SXSW, 3/16/06

At 12:25 this morning, Midlake's Eric Pulido grabbed the microphone at the Fox & Hound stage in Austin. "Cue smoke. Cue confetti." He then threw a small explosion of paper dots and streamers into the crowd, mimicking the over-the-top theatrics the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne had pulled off half an hour earlier on the same stage. "I'm glad we didn't have to follow something like that," Pulido joked, but in all fairness, he and the rest of the Denton quintet were probably delighted by the massive crowd that stayed after the Flaming Lips' "surprise" show (which had been announced a month prior at Midlake's Web site). Granted, the crowd may have stuck around solely because of a rumor that the Beastie Boys would follow; nevertheless, the hundreds got a mighty taste of Midlake's forthcoming Van Occupanther and ate it up.

Earlier in the day, Midlake hung out at the NX35 Party, a Denton-centric fest thrown by Baptist General Chris Flemmons...in spirit, anyway. Flemmons was unable to attend his own event due to complications with a blod clot that developed last week and have left him bedridden in Denton. Fortunately, more than a few locals picked up the slack: Bella Union exec Simon Raymonde, who attended with Midlake, watched Robert Gomez and guests ("90.1 At Night" host Paul Slavens on accordion and Bobgoblin's Rob Avsharian on drums, among others) play a lush semi-orchestral set, and Record Hop, Hogpig and the Drams followed with an ever-increasing crowd.

There's plenty more to talk about--the Strange Boys and Colin Herring each playing to packed houses, Europeans falling in love with the Theater Fire, the utter boredom that was last night's late-hours Blender party, Neil Young's keynote interview this morning, the guy I saw at Emo's yesterday sporting a feathered mullet, pink belt and hoop earrings--but I have to save something for next week's feature article, right? --Sam Machkovech

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