There’s a lot of shit-talking at SXSW: label-on-label, promoter-on-promoter, festival-on-festival and—everyone’s favorite—band-on-band. I heard a bit of that during the Fratellis’ set at this afternoon’s Spin Magazine party at Stubb’s. I was earnestly paying attention to the Glasgow group’s Artic Monkeys–like rock when I was interrupted by Alfie Jackson, singer for English newcomers the Holloways.
“Do you like the Fratellis?” he wanted to know. I told him I’m not sure yet, since I’ve only heard a couple of songs so far. What did he think? “Well, they’re huge in the U.K.,” said Jackson, scowling. “It’s annoying because they’re sort of ahead of us and we’re more fun. Come see us tomorrow. It’s better, really.” Then he called a few of his bandmates over—guitarist-cum-fiddler Rob Skipper and bassist Bryn Fowler. The three of them performed a silly jig to their rival band’s music, eventually forming a kick line and posing for a picture (see below). Offstage, at least, they were quite charming. Just as I was promising to check out their set, a roar came from the crowd. We looked up. Pete Townshend had appeared onstage, and he was jamming with the Fratellis. It was all too much for the Holloways. They announced that they were late for a TV appearance and left in a huff.
Later at the Spin party, I spotted Danny Barria of Brooklyn band the Big Sleep watching Galactic’s set, which included verses from several nimble MCs: Lyrics Born, the Coup’s Boots Riley and Gift of Gab (from Blackalicious). Eventually, I followed Barria to the Big Sleep’s show at Flamingo Cantina, a club that has the filthiest ceiling I’ve ever seen. After a few minutes of the Big Sleep’s dreamy sludge rock rattling the rafters, I began to get nervous. What if some of that fuzzy gray matter fell and ended up in my bloodstream? I could die! Rock & roll, it’s awfully glamorous.
The Holloways watch the Fratellis’ set during Spin Magazine’s afternoon bash at Stubb’s