A friend at work recently hipped me to an acronym that I’ve been looking forward to using, and since I’m still saying things like “hipped me to,” I’m definitely in the market for some new expressions. I’m talking about “FOMO” — the fear of missing out. I’m about 99.974% sure that I’m way late in hearing this for the first time (clearly I’ve been missing out), but I find it really interesting, especially because the context in which I heard it used seemed to suggest it was a trait possessed by certain people, rather than a condition everyone experiences from time to time. As in, maybe you’re the type of person who wrings your hands about the fun stuff your friends are engaged in while you’re not around, and maybe you’re not. It got me thinking about how that emotion manifests itself in me. Am I a sufferer? Well, middle-school me sure as hell was. If I had a nickel for every time I experienced Friday-night FOMO in those three years, and if I’d taken those nickels and bought Apple stock… sheeeeeeeeeeiiiiiit… me and Warren Buffet would be playing Gulfstream jet rugby like they did with Kias on Top Gear.
These days, it’s almost always live music that revs up my fear of missing out. Not being able to go to the vast majority of the shows I put on my concert calendar sucks, and hands are definitely wrung when I get the reminders this calendar sends to my phone. DING! HERE’S SOMETHING AWESOME GOING ON WITHOUT YOU! Asshole calendar.
As bad as those reminders are (you probably saw this next bit coming a mile away), no time is more flush with FOMO than the six days of SXSW.
From a distance, it’s downright torturous, with Twitter acting as this weird, magnetic paradox of pain. You don’t want check your feed and see what you’re missing, but you should definitely check anyway, because so many events offer live streaming, which is great, but the streams themselves are easy to miss, and so few of them will be archived… The irony is that the festival has grown so large that, even if you’re there, you can catch only a tiny fraction of the thousands of sets that take place in those 6 days, meaning that no matter where you are — Stubb’s in Austin or San Diego in California — you’re missing out on almost everything.
There are some serious perks to enjoying SXSW from afar. The heart and soul of the conference is new and emerging artists, and since there are so many bands, members of the media who actually go have to work hard — waiting in lines, making difficult time-management decisions, finding cab rides in a city that doesn’t have that many cabs… And thanks to these intrepid late-night laborers, the weeks following SXSW offer an embarrassment of new music riches, with an avalanche of columns, blog posts and podcasts designed to spread the word about the artists who are poised to make the leap in the coming year. Simply put, it’s a great time to be a music lover, and with so much to take in as a result, it’s hard to feel like you’re missing out in the end, even if you’re thousands of miles from the action.
There’s that half-full glass. I knew it was in there somewhere.
While I can’t offer you any firsthand reports, I would like to tell you about one artist I would be stalking in Austin were I there. (As a side note, “Stalkin’ in Austin” would make for a fantastic band name. Or a reality show. Either way, I call dibs.) His name is Dan Croll, he’s English, he has 6 performances on his SXSW schedule, and last I checked he was getting ready to play a set on top of a double-decker bus, which seems impossibly fitting given his nation of origin. He has just one EP to his name, called From Nowhere, but his song “Compliment Your Soul” exudes brightness in a way that’s utterly overpowering, and I’m certain it’ll improve your Friday outlook, wherever you’re reading this from. (But if you’re reading this from Austin, I hate you.)
Check out “Compliment Your Soul” below and click here to snag the rest of his EP on iTunes.