SXSW Review: Illuminati Hotties, The Beths, March 12, Side Bar


When you get right down to it, all you need for a successful show is good bands and a good crowd. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have some good hot dogs. This show had all of those. And perhaps some important life lessons along the way.

After taking the stage to the sounds of an audio sample from some sort of documentary on Adam Weishaupt and the Illuminati and how “they must remain hidden,” Illuminati Hotties took to the stage and, unlike the actual Illuminati, they had no qualms about making their agenda known – they came here to rock out and have fun. And to give props to the hot dog guy.

Yes, this day show had hot dogs and sausages provided by The Hot Dog King. Illuminati Hotties bandleader Sarah Tudzin mentioned how she spoke with the king earlier and asked exactly how one gains the title of Hot Dog King. Apparently by selling 10 thousand hot dogs at one event. The band then dedicated its next song “I Wanna Keep Yr Dog” to the king himself. Hot dog king? I Wanna Keep Yr Dog? That’s lot of dog references in there. Coincidence? I think not. Hot dog illuminati confirmed.

The band put on an excellent set full of Tudzin’s endearing and kind of goofy stage banter and some amazing Illuminati-themed synchronized dance moves during “Pressed 2 Death.” Before ending things off with “Better Than Ever,” the band also threw in a fun, high energy cover of Paul Simon’s “Obvious Child” that was only made better at one point when Tudzin forgot the lyrics and just kept going with some “na na na’s” as placeholders.

Following Illuminati Hotties on that stage was The Beths, who put on an equally fun show while also giving a shout out to hot dogs. “Can we get an update on the hot dog bun situation?” asked Beths guitarist Jonathan Pearce, referring to an earlier hot dog related emergency on-site when the King ran out of buns.

The band displayed some great harmonies throughout their set – it’s always impressive to see every member of a band singing together at the same time – as they ran through a set full of songs off of their brilliant and catchy debut full length Future Me Hates Me.

And perhaps inspired by Illuminati Hotties before them, the band also threw out a couple of conspiracy theories of their own. The first was that a “suspicious amp” (it was later cleared of suspicion) may have actually been filled with all those missing hot dog buns, but the major, possibly game changing, reveal came when Pearce detected a bit of music still playing over the house PA that was bleeding into their sound. And while singer/guitarist Liz Stokes just assumed it was coming from whatever band may have been playing next door, Pearce laid it all out for us, much like one might lay a hot dog out in a fresh, soft bun: there was in fact no other band playing.

“That’s the Austin effect. There’s only ever one band on,” he theorized. “So don’t worry about your fear of missing out – it’s not real.” Well said. But one question remains unanswered – did we ever get an update on that hot dog bun situation?

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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