Peter Anthony/ DJ Muppetfucker, DJ Firewheel, Texture/Empire, Thursday, March 15

Live Shots: South by Southwest 2001

Peter Anthony/ DJ Muppetfucker, DJ Firewheel

Texture/Empire, Thursday, March 15

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so too does the DJ. The difference lies in the fact that a DJ sans audience sounds a helluva lot better than the negative squelch of an anti-crowd. Lines around the block at Stubb's Jurassic 5 mindwarper the same night as a host of other excellent beatmasters means zero attendance for the locals who would otherwise command a decent crowd. Case in point: happy hardcore local hero DJ Muppetfucker's set at baggies-and-glowstick HQ Empire was slightly less attended than a Polish film festival in Podunk. With exactly two (sporadic) dancers on the floor and a handful of underage locals trying their damnedest to hit up the barback, it was, frankly, a sorry sight. Muppetfucker remained largely unfazed throughout, spinning the skittery, hyper-adrenalized video-game-inspired music he's rightfully famous for. Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" at 78 rpm, anyone? Hell, why not? Things were even worse for NYC tech/house DJ Peter Anthony, whose set at newcomer club Texture drew exactly no one. Finding an empty dancefloor in Austin on a Thursday night is a rare (and downright frightening) thing, though for the four stalwarts holding up the bar, Anthony's sleek mix of up-tempo house and groove-heavy skitter-beats provided a welcome background to the badgey chaos outside. Back at Empire, former Rollers Redefined jungle sista (and mainstay) DJ Firewheel was having a ball despite the fact that a mere microcluster of people were digging it on the floor. (Three, exactly.) "When it comes to jungle," she said between mixouts, "I haven't ever really played the darker stuff, evil stuff. I've always been into the more soulful side of the music and although I may have mixed it in with heavier stuff in the past, I've always spun stuff that people could latch onto. As opposed to scaring everybody off, you know?" Indeed I do. A kinder, gentler jungle and a thousand points of lightsticks. Now where the hell's the audience?

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