coalition bashers swagger, spit and pummel like computer-programming luddites,

only instead of wanting to destroy technology in toto, these kids want to build

it up, so they can destroy it for the sound it makes going down. It's almost

too intense, with the strobes and all. I knew this was the place to be because

American recordings honcho Rick Rubin said so. He was all smiles.

The night

wound down with a disco volante session courtesy of Ovum Records co-chief DJ

Josh Wink, who had the beautiful people shaking it at Bob Popular after 1


Wink's hard beats and hard breaks had everyone moving, from the publicists to

the A&R folks and out-of-town club owners, and of course, the real people too.

I saw a guy in a t-shirt that said "Disco Still Sucks," but I could tell he

didn't mean it. Bottom line: Too much waiting, too many shows goin' on