SXSW 2011 Day 2 : Ted’s Recap

<img src="https://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/sxsw2011d2ted.jpg" alt="SXSW 2011 Day 2 : Ted's Recap" />Day Two was a fuller day, though was plagued by waits in lines and missed acts.<span>  </span>Still, it featured...
SXSW 2011 Day 2 : Ted's Recap
SXSW 2011 Day 2 : Ted's Recap

The massive music industry festival that is South-by-Southwest fell into some bad timing this year, coming right after the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis, and right before the United States and her allies joined the fight in Libya by bombing Muammar Gaddafi (Day Two of the festival was also St. Patrick’s Day, but SXSW knew that going in…).  It all threatened to make the festival, and music in general, seem irrelevant, what with the world going to hell in a handbasket.  But ensconced in the cocoon that was downtown Austin, on your smart phones and Twitter, with wristbands and free drinks galore, SXSW proved to once again be an engrossing, all-encompassing musical clusterfuck of an experience.

 

Day Two was a fuller day, though was plagued by waits in lines and missed acts.  Still, it featured some very nice unofficial showcases with great acts (and free drinks), and a smorgasbord of artists.

 

[Note: QRO had a number of correspondents at SXSW this year; this is just the Day One recap from Ted Chase; click here for Amanda Krieg’s Day One recap, and click here for Tammi J Myers’, and click here for Robin Sinhababu’s]

 

Paper Garden Records Party @ Uncorked Wine Bar

The Seedy Seeds, 2:30 PM
The Seedy Seeds

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It was a hot day in Austin (at least compared to New York in March), so picked up a nice foldable water pouch from Rackspace Hosting at the trade show – one of the two best free items picked up at South-by-Southwest (the other was a pair of Carrera headphones).  Following the train tracks and crossing under I-35, past a massive line for FADER Fort, made that water pouch pick-up extra-wise.
view from Uncorked

Hello. We Are The Seedy SeedsThough there was free Vitamin Water at the Paper Garden Records party at Uncorked Wine Bar (of course, had to finish the water in the pouch first, so I could fold it back up…) – though no free drinks like I had been told (think that those came a bit later).  Uncorked is just a block east of I-35, but up the hill, which makes it a pain to get to, but gives a great view when there – albeit of said highway, a gas station sign, and the rest of downtown Austin.

The Seedy Seeds kicked off the party, though thirty minutes late, messing with the rest of my schedule (see below), but it was a shaky schedule to begin with.  The band mixes indietronica with alt-folk, two very popular styles (more so last year than this year – what, no post-dubstep?…), but the alt-folk naturally fared better than the indietronica in the setting (and it was likely the ‘tronics that cause the extended set up time).  Seedy Seeds also had a nice banner – important to let people know what your name is at SXSW…
The Seedy Seeds

~

 

FADER Fort Party

Young Buffalo, 3:10 PM
Young Buffalo

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Seeing that FADER Fort line reminded me that I really needed to pick up my press credentials there – thankfully didn’t have to wait in the regular RSVP line.  I had been semi-hoping to catch The Answering Machine (QRO photos), but was really just going to shoot whoever was playing once I got in (and after I got a beer…) – that turned out to be Young Buffalo.

Young Buffalo’s rock was decent, but not fitting for the beats-heavy FADER Fort, with few there really paying attention (there was drinkin’ to be done!…).  And they stopped after one song, then left the stage.  Apparently an amp had blown out, and they did return, but none of this was announced to the crowd, so when they left the stage, I left FADER Fort (which nicely also had soft drinks in coolers – perfect for when leaving the place on a hot day).
Young Buffalo

~

 

MTV Party @ Red River Garage

Friendly Fires, 4:00 PM
Friendly Fires

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But was going to leave FADER Fort regardless for Friendly Fires at MTV’s party on the Red River Garage, across the street & overlooking Stubb’s.  Got to the garage on Red River Street before Friendly Fires started, but had to wait in line as security seemed more concerned with vehicles that were coming & going (at least it wasn’t as long as the regular line).  Missed half of Friendly Fires’ set in that line, but the press pass that I’d rushed to pick up the prior day (QRO recap) did get me into the VIP area overlooking the crowd (that also had a buffet – important to eat at SXSW, extra-important to eat for free).
view from VIP section

Ed MacfarlaneIt seems like it’s been forever since Friendly Fires was last in the U.S. (so long ago The xx were opening for themQRO xx live review), but that’s only enhanced their draw.  Get your tickets as soon as you can for when they next come by you, as their shows are sure to sell out (wouldn’t be surprised to see them bumped up in venues after the shows sell so well) – and the band still more than has it live.  The electric dance show, with singer Ed Macfarlane making like Nic Offer of !!! (QRO live review) – only better, and British – was so pumping that it literally made the floor shake.

Or maybe it was because we were on top of a parking garage structure…
go see Friendly Fires

 

Atlantic Connection, 4:30 PM
Atlantic Connection

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Left the VIP area to go into the photo pit for this rapper & DJ that I’d never heard of, only to be told by a mustachioed security guy that I needed an all-access badge to shoot from the pit.  There was no crowd in front of Atlantic Connection, so didn’t matter, but then, after shooting, when I tried to return to the VIP area, security there told me that they weren’t letting press in there anymore (in fact, he’d gotten in trouble for allowing it before)…

None of this was Atlantic Connection’s fault, but hardly left me in a mood to review him at all.
Atlantic Connection

 

Kids of 88, 4:55 PM
Kids of 88

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In addition to the lines outside, MTV’s Red River Garage also only gave you four free drinks – literally a plastic wristband with four tabs, and even in the VIP area they took one off of you each time you got a drink.  Still, the main flaw with the showcase was that between the excellent Friendly Fires and Matt & Kim (see above & below) on the main stage was Kids of 88, who were totally unworthy of the slot.  Like emo with disco beats, Kids of 88 did wrong what Friendly Fires did right.
Kids of 88

girl of 88Well, the New Zealand band did one thing right – they let a cute, spunky black girl on stage to dance with them (when a girl went on stage for Friendly Fires a while back at Bowery Ballroom – QRO venue review – she overstayed her unasked-for welcome and Macfarlane ended up picking her up and dumping her back into the crowd…).  It might have been a bad precedent to set before Matt & Kim (who are known to have a stage-crasher or two…), but this girl knew how to dance – and how to make Kids of 88 seem a lot better when she was on stage.

Unfortunately, then some dude also was let on stage, and his ‘dancing’ seemed to consist of jumping up and down and/or hugging members of the band. [note: didn’t take photos of his time on stage; didn’t want to encourage him…]
Kids of 88

 

The New Cassettes, 5:35 PM
The New Cassettes

he has framesClick image for full gallery

There were two stages at the MTV Red River Garage, one with all of the main bands like Matt & Kim and Friendly Fires (see below & above), and one with the other bands that you’d never heard of.  Only the two stages were right next to each other.  So, after Kids of 88 finished on the main stage, Matt & Kim fans stayed rooted in front of that stage, while The New Cassettes played in front of a wide open space next to a crowd of Matt & Kim fans.

Not that The New Cassettes let it affect them, with a good, if not amazing, and somewhat mainstream, alt-rock set.  And they get bonus points for starting literally right after Kids of 88 ended – the guy introducing them said, “These guys said they were born ready – The New Cassettes!”  Even the mike + DJ Atlantic Connection (see above) needed time to set up after the prior act had ended.  Also bonus points to the singer for fixing a guitarist’s unplugged mike before even the speedy stage crew could get to it.

Later that night at PureVolume House, ran into the singer from The New Cassettes (recognized him by his frames – which he still has, unlike Matt Johnson, who apparently can “see without these frames”…), who was actually pretty accepting and upbeat about the whole thing.
The New Cassettes

 

Matt & Kim, 6:05 PM
Matt & Kim

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At least the crowd in front of Matt & Kim waited until The New Cassettes finished before starting their chant.  This was why you were here – Matt & Kim playing a free, outdoor, early evening, all ages devil horns or longhorns?show at SXSW for MTV.  Those were also reasons to avoid this show, fearing that a crush of kids would ruin it, but the Red River Garage seemingly had a very low capacity – probably because it was the top floor of a parking garage structure, so a band like Matt & Kim could quite literally make the floor/roof shake.  Even worse was the tent above the soundboard across from the stage, which was shaking furiously.

After MTV had the crowd cheer for the cameraman (who did give the devil horns – or was that the longhorns sign?…), security in the pit announcing to the crowd, “If you’re smoking weed, put it out,” and seeing a bunch of people without all-access badges enter the photo pit while that same security guard said that I couldn’t, Matt & Kim came on.
cheer for Matt & Kim!

Kim SchifinoAnd were awesome!  I’ve seen Johnson & Schifino (QRO interview) many, many times (we’re on a first-name basis…), and they still are able to put on a show that’s enjoyable as the fgreen man is totally saving your life right now, broirst time that you saw them.  There were fans watching from structures overlooking the parking garage – who of course got name-checked by the band.  Kim also called out all of those wearing green, including a Green Man in the crowd!  He’d apparently been at their show at Austinwatching on parking garage from another parking garage City Limits 2010 (QRO recap), and not crowdsurfed when Kim said Matt Johnsonthat he should, so Kim pretty much demanded that the green fellow surf this time, which he did (albeit did have non-green shoes on…) – one security guy even helped him up the barricade to launch into the crowd.

Matt & KimMatt & Kim had other great jokes with the crowd, including Matt (QRO interview) making Kim display & shake the “ASSet” she showed off in their video for “Lessons Learned” (unfortunately no nudity this time), and, when talking about another video where they fought each other, how they had special Hollywood martial arts trainers – but when shooting began, Kim just hit him as hard as she could, in the face, giving him his first-ever bloody nose (first-ever, Matt?…)!  Kim’s take-away from the event?  “Matt shouldn’t fuck with me…”

They did old songs, they did new songs, they did their new version of the very old “Silver Tiles”, dedicating it to everyone who’d seen them before, “And if you haven’t seen us before, every time after this, this song will be dedicated to you…”, they brought out balloons, and they generally did what Matt & Kim do oh so very well.
Matt & Kim & balloons

~

 

AOL Music Showcase @ Stubb’s BBQ

Foster the People, 7:45 PM
Foster the People

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After the exhilaration of Matt & Kim, crossed Red River for Stubb’s, and made it just after Foster the People had finished their third song, keeping me from the photo pit.  So got some photos from the crowd, and was generally underwhelmed by this wanna-be Passion Pit (QRO album review) – and there seemed to be a lot of wanna-be Passion Pits at SXSW 2011.
Foster the People

 

Noah & The Whale, 9:30 PM
Noah & The Whale & the photo pit

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ladies love Noah & The WhaleBut had come for Noah & The Whale – only to find that the photo pit had a random and too-low ten person limit, keeping a handful out, including me.  It was funny to see other photographers complain until they were blue in the face to seemingly every security person they could find (all this right in front of the speakers), as if they were somehow going to change someone’s mind when even security admitted they had no control over this Charlie Finktoo-low limit.  Thankfully, photographers who were in the pit knew about it, and enough of them were gracious enough to us to leave early, and give those waiting outside a chance to go in.

Noah & The Whale got a lot of fans, especially female ones, with debut Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down (QRO review), which featured Laura Marling (QRO live review), and follow-up The First Days of Spring (QRO review), which was mostly singer/guitarist Charlie Fink retelling his break-up with Marling – but the new Last Night on Earth is a departure from that sad alt-folk, in a seventies up-rock direction.  Unfortunately only listened to the record (QRO review) after SXSW, and took off after getting what photos from the pit I could.  After listening to Last Night, wish that I’d stayed longer, or gone to their Bowery Ballroom show the week following (QRO photos), instead of QRO’s Donald Lee.
Noah & The Whale

~

 

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society/popantipop Party @ Annie’s West

Snowden, 11:40 PM
Snowden

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Left Stubb’s to try to catch DeVotchKa (QRO album review) at Lustre Pearl, only to find major lines for the showcase, which also featured Phantogram (QRO album review) and was headlined by Cold War Kids (QRO live review).  When I heard the first strains of the unique DeVotchKa, I left the unmoving line that I was standing in – only to still miss Hooray For Earth (QRO spotlight on) at the too far west Annie’s West.  But had luckily caught them the night before (QRO recap).

And was there also for another longtime ‘Friend of the Q’, Snowden.  The audience was unfortunately mostly drunk St. Patrick’s Day revelers, and the event was sponsored by the anti-whaling sea captain that South Park had made fun of (though he seems to have done his job, as the Japanese have announced they’re stopping their ‘scientific’ whaling because of his ship), but the handsome Jordan Jeffares (QRO interview) had ladies & their men interested.  Snowden was down to a three-piece, after having to replace two of the original members, but still has Jeffares and drummer Chandler Rentz – though the new bassist couldn’t remember how to being “Anti Anti”…

Glad Snowden were at SXSW, even if only unofficially (seemed to be a late add), and their only lighting was the projection of a film strip.  But still waiting on that new record…

~

 

PureVolume House Party

The Limousines, 12:30 AM
The Limousines

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Returned to PureVolume House for the second late night showcase – not just for the free drinks or because it ran past 2:00 AM, but also because the line-up was pretty great on Night Two.  The door was handled much better, even if now my press wristband didn’t get me into the pseudo-backstage, unlike the prior night.

The Limousines were middling electro, kind of reminiscent of Kill Hannah (QRO live review), who I’d already said was not as good as the first opener on a tour they did, Paper Route (QRO live review – wish they had been at SXSW, after amazing performance two years ago – QRO recap), but better the headliner of that tour, She Wants Revenge (QRO photos – who unfortunately were back at SXSW…).
The Limousines

 

The Dears, 1:40 AM
The Dears

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Natalia YunchukAfter walking in to their phenomenal set on Day One (QRO recap), had high expectations for the full Dears at PureVolume House, and wasn’t disappointed.  The first band I was seeing for the second time at SXSW, they totally deserved it.  The crowd wasn’t as into it as the night before (either The Dears at Spill or the PureVolume House crowd), but The Dears managed to semi-coax an encore out of the crowd, and one fan did try a late crowd-surf – and utterly failed.  Singer Murray Lightburn literally asked if the guy was okay after falling flat on his face.

Lightburn did his walk into the crowd during “5 Chords”, plus unbuttoning his shirt thanks to the heat & sweat, and guitarist Patrick Krief wailed right in front of the crowd, but had my eye on keyboardist Natalia Yunchuk, who looked especially good when she played one-handed – whenever she could, she had her other hand behind her back.
The Dears

 

The Bravery, 2:00 AM
The Bravery

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The Bravery were one of those bands that appeared in the post-Strokes alt-boom who you quickly lost interest in – basically “An Honest Mistake” and that was it (a feud with The Killers – QRO album review – about each others’ ska past didn’t help).  Yet they deserve another look.  Their latest, Stir the Blood (QRO review), isn’t amazing, but they’ve consistently been putting on great live shows, no matter the crowd – from drunk douches at a Heineken-sponsored event (QRO photos) to suburban north Jerseyians outdoors in lawn chairs (QRO photos).  They’re not ultra-inspired or -artistic, but who is?  And whoever that is probably puts on a crappy live show.  They were strong, enjoyable, and exciting – and even eschewed closing on “Mistake”, but instead put it second-to-last, ending instead with the also good “Fearless”.
The Bravery

 

Innerpartysystem, 3:00 AM
Innerpartysystem

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The stronger line-up kept me at PureVolume House until closing, so saw Innerpartysystem – who were a lot like The Limousines (see above), only with the frontman mostly just messing around with knobs rather than actual singing.

~

 

Other notes:

-Walking into downtown, walked past The Greenhornes at Waterloo Records.  While I was waiting for the light to change, realized that they sounded a lot like The Black Keys (QRO album review), because there was a kid on the other side of the street wearing a Black Keys t-shirt, anxiously waiting for the light to change so he could cross over and see The Greenhornes.

-Ridiculous ‘secret show’ rumors were flying throughout SXSW, including one I heard at Annie’s West that Radiohead (QRO album review) was up after Snowden.  Secret shows are either open secrets, or just not true.

Danny Pudi-Someone who was at SXSW was Danny Pudi, a.k.a. Ahmed of Community (not Some Community – QRO SXSW photos from Day Two).  He was probably there to support co-star Donald Glover (Troy), who has started a sideline rapping as Childish Gambino, and was performing at SXSW (also, Joel McHale – Jeff – seems to do The Soup from Austin every now and then for some reason).

It almost makes up for people tweeting that night about watching Community – what’s with bloggers tweeting while they watch NBC’s Thursday night line-up?  It’s not live or once a year like The Oscars, and who thinks people need to hear about your reaction to a scripted TV show?  Was especially tiresome having to scroll past NBC TV tweets when trying to find the latest tweet about where Radiohead would be playing at SXSW…

-If you want to hate St. Patrick’s Day, go to SXSW.  St. Patrick’s Day has already become annoying thanks to the amateur night drinking & Irishness, but for some reason SXSW is scheduled the same week as the holiday.  It’s always on March 17th, so two years ago was the day before, and last year was Day One, but this year it fell right in the middle of SXSW, with drunk locals in green making downtown Austin even more of a clusterfuck.

And it’s only going to be worse next year, when St. Patrick’s Day should fall on the Saturday of SXSW (skipping Friday thanks to the leap year).  Please South-by-Southwest, have the festival the week before or after next year – or you’re going to have an absolute nightmare to close it out.

-Staying late at PureVolume House lead me actually being able to catch a cab!  After some nightmare issues trying to do it two years ago (including drunk frat boys almost getting into a fight with my cabbie), didn’t try at all last year, but found that 3:00 AM is a much easier time to catch a cab than 2:00 AM (also good idea: walk on a street that’s one-way into downtown, to catch the cabs headed downtown, looking for a fare, before they’ve picked up a fare downtown).

 

Unfortunately missed:

-The Features (QRO live review) @ Latitude 30, 10:35 AM – 11:05 AM.  Way too early (i.e., AM…) to go to anything, even British Music Embassy brunch – and The Features are from Tennessee (but have had more success in Blighty)…

-The Seedy Seeds @ Valhalla, Bear Hands (QRO spotlight on) @ Annie’s West, or Savoir Adore (QRO live review) @ Barbarella Patio, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM.  Didn’t get my shit together in time, but did see Seedy Seeds a few hours later (see above), and had just seen Bear Hands in Brooklyn (QRO photos).

-Asobi Seksu (QRO album review) and Oh Land (QRO album review) @ ND, 1:30 PM – 3:10 PM.  Tried to make in between Seedy Seeds & FADER Fort (see above), but no such luck.  And we’d posted our review of Fluorescence that day – luckilly Tammi J Myers saw them the next day – QRO photos.

-ARMS (QRO album review), Pepper Rabbit, and Ravens & Chimes (QRO mp3 review) @ The Liberty, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM.  Seeing Todd Goldstein at SXSW would be too painful – remind me of my favorite band of SXSW 2009 (QRO recap), his gone-but-not-forgotten Harlem Shakes (QRO tribute).

-The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (QRO live review), Owen Pallett (QRO live review), and Weekend @ Club de Ville, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

-Nardwuar & Andrew W.K. (QRO photos) and Hot Panda (QRO album review) @ Headhunter’s Cannibal Stage, 3:25 PM – 4:35 PM.  Had hint up Mint Records’ Headhunter’s Patio showcase at both SXSW 2009 (QRO recap) & 2010 (QRO recap), but MTV Red River Garage (see above) conflicted – and missed the sure-to-be-awesome pairing of Nardwuar & Andrew W.K…

-The Antlers (QRO live review), The Joy Formidable (QRO live review), and Wild Flag (QRO photos) @ The Parish, 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM.  The Joy Formidable might be the band I most missed catching at SXSW 2011.

-Ted Leo (QRO photos), Low (QRO album review), Lia Ices (QRO album review), and Sharon Van Etten (QRO album review) @ French Legation Museum, 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM.

-Roky Erickson (QRO live review), Peter Buck, and J Mascis (QRO photos) @ Threadgill’s.  Rock Erickson’s ‘Ice Cream Social’ wasn’t official, RSVP, or free, but would have been worth paying to see Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. (QRO live review) & Buck of R.E.M. (QRO album review).

-The Strokes, Twin Shadow, and Luke Rathborne @ Auditorium Shores Stages, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM.  While official, this show was also free, and was going to be a nightmare to get into the photo pit, if I even could, for The Strokes.

-The Dig (QRO live review) @ Hotel Vegas, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

-Cold War Kids, Phantogram, and DeVotchKa @ Lustre Pearl, 10:00 PM – 1:00 AM.  See above

-Hooray For Earth @ Annie’s West, 10:30 PM – 11:30 PM.  See above

-Owen Pallett, Cass McCombs (QRO photos), and The Kills (QRO photos) @ Emo’s Main Room, 11:00 PM – 2:00 AM.  Knew that Domino Records’ official showcase was going to be packed – and was for QRO’s Amanda Krieg, who was there for The Kills (QRO recap).  And I was going to see The Kills tomorrow at SPIN party at Stubb’sQRO photos.

-TV On the Radio (QRO live review) @ Stubb’s, 12:30 AM – 1:30 AM.  As packed as it was at Stubb’s for Noah & The Whale (see above), was going to be worse for TVOTR (and ten photographer limit for photo pit didn’t help, either).  Plus, was going to see them too at the SPIN showcase, there at Stubb’s, the next day.

-The Sounds (QRO live review) @ Cedar Street Courtyard, 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM.  Was free, open to the public, and bound to be packed.

 

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