Any SXSW wrap-up will tell you that the rumored Daft Punk show at the Austin capitol never happened.
They are dead wrong.
I was there.
@dftpnkSECRETSnewz420: Daft Punk SXSW house show! 520 E 12th Street!!1 RSVP now! http://bit.ly/YsuuHB
I remember the tweet vividly.
I dropped my Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, exited the Hype Hotel and paid a pedicab driver $104 (including tip) to bring me to the greatest show SXSW had ever seen.
What followed my arrival at 520 E 12th continues to confuse and amaze me. Someone physically removed the capitol building from its previous location and placed it squarely in the backyard of the 2 bedroom/1 bath ranch. Though the house and yard were damaged beyond repair, its tenant was beaming, completely drunk and fully aware of how cool he was for hosting a Daft Punk show. Every time he’d approach, he’d hum the LCD Soundsystem song like you hadn’t already heard him hum it to the adjacent group of people.
Just as Andy was getting unbearable the sun went out. The crowd erupted as Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter emerged through the Marlboro Black smoke billowing from the Capitol’s rooftop. Rather than stepping to an elaborate stage setup, they opted for a sparser stage design, obviously a statement of some sort. Their setup consisted of a rickety card table and a 15” Macbook Pro (Apple logo semi-obscured by a Columbia Records sticker).
The crowd cheered and laughed as they played that famous 15-second clip that’s been making the viral rounds. We thought we were in for something special, as the clip played on loop and the duo bobbed their heads.
An hour in, we realized we may not be in for something special, as the the clip continued on loop, the duo still bobbing their heads. Andy cried out in drunken despair and Taco Bell and Mophie quietly removed their banners, as not to be associated with the abomination.
Two and a half hours later, the brave few who stuck around, praying for something more saw something remarkable. The music ceased and more smooth, bold Marlboro Black smoke rose up from the building. Then, we witnessed Daft Punk remove their masks to reveal Thom Yorke and Grumpy Cat. Suddenly it all made sense.
As I suspected, Flying Lotus (as Captain Murphy) and Earl Sweatshirt soon joined Yorke and Grumpy atop the capitol to debut the much-anticipated Flying Lotus rock project, Fly-Lo Ellison and the High-Flyin’ Three.
It was amazing. FE&HF3 sounded like Grand Funk Railroad meets early Autechre as interpreted by ‘80s Dylan. Ellison’s guitar heroics took center stage, as he wailed on his double-neck Gibson Explorer. “He can really make that puppy sing!” exclaimed one onlooker.
The corporate sponsors sheepishly rehung their banners as Grumpy Cat kept a steady beat on a cocktail drum set and Earl brought the funk on the electric piano. Thom Yorke danced off to the side of the stage where several dedicated Tumblr staffers documented his every move as a GIF. A live feed of the GIFs updated every 10 seconds on a gigantic Samsung Galaxy S4 mounted to a Korean BBQ food truck. Fans could document their experience on the giant smartphone as well by tweeting with the hashtag #MustLoveGIFs.
As the group closed with a triumphant cover of “Born on the Bayou” (featuring an incredible Earl piano solo) I reflected on the magic I witnessed. I watched Steve Ellison excel in yet another genre, saw Earl thrive on the cusp of what could be a big break and cemented my place in epic bacon meme history alongside Grumpy Cat. However, most importantly I took a look deep inside and realized that SXSW was all corporate bullshit maaaaaaaaaan and joined DIIV in pseudo-protest against a festival I willingly participated in. And that, my friends, was an experience I will not soon forget.
by JJ Posway
(Daft Punk photo credit: JJ Posway)