The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SXSW gets F***ed Up

At first it seems impossible. How could a formerly inviting and creatively focused music festival turn its back on the unheard talent it was created to showcase? How could it cheat the very fans who turn those obscurities into household names?

Underneath this reputation gained from the muck of schmoozed press, it’s clear why there’s confusion about Austin’s South by Southwest music festival: This idealized past never existed.

It’s not SXSW’s fault, though. After all, this four-day music festival has never claimed to be any more than the music industry’s easiest chance to snap up whoever can produce the catchiest singles at the fastest rate. Any attention paid to breaking hardworking “underground” bands is almost entirely illusory and consequential. With SXSW now charging $650 for music badges to gain entry into all the festival’s concerts, that should be obvious.

But hope still remains for those who’d rather experience a group’s sincerity and passion without forking over last summer’s paycheck for a laminated card. It’s writhing and screaming inside concerts such as the performance of Total Abuse and F***ed Up at Trailer Space record shop Wednesday night of the festival.

Planned only a few hours before it occurred and starting around midnight, a crowd to rival SXSW-sanctioned shows formed in this east side parking lot.

Austin’s own Total Abuse displayed its early ’80s hardcore-punk prowess, ripping through its cuts with savage, concrete thick riffs and enough gumption to make Minor Threat blush. Brandishing its set like a prison shank, the abuse was easily total. Attendees surged full force against the group, creating a violent push and pull eventually erupting in a pit that merged the artists with the audience.

Continuing the abuse, the Canadians in F***ed Up took their brand of upbeat, hurricane-strength punk rock beyond the next level. Transforming much of its sprawling debut full-length album, 2006’s fist-shaking “Hidden World,” into an impressively tight 20-minute set, the group hardly stopped to catch its breath. Vocalist Pink Eyes utilized the full length of microphone-cord stomping through the venue for some crowd interaction. As he sang with audience members and forced them to drink beer off his XXXXL physique, his sandpaper pipes gave a perfectly barbaric rendition of “David Comes To Life.”

Two nights later, F***ed Up would create what NME described as a “riot.” As the band played another free concert on the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge, a nearly 1,000-person mosh pit formed. Police could only look on as people jumped into the water while the bridge threatened to collapse under the crowd’s weight.

Free shows continued legally and illegally for the remainder of the festival to further spite SXSW. Across town on the same night as Total Abuse and F***ed Up’s shows, notorious NYC DIY concert organizer and promoter and party planner Todd P helped host the “Midnight Unamplified Acoustic BBQ.” Over 25 untraditionally acoustic acts such as An Albatross, Best Fwends and Meneguar performed two tuned-down versions apiece as calm onlookers sipped from paper cups on UT’s main quad.

So while you might find yourself upset with missing SXSW because it’s too expensive or you’ve just lost faith, don’t get too jaded. The true spirit of rock still lives on. Now it’s just a little more F***ed Up.

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