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SXSW ’08: Daryl Hall Or Nothing

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

Some people may think that going to see SXSW 2008 keynote speaker Daryl Hall perform at South By Southwest is some sort of indie-ironic inside joke. Like, "Ha ha, won't it be funny to see that old has-been who sang 'Private Eyes'?"

But I'm dead serious when I tell you Daryl Hall is cooler than pretty much any skinny-jeaned, hoodie-shrouded band du jour playing SXSW this year.

There's a reason why the Gym Class Heroes named their most recent trek the "Daryl Hall For President '07 Tour" and are working on a Hall & Oates mashup album. Or why Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go For That" has been sampled in about 4,987 hip-hop songs. Or why Daryl gets people like KT Tunstall and (of course) Gym Class Heroes MC Travis McCoy to guest on his online music/talk show, Live From Daryl's House.

It's because Hall & Oates--and by association, the duo's chief songwriter, Daryl--are just plain friggin' cool. No joke.

Never was this more clear than when Daryl performed a free, 40-minute concert at the Austin Convention Center on SXSW's kickoff night, Wednesday. Sure, the audience had its more-than-fair share of mom-jeaned frumps and graying dads in golf caps and Hawaiian shirts...but the crowd actually largely consisted of copiously tattooed hard-rockers and scrawny scenesters with Danny Noriega hairdos. And everyone was singing along, almost kumbaya-style, to "You Make My Dreams Come True," "Kiss On My List, "Sara Smile," and "Maneater."

(FYI, Daryl scored extra cool points for altering the lyrics of the "Maneater" chorus to: "Whoa-oh, here she comes/Watch out boy, she'll steal your song/Whoa-oh, here she comes/Her name is Nelly Furtado." Classic!)

Anyway, let's just see if 99.9 percent of the bands playing SXSW this year are similarly uniting the rock 'n' roll masses with their music at, say, SXSW 2028. And we'll see who's laughing then...

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