It’s not a real party until MTV shows up with the cameras. Which is what happened on Wednesday, when the network’s dorm-room offshoot mtvU brought the open-bar Woodies Award show to Austin, TX, for the opening night of SXSW.
But first things first: Um… “Woodies”? Sure, flown-the-coop students love sexual innuendos as much as cheap beer and open bars, but, really, what’s with the name? Before the ceremony, held at the Austin Music Hall, SPIN hit the “red” carpet (it was actually black) for some answers.
“Hmmm. You know, that’s a good question,” pondered Foo Fighter Dave Grohl. “I guess it’s because they couldn’t afford nicer metal trophies…?”
“Oh, I think they call it the Woodies because it’s music that gives you a boner,” suggested New York City rapper Theophilus London.
Wiz Khalifa, meanwhile, just stated the obvious: “Um… because they’re made of wood, right?”
Matt of Matt & Kim had a more convincing theory: “Dude. You could Google it and you still wouldn’t find the answer. We’ve called my grandma Woody for years and years, it’s her nickname. So the Woodies must be named after her. She’s holding the Woodie Award we won before. So it’s all for her. Actually, put that in its Wikipedia page.”
Inside, Foo Fighters opened the ceremony with their kick-to-the-crotch rock jam “Rope,” off their back to basics April 12 release, Wasting Light.
Later, Yelawolf and Skylar Grey presented the Best Video Woodie, which went to Philadelphia duo Chiddy Bang. “We came to SXSW last year and played like four shows a day for 10 days straight and nobody knew us. So… work hard!” Good advice. But for a college-oriented event, there were a lot of dropouts in attendance, including Dave Grohl (“Yeah… I didn’t even finish high school,” he told SPIN) and presenters Yela and Grey: “I got my G.E.D., ” the Alabama rapper said. “I didn’t even do that,” Grey laughed.
Elsewhere, Khalifa performed his Super Bowl anthem “Black and Yellow,” which won the Woodie of the Year. He descended from the rafters to the main stage, stopping to give daps to Yelawolf and holla at his girl Amber on the way.
And what’s an MTV party without presenter Pete Wentz, who said: “I came here to do three things: Find out what Wavves is smoking; See how crazy Odd Future gets; and I want to see how drunk you wonderful people get…. Oh, and last to give this award for Left Field Woodie video.”
Wentz unveiled the winner, Kanye, then awkwardly laughed when explaining that ‘Ye wouldn’t appear. Lucky for him, Bay Area rapper Lil B pulled a Kanye, grabbing the mic for an “Imma let you finish” upstage shtick. B’s crew then surrounded them and hooted and hollered.
“Wow. Lil B Kanye’d Kanye,” said host Donald Glover of Community. “Step up your interruption game Kanye.”
Lil B also presented the Best Performing Woodie, which, he says, is “not about the money but about who brings the most swag [swagger].” Which is apparently Matt & Kim, who beat out Girl Talk, the National, Mumford and Sons, and Robyn to win another award for Granny Woody. “This one’s for anyone that’s ever come to one of our shows,” Matt said.
Two Door Cinema Club put in a sharp, upbeat performance of their current single “What You Know” and beat out Wavves, Sleigh Bells, and Local Natives, among others, for their first American award, Breakthrough Woodie. “You guys look like you won the battle of bands at Hogwarts,” Glover joked of their clean-cut style.
The musical highlights bookended the ceremony. Introduced by English dance punk band Friendly Fires, who warned the audience to “prepare to be bludgeoned,” Brooklyn noise-rock duo Sleigh Bells rocked. Guitarist Derek Miller fired razor-tipped riffs from a wall of Marshall amps, while singer Alexis Krauss huffed and puffed and strutted. Then a college marching band stomped onstage to push the needle into the red.
Odd Future closed the show with a midget in a face-mask, members in full chicken suits, and their de facto leader Tyler, the Creator running all over the venue, then diving into the pit to crowd surf. Cowabunga.
Whatever the meaning of the Woodies name — MTV later responded to our Tweet, saying, “We leave it open for interpretation” — its college affiliation is strong, which was made clear, one last time, when the exiting crowd of cash-strapped University of Texas students absolutely mobbed a table of free chips and soda.
Enter now for two unforgettable chances to rock with Foo Fighters. BlackBerry® is giving you the chance to host a Foo Fighters performance in YOUR garage or to catch them live during their upcoming tour!
WATCH: Foo Fighters, “Rope”
WATCH: Odd Future, “Yonkers/Sandwitches”
WATCH: Two Door Cinema Club, “What You Know”