Off Our Soapbox

Every year around this time, we start complaining about the fact that the annual South by Southwest is in Austin and why can't it be in Dallas and we just want to drink a lot and sleep in our own bed. Blah blah blah. Gotten plenty of mileage out of that. But we're not going to do it this time around. For one thing, as it was explained to us after the last time we got on our soapbox, if SXSW came to town, it would lose money for at least the first 10 years. There was a longer explanation that followed the whole debt-for-a-decade part, but we stopped listening. And once we started thinking about it some more, we figured, why complain? We get, like, a week away from the office to go to a place where drinking and watching bands is considered work. We'd still contend that Austin has been coasting on reputation for at least the past nine or 10 years, but after reading that last sentence again, well, who cares?

So, with that in mind, there are quite a few bands from the D-D-FW area driving south for the 2003 edition of SXSW, scheduled for March 12 to 16. There might be a few more added in the next couple of weeks, but here is the roster as it stands now: Adventures of Jet, Baboon, Baptist Generals, Burden Brothers, Chomsky, [DARYL], Deadman, The Deathray Davies, Dixie Witch, Eleven Hundred Springs, The Faceless Werewolves, Brian Houser, Jet Screamer, Kid Icarus, Macavity, Little Jack Melody, Midlake, MossEisley, Olospo, the pAper chAse, Josh T. Pearson (of Lift to Experience), Phooka, The Polyphonic Spree, Red Animal War, Riverboat Gamblers, Mo Robson, The Rocket Summer, Slobberbone, Slowride, sourvein, Owen Temple and Ezra Thomas. Pretty nice lineup, and since The Polyphonic Spree was the talk of last year's shindig, maybe some of that interest will spill over onto their fellow local acts. It worked for Detroit and the White Stripes, so who's to say it can't work here, too.

The good part for everyone staying up here during SXSW week is that you get many of the shows and almost none of the hassle. Fact is, if everyone who ran a club in Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth could get on the same team (we checked the magic 8-ball and the answer was "not bloody likely"), we could hijack SXSW without having to do much of anything. Look at all the bands coming through before and after their showcases in Austin: Queens of the Stone Age, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Datsuns, The D4, Quasi, Electric Six, The Sights, Nebula, Quasi, Fruit Bats, Iron & Wine, Song: Ohia, Cat Power, Death Cab for Cutie. And that's just a few--there'll be many more as the date approaches.

We'll call it Stay by Stay Homestay by stay home and print up some wristbands. No sweat. We can even book some time at the convention center for a few panels, though we don't know why anyone would want to. The only time SXSW panels aren't boring is when someone (say, Courtney Love) is incoherent, and then they're just annoying. Wait--we're starting to complain again. Never mind.

Now for the Alan Peppard portion of this week's Scene, Heard: Gwyneth Paltrow was in the area on Friday, hanging out backstage at the Coldplay show at NextStage. Which makes sense, since she is dating Coldplay front man Chris Martin. The pair was spotted racing away from the venue after the show in a Suburban, while autograph seekers screamed after them in vain. (A few, apparently, took the initiative to follow them.) Martin dedicated the last song of the set (a new number, "Ladder to the Sun") to Paltrow--sort of. He sent it out to "his movie star girlfriend, Julia Roberts." He also gave a shout out to Dallas Mavericks point guard Steve Nash, whom he clearly didn't know. Nash was there with Dirk Nowitzki, but they left before Martin mentioned them. Other notable attendees: former Dallas Cowboy Daryl Johnston and The Wallflowers. Except, of course, for the only Wallflower anyone could name, Jakob Dylan.

To keep the pointless namedropping going, Scene, Heard also saw Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes out and about the night before, doing karaoke at XPO Lounge. You could say he opened for us: Shortly after, we took the stage (well, the corner of the bar where the mike is) and mistreated the audience with an off-key, lyrically suspect version of Elvis Costello's "Alison," with backup vocals from our pals Jack D. and Jim B. We'd say we'll never do it again, but we've learned to stop saying that.

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Zac Crain
Contact: Zac Crain