Many odd characters turn up at South by Southwest year after year, none more ubiquitous or scene-stealing than Beatle Bob, a natty middle-aged man with a George Harrison bowl cut, an arsenal of fly retro dance moves, and a penchant for busting them out with arm-flailing abandon directly in front of the stage at shows throughout the festival. "My signature move is to get your hands to look like you're throwing dice and then kick your leg back like a bowling move," Bob says. What he's not mentioning is the rather extraordinary way he manages to avoid landing any of his moves on the beat. If you can tell what tempo a song is by watching Bob dance to it, you're a better man than I. Bob is adored by some (including Guided by Voices, who featured him in their video for "My Kind of Soldier") and despised by others (check the comments here for a taste) -- the aforementioned leg-kick bowling move isn't quite as funny when it lands on your shin.
Over the years a legend has developed that Beatle Bob's presence at a show is an auspicious sign for the band: If Beatle Bob shows up to dance at your gig, you're on your way. So I was especially pleased to see him spazzing out enthusiastically at an afternoon set by Audiofile favorites the Frames. With Beatle Bob on their side, huge success in the U.S. is surely close at hand for the band.