From the Front Lines of SXSW

Here we are back in the music capital of the world and the first thing I gotta tell you is the Oktober People rocked the balls off the Hideout crowd last night—the way it's supposed to be. I really hope this band can somehow meet up with a licensing agent from Japan that will make them huge on some subcontinent.

I say that because I met said licensing agent at the Tristeza show and I hyped the Oktobers with all the shame of a televangelist. The show was epic, though, and hopefully the Albuquerque show later this afternoon can ride the same wave. I'll try to keep you updated, but none of the journalists here at the media center will stick to the ten minute rule. I had to wait for 30 minutes before I could get on a computer yesterday. There's just no good reason to forego alcohol and brisket for that long.

One thing's for sure this year; they have a record crowd—hundreds maybe thousands more folks than last year. Michael H. and I couldn't even get in with full credentials to see Crooked Fingers last night.

My two favorite moments thus far were: At the Gris Gris show I turned to Henny and said "these guys remind me of the Flaming Lips" and Henny says "look who's standing next to you," and it's Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips. Then there was Lou Barlow's acoustic set that finished with a rendition of Ratt's "Round and Round" that Jack Black couldn't have done better.

Of course, there were a couple of heinous local bands with names like Choking Hazard and Velvet Brick that sucked the shit out of your ass, as it were, with the skin-crawling combination of an amateur soundman, out of tune vocals, out of tune guitars and a generous crowd that applauded the effort anyway. The hottest shit so far would be American Analog set at Emos yesterday and Tristeza on Wednesday night.