Judging by some of my RSS mainstays, SXSW backlash coverage is the new SXSW coverage, and part of me can see why; the sameness of the posts, the “OMG WISH YOU WERE HERE”-ness that permeates the live-blogging of each margarita downed, the fact that most of the really interesting stuff that’s going on is stuff that is either a surprise or much more interesting in the moment than it is hours after the fact. I thought about this a lot during my last 48 hours in Austin, because while I think going to SXSW is a pretty worthwhile endeavor, the obsessive coverage can be, frankly, boring if it isn’t done right; Ben Sisario’s four-word reviews for the NYT were a refreshing counterexample. I’m navigating between the gaping maw that is Idolator’s content hole and the fact that going to Austin every year is useful from a (shock!) reporting standpoint, if only to sorta-gauge the industry’s current mood; it’s something that I hope to figure out better for next year, because while the whole feeling of missing 99.9% of everything going on was rip-the-hair-out stressful at times, the sunshine overall did wonders for the seasonally affected blues.)
DEPARTURE FROM HOTEL ROOM: Saturday, 12:12 p.m. CT.
RETURN TO HOTEL ROOM: Sunday, 12:14 a.m. CT.
WEATHER REPORT: Not as hot as Friday, but still sunny enough that waiting in line was a really dumb option.
BANDS SEEN*: Nine: High Places, Jealous Girlfriends, Film School, Kimya Dawson, Grand Old Party, Darker My Love, Sea Wolf, Kate Nash, Robyn. Final SXSW total: 33.
ARTIST WHO WAS A LOT LESS CLOYING THAN ON RECORD/IN THE PRESS: Kate Nash.
ARTIST WHO CONTINUED TO TEST MY PATIENCE AFTER THE TWO-SONG MARK: Kimya Dawson.
BLOG-SPONSORED PARTIES ATTENDED: Two. Final SXSW total: Four.
PANELS ATTENDED: Zero. Final SXSW total: One.
NUMBER OF TACOS CONSUMED: Three (one green chile pork, one “trailer park”–which was stuffed with fried chicken–and one mahi mahi.).
SHORTEST WAIT TIME FOR THE LINE TO GET INTO THE RACHAEL RAY PARTY: 25 minutes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this wait was shorter when her husband’s band was on stage.
BEST AMENITIES, NON-OPEN BAR VARIETY: This is where I give credit where it’s due: the Stereogum/Paste shindig distributed water guns, which helped burn off the tensions that had built up throughout the week even when empty.
HOT AMENITY: Hairdos, which were available at both the Mess With Texas park bash and Perez Hilton’s party. The accompanying free product was limited to the “packet that is really only good for half a use” variety.
TOP “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN AND WHY ARE WE HERE” MOMENT: Perez Hilton’s party–which was held in a white-walled raw space that made it seem like Perezzers was putting on an old-timey barn-raiser–was allegedly the SXSW hot ticket. (A friend told me that the RSVP list bulged with 9,000 names, and the top-shelf sponsors certainly outshone the middling-save-Robyn announced lineup.) But were people really queuing outside because they wanted to champion the artists that the gossip blogger loves, or did they want to just get some of his hair dye fairy dust on their trip? It wasn’t really clear.
Idolator’s complete SXSW coverage
* Where “seen” = “caught two or more songs by.”