Live from Squaresville: A SXSW Odyssey in Multiple Parts (Phase 3)

Crowd of onlookers at The Mohawk

Crowd of onlookers at The Mohawk

Huey Lewis and The News are not playing a free show on the roof of Whole Foods.  Daft Punk are not playing a free show on the steps of the state capital building.  The word spreads faster than a planet decimating virus, but i can assure you, as adamant as the weirdo getting you hyped for some classic jams by Mr. Lewis and his News may be, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  He is just the latest peg in a long line of false stories, hopes, and dreams.  If you go to Whole Foods, there will be no “Power of Love.”  No “Hip to be Square.”  No “Heart of Rock and Roll.”  So just stay where you are and enjoy the show you chose to attend in the first place.  Unless you’re a “Belieber.”  Because that story about Justin Bieber showing up and performing at Bangers is true.  Terribly, terribly true.

And people are pissed.

I understand it.  J. Biebz has garnered himself quite some bad press of late.  For some, he embodies everything wrong about the music industry at large.  They’re angry with the festival.  Angry with the venue.  Angry with whomever or whatever company put on the event.  Angry with God?  At any rate, it’s misguided at best, and just sour grapes at worst.  Don’t be mad at the promoter.  From what I understand, the Biebz just kind of showed up.  He wasn’t on the bill.  Don’t be mad at the venue.  They’re just making their money giving some space to some performers.  Don’t be mad at the festival.  I remember two decades ago when a little band from Oklahoma called Hanson got signed here, so tween teeny bop is nothing new.  So everybody settle down.  Take a deep breath, and just direct your anger at Justin Bieber.  Because he’s a little, fucking turd.




I got my exercise in today, walking around the downtown area, and caught some great acts.  First, at the Pitchfork party over at the French Legation Museum, I saw Detroit’s Protomartyr, a gloom and doom post punk act fronted by a bad lounge singer.  These guys were great, and the absence of any of your standard hipster garb was both comforting and commendable.  Every member of the band just wore average, normal clothes.  Nothing ill-fitting or tacky.  No skinny jeans or tank tops.  The lead singer even looked like he could be the manager at a discount shoe store.  Good for these guys.  They really refreshed my palette.  After Protomartyr, California’s Coachwhips took the stage for the first time in nine years.  John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees) and company played a stripped down set (guitar, drums, organ) in the grass in front of the stage, circled by fans and onlookers.  It was like watching a band at a house party.  Intimate and unbelievably awesome.

Diarrhea Planet

Diarrhea Planet

From there, my parties get a little mixed up (Lagunitas Brewing served a wonderful beer called Fusion, a hoppy brown ale that tasted like hops and nuts…and they were tasty and plentiful), but I did get the opportunity to see Nashville’s excellently named Diarrhea Planet, a band I missed at last year’s festival, but was determined to catch in 2014.

They were a blast.  Easily one of the funnest bands I’ve ever seen, and a tough act to follow for the rest of SXSW.  A six-piece garage rock band, the boys are heavy on guitar, mixing crunchy punk riffs with outlandish and triumphant 80’s metal noodling.  Lots of headbanging.  Lots of jumping.  Lots of stage diving.  Superb.

Afterwards, I watched Painted Palms for a bit, listened to an overly crowded Charli XCX show while eating a hot dog, and attended the performance of the latest critical darling of the indie circuit, Angel Olsen.  And she was good.  Psych, rock, folk, Americana, blues, and more.  What else could you ask for?

Apparently I asked for Guerilla Toss, a face melting, brain exploding experimental noise act out of Boston.  The band played weird “melodies” in different time signatures, angular, screaming math rock fronted by a little girl screeching her lungs out until they bleed.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

And then i went home…tired, sun burnt, and sated.  But there’s always the Huey Lewis show tonight.

“Diarrhea is the new fuck.”


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit

3 Responses to Live from Squaresville: A SXSW Odyssey in Multiple Parts (Phase 3)
  1. […] Live from Squaresville: A SXSW Odyssey in Multiple Parts (Phase 3) […]...
  2. Chester Whelks Reply

    My thoughts are with the families of the deceased, and those 23 injured in the Hit & Run last night.

    What a bullshit thing to hit a ‘festival’. A celebration.

    As Twain said, “The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.”

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