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|Seriously, you're not getting into the Fader Fort. Photo by Marco Torres|
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1. The Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show at Stubb's
There are ways to see ridiculous things at SXSW: Iggy and the Stooges playing in a tiny club, people heckling food truck operators about the province of the tomatoes on their sandwiches (no seriously I saw that happen), etc. But those big-name shows come with Disney-sized lines and require stamina. The line for the Nick Cave show at Stubb's was three blocks long and five people wide a couple hours out. Did those people at the end really think they were getting in?
|Dramatization of a Megabus in Austin. They all look pretty much the same.|
4. Pretty Much Anyone Hanging Out at Hotel Bars
SXSW is more of a circle jerk than the Grammys could ever hope to be. Don't get me wrong: There are great bands playing occasionally great sets, constantly. Those aforementioned Stooges and Nick Cave shows? That happened basically simultaneously and across the street. That sort of gaudy density of surreal offerings is uniquely SXSW. But no one in Austin is a fan -- instead, everyone's affiliated somehow with something. Back in Nashville, you may just be a social media rep for a record label, a hard-working not-asshole who turned down much more lucrative career paths to do something you love. But SXSW makes every little fish pretend he's a big, brazen shark. The money's often in the hotels, so the puffiest chests are commonly found out on their patios, drinking overpriced Local Beer of the Months and talking about their jobs like they're generals at war.