Idolator’s SXSW Outlaw: Splintering Off At A Former Crack Den

noah | March 18, 2007 9:13 am

If there’s one thing that’s true about South By Southwest, it’s that much of it is based on access–the combinations of badges, wristbands, hand-stamps, and nods that get people into and behind the scenes of shows can be downright dizzying. To figure out what, exactly, it’s like to experience the festival with not so much as a wristband, we enlisted chief assumer (and former Austinite) Andy Beta to give us the outsider’s perspective. In this installment, he checks out one of the many splinter festivals around town.

At this point in the history of South By Southwest, there have been a number of offshoots and festivals named after tweaking the brand. This year is no different, and we’d like to rank our favorite bastardizations of the SXSW name:

8) Sx Up North Roots Music 7) FXNC (Free by No Charge) 6) SFxSXSW 5) SxS&M/ Rainbow x Rainbow West (both held at notorious biker bar Chaindrive) 4) South x San Jose 3) Yeast by Sweet Beast 2) Snake by Snakepit and of course: 1) Fuck by Fuck You

Due to an inability to wrinkle time, we only have time to check out a night of South x San Jose, which nestles near the swank Hotel San Jose off of South Congress. Of all the face-lifts that Austin has undergone in her time, few are as bizarre as the one done to the San Jose. Originally a guacamole-painted, squat brick roadside motel, it was the destination of choice for crackwhores looking to smoke some rock with their johns or their pimps before the turn of the century. It’s now the destination of choice for rich rockers and out-of-town wedding guests, a luxurious place to stop for Cosmopolitans.

Tonight features the sounds of a handful of local bands. We are bummed to miss the dying feedback of Gulf of Mexico, as what we’ve heard of their yet-unreleased debut is akin to mango salsa: sweet, hot, chunky, like classic Dinosaur Jr. and the tricky harmonic guitar lines of Polvo. So we instead mill about the parking lot as the next band sets up.

Rather than peddling Scions or weird vodkas with caffeine in them, the SxSJ set-up is like that of a flea market. There’s a stand slinging Frito pies, while another has tables full of dollar records. You can pick up some vintage gingham dresses, hand-screened tees, or even onesies with Aladdin Sane’s visage on it. Most foreboding is a stand from an entity deemed the Austin Craft Mafia.

Idolator’s SXSW Outlaw archives