The Hype Hotel is open and some Scottish dudes are angry
It’s Saturday night at the Hype Hotel on the last day of SXSW. A whiny guy in a Plexiglas box has started to sing but the Scotsman is still angry. He’s gonna stay that way. But he has good reason.
The Hype Hotel is a staple of the SXSW experience. This year it’s at the fashionable new-ish venue called “Fair Market.” Fair Market is a warehouse venue on the East Side in a neighborhood where lately upscale markets, tech start-ups, and cat cafes have been emerging from the cracked sidewalks. It’s very in right now, probably.
The Hype Hotel is sort-of open to the public. There was an RSVP, done online, and pick up your wristband. So like many things at SXSW, capacity determines whether you get in. But, being a few blocks from the main SXSW downtown activities, it’s not as crowded as it could be.
Guests in the GA line are given a couple drink tickets. A raucous crowd is dancing to a band and a lightshow. It’s a good setup here. Nice venue.
The lines are long for mixed drinks. Outside is a grassy fenced in area. Many people are smoking out here. Smoking is still very cool apparently. They huddle in crowds and fight the wind to light the brand of cigarette they feel most affiliated with.
Crowds like this do have a tendency to inspire conversation. People bum a cig and join a discussion of geopolitics in an ever-connected era. Politely are discussing the political state of host-country America on a terrifyingly-amplified world stage. Smoking brings people together.
There is a small beach in the corner. Sandals wine is here and right on brand. Their breezy beachy brand message is reinforced with a set of lawn chairs and a make-your-own flip flops booth (sometimes awkwardly referred to as “thongs”). The key to the free flip flops is sharing images through social media. An excellent gift for those who are paranoid about the shower sanitation in whatever hotel/hostel/craigslist posting you are staying at.
Drink tickets can also be used on Sandals wine. Their line is much shorter.
There is a band in a box. The main stage is inside, but in this outdoor area, a Plexiglas box has been set up with all the necessary equipment for a small, contained performance. A band is currently setting up to play.
Some Scottish people are here as well. They are milling about with their mixed drinks and reminiscing on their SXSW experiences. They are mostly finished with their SXSW music experience, and a pretty happy with the shows they put on or were part of. They are not happy the show that is happening now.
The man in the box started on a bad note. For some inexplicable reason, he chose to precede his performance with a rant about how much he hates this city and the people here. He could be joking, a dry humor, but there are no real indicators of that. It’s all rather left field really.
The Scots do not take kindly to this unkindness. They talk about how this city “has been nothing but nice” and how you can dislike a government or policies but you can’t just go and hate a people. Especially when you are a guest. Their language is much more charming than this.
The music is astonishingly mediocre. Continual references to “the blood in his veins” or whatever. Some songs about waking up and drinking, but the tone is all sad and slow. Like the juxtaposition of party lifestyle and slow song is supposed to imply deepness.
It’s like, if you’re gonna roll hard and swagger like that, right from the get go, you got to be good, or funny, or better than this guy, at least. There may be some way to pull of the whole “I hate you all, but I want you to be sensitive to my sensitive music fully of my personal feelings.” If there is, he didn’t pull it off.
There is talk of a rebellion. The Scottish band says they could do a better job than this fellow. Under the flag of the Hype Hotel we must rise up and stamp out this mediocrity. If ever a man “needed a kicking” it was this man.
So the (short) set is spent complaining about this dude. Creative phrasings for how to deal with his rudeness and lameness. All dry wit, followed by base insults. Creative gestures from these Scottish jesters. Using up the last of the drink tickets. The sky is clear for now, but rain is coming. Perhaps the rains gods have come to render judgment. But that will be later.
The set ends and the dude takes time to, once again, state that he hates this city and the people here. The crowd isn’t paying much attention. Most people are inside listening to the other band, who doubtless has a better attitude.
But the Scots are listening. They hear him. They will meet with him again they say, some day, in some other place. They will teach him the importance of being civil. They phrase this much more directly.
It’s a good night though. A delightful evening standing in the grass with strangers talking politics and laughing at a rude man in a plastic box. Free drinks. The Hype Hotel lives up to it.