Reviews

What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood

Author: Kevin Coffey
03/21/2010 | Omaha World Herald | www.omaha.com | Live Show Preview
AUSTIN, Texas - I've been at South by Southwest for four days, and, by my estimation, I've watched up to 50 bands.

At the same time, I've seen a lot that has to do with music only peripherally.

Here's a look at the other things I've encountered, from mustaches to death metal pizza to free beer.

• Omaha musician Dan McCarthy has one of the best mustaches around. His handlebar can out-mustache just about any mustache in Austin. And that's saying something as some of rock 'n' roll's greatest mustaches are gathered here, including Lemmy's from Motφrhead. As Laura Burhenn of the Mynabirds said about McCarthy's mustache, "It's made from 100 percent pure mustache."
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• I don't get hipsters. I really don't. Shaving all of your head but leaving a rat tail or buzzing off just one patch of your hair is an interesting look. And I'm not sure if it works for anyone.

• Speaking of interesting looks, you get just about every look in the world down here. Things I've seen: lots of all-black, circulation-stopping tight pants, no pants, no shirts, plenty of full arm tattoos, a few face tattoos, berets, beards of all shapes and sizes, more RayBan Wayfarers than I can count, fanny packs (they're coming back), iPhones (seems like everyone has one and, rumor has it, they crashed AT&T's network earlier in the week), hooded sweatshirts, plaid, guitar cases.

• It seems like there is free stuff everywhere (beer, food, earplugs, bags, posters, more beer, ice cream bars, keychains, bottle openers, beer coozies ... honestly, most of it has to do with beer), but according to those who are SXSW regulars, there's not as much as in the past. Most chalk it up to the recession.

• On Sixth Street (where most of the action is), there are pizza stands and booths everywhere. I have sampled lots of pizza and my favorite is from Hoek's Death Metal Pizza. Good flavor to the sauce, plenty of cheese, and it's fresh. Most other places have the pizza cooked, then reheat it in an oven for a few seconds. Hoek's comes right out of the oven. And their playlist is exclusively metal.

• SXSW official wristbands are made of hard plastic and have sharp edges. While you are shampooing your hair, your wristband will inevitably catch and pull out a chunk of it.

• I've been in a ton of venues this weekend, and so far, I have two favorites: Mohawk Patio and Beerland. Oddly enough, I saw Omaha band Digital Leather at both places. Beerland reminds me of someone's garage, complete with concrete block walls, faded paint and old comics stapled to the wall. Mohawk Patio is great because it's large enough to fit a lot of people, the stage is high enough so that you can still see the band, and there's a balcony that overlooks the stage. Also, it sounds pretty great.

• I've grown to like Lone Star beer, which is brewed in Texas and available everywhere in Austin (some places had it for free). Watch out though. "Don't drink too much of it. That stuff will give you a killer hangover," Greg Edds of Little Brazil told me.

• There's a good Omaha contingent in Austin, and you'll find them gathered together to catch Omaha bands. A few folks in the crowd to see It's True on Friday went a little wild when frontman Adam Hawkins said they were from Omaha.

• Cabs are nearly impossible to find in this city. A Scottish man told me he had been everywhere in the world and Austin was the most difficult place he'd ever been to.


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