February...that cruddy balled fist of winter which swings and never misses...is almost upon us and I'm still shaking off the cursed crust of the New Year, whiting out my resolutions and taking refuge in a writing block. It takes courage to be a north- easter always dancing around the business end of a noreaster, dunked in the funk of the first two months. These are the days for the testaments of quietus and wrestling with what seem like form fitting four walls, wondering about what you're wondering about. Walls that house frozen secrets, and reflect TV lights. These are the in between award show days, the hole up in the studio days for most artists, so many bands trying to recollect the steps taken from a past year spent panicking on a land-mined path between the double yellow, the red and the black. A mere existence made up of strange faces and sleep deprivation, shows without a show of souls, and using merch money for xmas gifts, petrol and pizza. They don't wanna come out in January...and who with half a chucked nut wants to tour anywhere where the road salt surplus is two story high. Just stay inside, stay south, stay west until March.
For some two thousand or so groups and artists, they're oil changing the church van and begging the label to get them on a showcase at SXSW in March. They long to play under the banner of a fading shoe company to throngs of men crowded together, caribiners clanking, looking like they belong at a Barbershopquartet- con, from the necks up. Load in is at 1130am for a 12-12:25 slot, so they'll be playing to the other bands on the bill, whom were hovering around their own rented U-Haul waiting for their own load ins. It's all good though. Extra exposure opportunities will knock at a smattering of off the 6th St. path parking lots, basements and back yards. These young turks will fill their itineraries up, making the magic last and the callouses cull for those four days in Austin.
As I look to the right from my window seat and see a slow parade of entrepreneurial men in puffy jackets, clutching worn shovels and knocking on doors, I lose myself for a moment...March seems such a long way away.
SXSW is my mecca, and I begin the oft-put off dream of cobbling together my sheckles and planning my crusade right around the same time every year. That time is now. For the past three years I have played dead in the water here in Philly during that week in Texas...This year I'm fixin' to huff it down there if I have to sell blood and sperm to do it. So hit me up if you need any. There's no Kickstarter for this sort of thing, and I'm not willing to get a Stubb's neck tattoo for a free Badge.