Marginally better than: Listening to Billy Joel records in a Seattle parking garage.
It's SXSW season, and few things are longer than the faces of Facebook non-attendees this year. My newsfeed rolls like the tear-sodden Jordan with tales of locked-out, broke-ass woe from the West Coast rock elite. Pals in Austin are having too much fun to post updates I'd ignore anyway in favor of fresh horrors from Libya and Japan. Being so far from the main event was for me nowhere near as frustrating as holding one press ticket to Friday's sold-out Devo show at the Warfield, and being told to wait in the rain for the fast-diminishing chance to buy my photographer another ticket for the low! low! price of five Jacksons and two Lincolns. At that point, I wouldn't have hung five more minutes to see the Risen Elvis, much less Ohioans with flowerpots on their heads.
The headliner took his sweet time mulling over a laptop and Theremin before unsnapping his guitar case and plugging in for his solo set. In addition to his many other distinctions, Black Flag founder Greg Ginn was dubbed by Rolling Stone the 99th greatest rock guitarist of all time, which could well be why as many as a dozen customers actually endured the entire hour and a half set. The remainder fled by the twos and threes into a wet and freezing night rather than endure another moment of aimless high-decibel noodling. This is just the sort of uninvolving passionless stuff we're told first-wave punks like Ginn went to three-chord war against back during the Carter administration. The faces around the room wore a uniform numb expression until it ended. Some old drunk wandered in, tried to dance, and left, shaking his head as if convinced he'd stumbled upon Madame Loud's Wax Museum. Finally it ended and Ginn bade us a diffident goodnight.
Overheard: Wendy Stonehenge: "I know you all skipped South by Southwest for this!"