Photo by James BunoanWith Dance Disaster Movement, we're wandering along the river in Austin, scraping at our sweat-slick forearms; spitting violently through a cloud of fat, stubborn Texas gnats; and talking about how Southern California is seriously where it's at right now. And not just because of the climate. The Costa Mesa duo's album—aptly titled We Are From Nowhere, out now on Dim Mak—has already sold through the original pressing, Kevin Litrow says, but it's not the moving units that he likes; it's about the musicians sticking together, the local shows outdrawing the tours, the kids dancing like lunatics.
Incidentally, that's everything SXSW is short on, but Dance Disaster does their funky-punky best. At a muggy afternoon show at Club DeVille, Matt Howze and Litrow ("Tic-Toc" and "Wires" once they get their performance whites on) are all antsy energy and long legs, waiting for the so-not-cool opening bands to quit overstaying their welcome. They go on late with borrowed equipment, but Litrow hacks out some of the best moves of his young career and scares all the girls back inside to the bar.
"I saw a lot of people standing kind of far away," admits Howze. "But they were smiling!" Later, their label hooks them up with free Levi's in exchange for posing for product shots. Typically SXSW: the photographer comes oozing in, hunched over under heavy camera gear and a heavier buzz, and tells the guys, "Look, I'm superdrunk and hungover, so I'm not going to be really good at directing you—just do something, okay?"
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Even more typically SXSW: Howze loses those same free-but-at-what-cost? pants at a Sunday night house party, the same show where Litrow pops his pants in half doing a particularly enthusiastic split into the crowd. Nonchalant, he finishes the set in his underwear. It's only about 8 p.m.—wake-up time for the first post-SXSW day—but the whole garage is drunk and bouncing off the walls. Dance Disaster Movement flies out the next morning, knifing through some notorious Austin turbulence. They don't mind, says Howze: "I kind of like shit shaky."