Don't let SXSW-fueled FOMO get to you — there's plenty going on right in our own backyard
LEFT OF THE DIAL Is there any problem more thoroughly modern, more reflective of the way we currently measure the value of our experiences, more completely indicative of a charmed First-World life than that of FOMO?
The fear of missing out on a good time is, of course, hardly generational. If all our grandmothers had, at age 16, discovered their friends were throwing a giant party without them, they'd likely be a little hurt — but then they'd be like, "Wait a minute, I'm a garment worker and I make three cents an hour in terrible conditions and women still don't have the right to vote, maybe I have bigger things to worry about." More importantly, they never would have known said party took place unless one of their coworkers at the garment factory said something directly to them about it — which, what gives, bitchy garment factory coworker?
Now, of course, we have The Internet. And in the prevailing social economy of the times — under whose rules it didn't happen if you didn't Instagram it — an event like South by Southwest has all the right conditions for a perfect FOMO-inducing storm.
Yes, we're bringing you SXSW coverage this week on our website — and so will roughly one-third to half your friends on Facebook. Yes, those breakfast tacos look delicious. Hey, cool, that's you and Lena Dunham taking a selfie together, with Edward Snowden in the background making bunny ears via satellite. Of course we're incredibly jealous that you're seeing [insert band that will be considered cool for the next two years and then become "too mainstream" and then you can tell everyone you saw them way back when at SXSW].
You know what else is cool? Staying in San Francisco. At the risk of sounding like the least-fun person in the world, it's tough for me not to wonder during events like this — weeks when half the young white-collar people in town defect from the Bay Area en masse — what would happen if half these folks were to spend even half of what they're spending elsewhere on the arts scene in San Francisco.
With that in mind, here's a handy guide to musical happenings for those of who are staying in the Bay Area this week. And remember: Staying home is the new hitting the road.
Oakland's moonbell makes heady, moody, psyched-out shoegaze that doesn't skimp on the requisite wall-of-reverb. There are obvious nods to My Bloody Valentine, but there's also a modern, melodic sensibility here, in no small part thanks to the guitar fireworks layered over floaty vocals that don't sound disaffected so much as they seem to be transmitting emotions — or the soundtrack to a hazy afternoon bender of some kind — from outer space. The band's new LP drops April 1, but it'll have some cassette copies available at this show, as bands that record at Tiny Telephone are wont to have.
Barbecue pairing: A slab of ribs from Everett & Jones. Alternatively, one too many greyhounds at Cafe Van Kleef.
With That Ghost and White Cloud
579 18th St, Oakland