South By Southwest

2. SXSW is a 100-hour-long party, and music isn't confined to the night. There's also plenty of daytime action, which is how we find ourselves at Tower Records for the Starflyer 59 in-store. This latest incarnation of the Anaheim band (Jason Martin with some hired guns) finds them still crafting dreamy, sad-sounding, emo-esque tunes, but with newly added fuzz and distortion effects, which we guess is progress. During the quieter moments, we can hear the deep bass coming from whatever band is gigging at Urban Outfitters a few doors down.

3. 562 resident Joey from the Locust yelling, "YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO! YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!" and forcing a roll of duct tape into your hands while one-man art keyboard-abuser Fast Forwardwrestles with a crowd of pretentious art-teens and Locustheads. This immediately devolves into you clamping down on Fast Forward's shoulders and yelling, "YOU'RE NOT A REAL BAND! YOU'RE NOT A REAL BAND!" Special bonus points: Fast Forward yelling, "WHITE POWER! WHITE POWER!" over a devolved Casio-keyboard beat to an obviously bewildered crowd. (Confidential to Stupid: Fast Forward is not really white power, or if he is, he's not doing a very convincing job of it.) Super-mega bonus points: "WHITE POWER!" is the only intelligible thing Fast Forward says during his whole performance.

4. SXSW '03 has the biggest contingent of OC/Long Beach bands ever, but sometimes the local peeps are hidden in LA groups. There's Drag, for instance, who have Orange resident and Hub Cafť regular Kevin Darish as a front man. Drag have a decent 1 a.m. slot, but it's at the Filling Station, a restaurant far removed from the Sixth Street clamor, so there aren't a lot of bodies in the place by the time their set rolls around. Still, they've come halfway across the country, so they make the best of it, and once they count off into their skull-kicking power pop, it's like they're playing a packed stadium.

5. San Diego's the Dragons make us get all nostalgic for such OC bands as the Goods and the Women. It's easy to get all nostalgic on the third day of too much alcohol and too little sleep, but we're sure there was a real emotion in there somewhere.

* * *

10 GREAT NON-MUSIC MOMENTS

1. Getting to hear someone say, "Wow, your hair looks great! Do you want to write for us?"

2. Boarding an elevator at the Marriot with man/boy Elijah Wood. Small talk ensues. He exits. The rest of the night is cut with the sad, perhaps misguided realization that you could be partying with Frodo right now.

3. No. 4 on the Austin American-Statesman snotty list of 25 Absolute SXSW Truths: "Who are you kidding? Owning a CD burner is not the same as having your own label."

4. A guy in a van pulls alongside us and asks, "Do you know if Adrian Belew was in King Crimson?"

5. On Sixth Street, a man in a kimono and white kabuki makeup hands us a flier for his band, Dagashi-Kashi. It reads, "We are poison rock band from Japan. White painted face, Kimono, and Loud sound. These are all about Dagashi-Kashi. Once you see us, you will go to the hell. You can come, but never be released. We won't let you go."

6. A naked man behind the merch booth at the Lagwagon show throwing CDs into the crowd. We don't know if we're more put off by his vulnerable, bobbing manhood or the CDs narrowly missing our skull.

7. Enduring promo guys from well-known indie labels sauntering up to you at the convention center and crowing, "Man, you were so WASTED last year!"

8. CBGB's shirts are 2003's Pathetic Quickie Credibility trick.

9. Frantically licking your wrist stamp so you can smear enough ink on your buddies to get them into a show for free.

10. Thinking about going to see the Yardbirds; finding out that the replacement guitarists are Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and fucking Slash; sawing at wrists with shards of plastic latte cup.

* * *

10 BEST BAND NAMES

1. We Talked About Murder

2. The Iguanamen of Galapagos

3. Stereotyperider

4. A Tiger Named Lovesick

5. Papaya Paranoia

6. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness

7. The Yuppie Pricks

8. The Lascivious Biddies

9. The Faceless Werewolves

10. The Telepathic Butterflies

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