Unofficial SXSW ’09: Where’s That Confounded Bridge?

March 20th, 2009: As seen on Archive (PDF)

Of all the unofficial and free gatherings, the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge show is the most infamous.  Back when the internet wasn’t all the rage, people would usually either a.) show up every night of SXSW at 1 a.m. and cross their fingers or b.) hear an announcement through the grapevine.  This year, despite Todd P and his listings newspaper, despite every fancy electronic level of communication, no one seemed to know a damn thing.  Maybe it was a marketing strategy to build hype.  Maybe procrastination.  Whatever the case, it took some effort to get this grammatical misfit of a text message:

Free radd show on the lamarre pedestrian bridge off cesar chavez 12:45 a.m. w/ anamanaguchi, so so glos, fiasco, + secret special guests.  PASS IT ON

It was no 1000-body deep grunge spectacular as with No Age and Fucked Up last year, but enough made it to give the bridge a good shake.  I’d like to tell you about the secret special guest, but this journalist only saw an acoustic set by philly-bred rockers, Drink Up Buttercup, which was completely different from their studio shtick, employing some maraca-led sing-a-longs and some surprisingly phenom vocal harmonies while a spattering of skateboarders circled around like sharks, and then a literally radd with a double ‘d’ party punk shit show by Brooklyn’s The So So Glos, before a friendly Austinite offered me a ride home.  And you say ‘yes’ when you’re staying three miles South of downtown at 3 a.m.  Did stay long enough for a tune called “Throw Your Hands Up,” though, that made my night first with the slippage of “ghettoblaster” in the chorus, and then with some Clash-happy guitar tweaks that combined with another lyric about damning the FCC, punctuated the illegal bridge show mood.  Thanks So So Glos for making me feel like a punk.

As for day (and late evening) happenings, I got schooled on how Japanese rockers open beer bottles, caught a punk rock round-robin battle that got a little nasty with drummers spitting on fans, got serenaded by the Chicago, viola songbird Anni Rossi sitting Indian style in a parking lot, protested the decade-strong rejection of a local musician’s hope to play SXSW proper at his own house party dubbed Lick X Lick My Balls, and ate many a grilled treats from many a mobile cart, every bit of which was free, aside from the grilled treats.  And, um, why aren’t you here yet?

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