The Worst Moments From SXSW 2012

Categories: SXSW

You were a little flat at the end of your performance of "Happy Birthday" there, Wolf Violinist
Over the last few days, Village Voice Media's music editors have been regaling you with stories of the best from Austin's South By Southwest Festival. But with the best must come the worst, and our critics unfortunately came across the following borefests, technical problems, and insults to their intelligence. Better luck next year?

Yawn - Bar 96
The pleasure of Bandcamp comes from the ability to peruse hashtags like "animal collective, avant-pop, beach boys, brian eno, electronic, of montreal, vampire weekend, yeasayer, avant-pop, dreampop, electronic, indie pop, Chicago" and theoretically end up with something that resembles those terms. (Don't forget "andrew bird" and "beirut," guys.) The downside is that music by the likes of the infantile Chicago quartet Yawn gets out there too fast. Tongue-wagging tastemakery takes over, and suddenly folks trying to fill out lineup cards at festivals end up latching onto goobers like these guys without seeing them perform.

Yawn's live act confirms they are a fraud. Thursday's appearance at Bar 96 showed them engaging in the art of trying as hard as possible to seem like they weren't trying. Imagine four unremarkable white dudes with unkempt hair having a rehearsal consisting of directions like "can you make your voice crack a little more when you add some unnecessary harmony to the second verse," or "make sure to introduce that song that obviously isn't slow as a 'slow jam.'" Further banter clunkers: "This is Terry Gross and you're listening to NPR"; "We're in Austin right now, but let's imagine we're in Africa." Even the guy convulsing and spazzing in place to these diluted ripoffs must have been a paid extra. Such earnest attempts to make flippant music—well, it's enough to make you... yawn.
Reed Fischer

Ben Westhoff
Spontaneous tattoo at the S.O. Terik - Filter showcase
On Friday, Samantha Urbani from Brooklyn band Friends did something to a fan he might forever regret. At the S.O.Terik/Filter showcase, beneath a blazing sun, she tattooed him using a safety pin and a lighter. The ink—a crude-looking planet with a ring around it on his right bicep—was modeled after one Urbani on her left middle finger. When pressed, Urbani declined to identify it as a specific planet, despite its similarities to Saturn. "It's just a planet," she said. "My own private planet!" She seems annoyed, perhaps because she'd been asked this question many times before. As for her smitten devotee, he can look forward to a lifetime of explaining that he got a shitty tattoo from a member of a early-teens buzz band that he briefly liked with a song called "Friend Crush."
Ben Westhoff

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