SXSW 2009 : Day Two

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/sxsw2009recapsm2.gif" alt=" " />After hitting South by Southwest hard on Day One, did the same on Day Two, only <u>more</u> so. ...

SXSW 2009 : Day Two

After hitting South-by-Southwest hard on Day One (QRO SXSW 2009 Day One recap), did the same on Day Two, only more so: ranged farther afield (even to the wrong side of the tracks) to newer places, saw more bands, missed more bands, ate more, drank more, and generally turned it up to eleven.


We doubled-teamed South-by-Southwest this year – continue for Ted Chase’s SXSW 2009 Day Two recap, or click here to go straight to Austin’s own Robin Sinhababu

 

Ted Chase:

 

Todd P Presents @ Ms. Bea’s

The Forms, 12:05 PM

The Forms

Click image for full gallery

lower your guitar!Tied to the keysOutdoors at noon, on the wrong side of I 35, is not the best form for The Forms (QRO photos).  And relatively recently reduced to a threesome, the Brooklyn band needs to work more on their stage presence: Alex Tween (QRO interview) is tied down to the keys, with new guitarist Jim Fowler a little removed (and still wears his guitar too high on his chest…).  However, the set up does bring drummer Matt Walsh more to the fore, which is a good thing (his mullet, on the other hand…).

Todd Pmullet!Moreover, their material (QRO album review) still sounded good – and got a chance to finally see what Todd P looks like in person.  The band (QRO photos) is better suited for a bigger stage, but outdoors at night should be good – they’re going to be one of a million bands to play Todd P’s acoustic barbeque at midnight.  Will they rock their cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies”, MTV Unplugged (QRO DVD review) style?

drinking @ noon

~

 

PASTE/Brooklyn Vegan Party @ Radio Room

The Wheel, 1:00 PM

The Wheel

Click image for full gallery

Left Ms. Bea’s and missed seeing the moved-up-to-1:00 PM Grant Hart again (QRO SXSW Day One recap) to catch The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (QRO album review) at Radio Room Patio – only to have them not show up.  Instead, the two-man (well, really one guy and a back-up singer) The Wheel, who had just finished up inside at Radio Room, did another set outside.  A lot of people left (and the free beer had long since been extinguished).  The Wheel’s alt-country/folk was decent enough, but not really a fair time to judge.

~

 

Rhapsody Rocks @ Mohawk

Wavves, 1:30 PM

Wavves

another guitar & drums duo...Click image for full gallery

On record, Wavves is DIY electronic, but live on Mohawk Patio, he’s a two-man, guitar-and-drums lo-fi garage outfit.  Either way, he/they are not special in the least – ever since the success of No Age (QRO live review), everyone’s looking for the ‘next No Age’, leading to an overflow in guitar-and-drums duos.  Had left the running-late Radio Room, passing up Bishop Allen (QRO spotlight on), who were certainly running late – singer/guitarist Justin Rice (QRO interview) was literally running down the street towards Radio Room as I was walking up it towards Mohawk.

~

 

Mint Records Afternoon Hootenanny @ Headhunters Back Patio

Gentleman Reg, 2:05 PM

Gentleman Reg

tiki gods approveGentleman's ladiesClick image for full gallery

Even though Rey Vermue is on Arts & Crafts, not Mint, the Gentleman volunteered to play Mint’s showcase, and took the most of the opportunity.  In a short set, he started with his catchiest and best songs from this year’s Jet Black (QRO review), including “You Can’t Get It Back” and the pressing “How We Exit”.  He also had a full band behind him, including ladies on keys and drums – when they sang back-up on certain choruses, it sounded like Reg had gotten the whole audience (and more) to sing-along.

Gentleman Reg & co.

~

 

Immaculate Machine, 2:35 PM

Immaculate Machine

You're not Kathryn Calder!Click image for full gallery

You're not Kathryn Calder!Stuck around at Headhunters for two reasons: free veggie tacos (not amazing, but free & decent enough; had like seven…) and Mint Records’ best artist, Immaculate Machine (though The Pack A.D. were giving out sweet drink cozies that saw use…).  Between Fables (QRO review) and her work on The New Pornographers’ Challengers (QRO review), singer/keyboardist Kathryn Calder broke out in a big way in 2007 – but she wasn’t with her Machine at SXSW.  In fact, it was pretty hard to tell that it was Immaculate Machine: the three-piece not only didn’t have Brooke Gallupe's new 'doCalder, but seems to have a new drummer, and singer/guitarist Brooke Gallupe has grown his hair (even a mustache) and added a bunch of new people.  What’s more, they seemed to be only playing new, post-Fables material – or at least left before they got to that.

~

 

Filter’s Showdown at Cedar Street @ Cedar Street Courtyard

Great Northern, 3:00 PM

Great Northern

Click image for full galleryand who are you?

Two of the nicest finds of SXSW came on Day Two: Cedar Street Courtyard and Great Northern.  While located a little ways away from the heart of things, like Pangaea on Day One (QRO SXSW Day One recap), Cedar Street Courtyard benefited from that by not being über-packed.  It also was a great outdoor daytime spot: open air, but nestled right between two buildings for lots of shade – except on the band, making for better photos.  There were two air-conditioned bars on either side, making it easy to get Rachel Stolteup to the front, get cool, and/or get a drink (didn’t even mind so much the lack of any open bar – though two bucks for a bottle of water was very un-punk…).

And Great Northern weren’t half-bad, either.  Their expansive sound has just enough Brit-rock to it to make it classy and meaningful, without being overwrought, and it worked in the Courtyard, both pushing and washing out and over.  They’re also a pretty good-looking band with singer/guitarists Solon Bixler & Rachel Stolte (and whoever that was on keys…), with the new Remind Me Where the Light Is out next month.

Cedar Street Courtyard

~

 

Annuals, 3:40 PM

Annuals

Anna SpenceMike RobinsonClick image for full gallery

After only catching the tail end of their set last night (QRO SXSW Day One recap), stuck around at the great Cedar Street Courtyard for all of Annuals this time.  The bands own epic, expansive, and evocative sound has always played well outdoors (QRO photos), and it was no different at the Courtyard.  Plus, gave yet another chance to run into bassist Mike Robinson (QRO interview) – not to mention further develop a crush on singer/keyboardist Anna Spence.

Cedar Street Courtyard

~

 

Oklahoma Film & Music Party @ Palm Door

Colourmusic, 4:20 PM

Colourmusic

nice gams...Click image for full gallery

Many foreign governments were throwing official parties at SXSW, from the BBQ’s of Australia and Canada to just about every region of the United Kingdom to the festival’s classic ‘Japan Nite’ (now extended to two nights!) – and this year, so did the exotic land of Oklahoma.  Celebrating not just the music but also film and more from the Sooner State, there was also free food and at least one drink ticket in the nice, airy Palm Door, just next to the Austin Convention Center.  And while they didn’t have Norman, Oklahoma’s (home of the University of Oklahoma – and new Norman Music Festival – QRO festival recap) Flaming Lips (QRO live review) – or could-have-gotten Evangelicals (QRO spotlight on) – they did have the excellently alt-strange and active Colourmusic (QRO photos at Norman Music Festival).

obstructed view

nicer gams...Colourmusic were certainly rocking it, still dressed all in white, but this time wearing the more comfortable-in-the-heat skirts, an ensemble that resembled women’s tennis wear (two of the four were also sporting white say 'cheese'camera-visor-type things, like after playing tennis, they were going to go down into the coal mines…).  The only real problem with the set-up was that singer/guitarist Ryan Hendrix’s mike stand was placed right in front of a pillar, but that didn’t stop him from applauding Oklahomans’ “niceness” – or a couple of fans, at least, from seriously dancing.

Colourmusic

~

 

The Uglysuit, 5:55 PM

The Uglysuit

The UglysuitClick image for full gallery

Stuck around at Palm Door, not just to stuff up on mini-pizzas, but also to catch a bit of one of the headliners of this year’s upcoming Norman Music Festival (QRO 2009 Festival Guide), The Uglysuit.  While they looked some country-jam band, their sound was an expansive one, jammed out nicely.

The Uglysuit

~

 

Transgressive and Chocolate Industries Presents @ Brush Square Park

Graham Coxon, 6:05 PM

Graham Coxon

Click image for full gallery

One late add to SXSW that drew a lot of initial interest was Graham Coxon, the ex-guitarist of famed Brit-poppers Blur.  Back before their split, he and singer Damon Albarn pretty much defined the Brit-pop sound of the nineties with such pieces as the still-seminal “Song 2” (pretty much the best two minutes of music ever), and now he’s going to be rejoining his band this summer.  But before that (and drummer Dave Rowntree’s latest attempt at elected office – QRO’s ‘Musicians as Politicians’), he’s at SXSW.  Unfortunately, at this outdoor event at Brush Square Park, it was just Coxon, sitting down on acoustic guitar.  While he could have sounded sweet, do you really want to see anything associated with Blur that way?

Graham Coxon & friends

~

 

Other Music & Dig for Fire Lawn Party @ French Legation Museum

The Thermals, 6:15 PM

The Thermals

Click image for full gallery

Went back across I 35, and slightly up the hill, for Cursive (QRO live review) at French Legation Museum – and got the tail end of The Thermals.  It’s difficult to peg exactly what I don’t like about the punk-pop band – but also what others like so much in them.  Catchy, fun, and with energy, The Thermals lack in real creativity & accomplishment.  They’re a bit reminiscent of what Green Day was to fans of that same age fifteen years ago – great if you grew up with them, but otherwise…

The Thermals & friends

~

 

Cursive, 6:30 PM

Cursive

Click image for full gallery

Tim KasherFrench Legation Museum is a nice spot to hold some outdoor shows – big enough to hold a big tent, with lots of green area (not quite sure where the actual ‘museum’ is, though…), good breeze, and an ice cream truck – which left right before had a chance to partake…  Cursive (QRO photos) started off with the singles from their latest two records, Happy Hollow’s break-through “Dorothy At 40” and the just-released Mama, I’m Swollen’s (QRO review) “From the Hips”, and with those two, one can see why the band gets so much respect, with fans who have made them their core band.  Though you would have to have followed Cursive (QRO photos) for a while to really love them, or overlook a stop-start grind like they followed those two up with.

Cursive & friends

~

 

FADER Fort

Lissy Trullie, 7:00 PM

Lissy Trullie

Lissy TrullieClick image for full gallery

Waltzing past the HUGE line to get a wristband for perhaps the only party that cared if you were on the RSVP list, at FADER Fort.  The Fort was also perhaps the only place that lived up to its promise of free drinks, and not just some lame sponsored drink you’ve never heard of, but a full assortment (still hit up what could be most easily carried in largest quantities, to avoid the not-that-bad drink lines).  Since having heard her Self-Taught Learner EP (QRO review), Lissy Trullie does sound better, her girl-garage more fleshed out.  Was missing the great-looking bassist from CMJ, though…

 

FADER Fort

~

 

Tricky, 8:00 PM

Tricky

Tricky's friendClick image for full gallery

While many dismiss the FADER Fort (is a bit out of the way, and there is certainly a long line if you have to get a wristband during SXSW), its positives are what really stand out: perfect for drinking (lines not bad, large bar, all free, enough space between bar and stage floor so they didn’t run into each Trickyother – seriously, an alcoholic’s dream…) and great for bands: big, wide stage, outdoors but under a tent, great light & sound system, let band kick-ass and crowd spread out, which certainly occurred during Tricky.  Not the biggest fan of hip-hop and genre/artists bordering on it, but Tricky impressed a whole lot.  He had a whole band backing him, including a very attractive female singer (if you didn’t know better, you’d think the group on stage was a duo with a backing band), and the light & sound made it a great spectacle whether you were back drinking your free drinks, or up close – real close, as Tricky dived into the crowd for his final number.

Tricky & friends

~

 

The Billions Corporation Showcase @ Buffalo Billiards

Young Galaxy, 9:00 PM

Young Galaxy

Click image for full gallery

Stephen RamsayMontreal’s Young Galaxy (QRO live review) has been away a while since 2007’s Young Galaxy (QRO review), but they’ve seriously been coming back this month.  Upstairs at Buffalo Billiards was surprisingly a nice venue, good lighting, and a healthy crowd of people enjoying the band hitting up mostly new stuff, including “Destroyer” (which is not the song that Catherine McCandlesscame out last year from Montreal’s The Stills – QRO spotlight on – as singer/guitarist Stephen Ramsay said).  Ramsay & singer/keyboardist Catherine McCandless (QRO photos) might not yet be Broken Social Scene’s (QRO spotlight on) Kevin Drew & Leslie Feist (QRO live review), or Metric’s (QRO live review) James Shaw & Emily Haines (QRO live review), but they’re moving on up (though McCandless didn’t get the memo about the grey t-shirts with ‘YG’ and something in Japanese on them)…

Young Galaxy

~

 

Frenchkiss/Startime International Showcase @ Emo’s Main Room

Wild Light, 10:30 PM

Wild Light

Tim KyleClick image for full gallery

Emo’s is probably the best-known of all of Austin’s alt-venues, and it takes advantage of that with not one, not two, but three spaces during SXSW: Emo’s Annex across the street (and under a tent), Emo’s Jr. in the space one first walks into, and the Main Room through a few too many doors and turns for a ‘main room’.  It is the largest space, but after searching for it (and for an ATM before that – only to find the one regular bank one was out of cash…), only saw one-and-a-half songs of up-and-coming friends of the Q, Wild Light (QRO photos).  Arcade Fire’s (QRO live review) favorite band just released their debut full-length, Adult Nights (QRO review), and what did catch sounded sweet.

Wild Light

~

 

Panache Booking Showcase @ Emo’s Jr.

The Homosexuals, 10:45 PM

The Homosexuals

Click image for full gallery

Bruno WizardBack in the ‘Jr.’ were the not young Homosexuals – an honest-to-god ‘Spirit of ‘77’ Anglo-punk band making a comeback (and their name has stood the test of time, shock-wise, better than, say, The Sex Pistols…).  They sounded just like about what you’d expect, and just as authentic, with the engaging (if seriously worse-for-the-years) singer Bruno Wizard giving one of the best lines of SXSW, “If you can find a band better than these guys [his band], tell me.  If they’re not, I’ll knee you in the trunks…”

~

 

The Windish Agency @ Emo’s Annex

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, 11:00 PM

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Click image for full gallery

Once overheard someone describe Denmark’s up-and-coming (thanks to being featured in an iPod commercial, pretty much the best way to break these days…) Asteroids Galaxy Tour as, “Ska for people who don’t like ska anymore.”  And it still holds true.  Better on a bigger stage, lead singer Mette Lindberg is even cuter.

 The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

~

 

Frenchkiss/Startime International Showcase @ Emo’s Main Room

Cut Off Your Hands, 11:20 PM

Cut Off Your Hands

Click image for full gallery

After passing up seeing them from far, far away last night at Vice (QRO SXSW Day One recap), finally caught the biggest thing outta New Zealand since Flight of the Conchords (QRO album review).  The running around at Emo’s meant I only saw some of them, but wished I’d seen more of their indie-punk.  Someone had told me I’d like them, and was right.

Cut Off Your Hands

~

 

Passion Pit, 12:20 AM

Passion Pit

Click image for full gallery

By the time the more electronic-minded Passion Pit took the stage, had stayed put – but a long, hard day of drinking was taking its toll on my attention, not to mention running into all sorts of people at Emo’s that night, which was ‘the place to be’.

'the place to be'

~

 

Heeb Magazine/Other Music Showcase @ Red 7 Patio

Harlem Shakes, 1:00 AM

Harlem Shakes

my rival for #1 Shakes fan...Click image for full gallery

And if you’re attention’s lost, what better way to get it back with a band you know is going to kill it, like serious fave Harlem Shakes (QRO live review)?  After seeing them twice yesterday (QRO SXSW Day One recap), ended Day Two with the should be/will be breakout band of South-by-Southwest 2009.  At this point, can’t say much more that haven’t already said – but to note: they’re also really nice guys, forgiving your drunken correspondent for accidentally knocking a plug out during their set…

Shakes & friends

~

 

Handsome FursUnfortunately Missed:

– Handsome Furs (QRO album review) @ FADER Fort, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM.  Just recently saw them (QRO photos), and probably shouldn’t have started drinking that early…

– Illinois (QRO spotlight on), The Low Anthem, & Mason Proper (QRO album review) @ Home Slice Pizza, 12:00 PM – 2:15 PM.  Unfortunately, while Home Slice had a great offering of music during SXSW, was too far away to make it a drop-in kind of place.

– The Rosebuds (QRO spotlight on) @ Peckerhead’s, 7:30 PM – 8:00 PM.  The free booze of FADER won over catching these longtime friends of the Q, but have plans to see them on Day Four.

– Bishop Allen (QRO spotlight on) & The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (QRO album review) @ Radio Room Patio, 12:45 PM – 2:00 PM.  As mentioned (see above), [email protected] never showed up, and Bishop Allen were (literally) running too late.

– Oh No Oh My (QRO spotlight on) & Arms (QRO album review) @ Scholz Garden, 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM.  Was already seeing a ton of Todd Goldstein (Arms) in Harlem Shakes (see above), but going to Austin and missing locals Oh No Oh My?…

– Harlem Shakes (QRO spotlight on), Dri, Frances (QRO photos), & Phil & The Osophers (QRO spotlight on) @ Scoot Inn, 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM.  Gigantic Records had a nice showcase on Day Two.

– Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr. – QRO live review – and Sebadoh – QRO live review), M. Ward (QRO album review), & Annuals (QRO spotlight on) @ Smokin’ Music.  Entertainment Weekly’s private ‘EW Music Lounge’, during the day.

– M. Ward, Cold War Kids (QRO live review), & Elvis Perkins In Dearland (QRO live review) @ Auditorium Shores Stage, 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM.  While there was probably no stage more beautiful than the one along Lady Bird Lake, one did have to cross water to make it there, and it was free & open to the public, ensuring a massive turnout.

– Crystal Stilts (QRO album review) & Crystal Antlers (QRO photos) @ Club 1808, 10:30 PM – 1:00 AM.  Just would have really liked to see them thrown down over naming rights…

– Peter Bjorn and John @ Emo’s Main Room, 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM.  Yeah, could have seen them instead of Harlem Shakes (see above) – but would have had a better time?  Don’t think so.

– Todd P’s ‘Midnight Acoustic BBQ’ @ Ms. Bea’s, 12:00 AM – who knows when

– Matt & Kim (QRO spotlight on) @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse, 11:15 PM – 12:00 AM.  Their only SXSW appearance, and would be great to see them outside at a relatively small place (especially as am going to miss their next NYC appearance, on Monday at Terminal 5, opening for Cut Copy), but have seen them so many times.

– Andrew Bird (QRO album review), Gomez, & Meat Puppets (QRO photos) @ Stubb’s, 9:00 PM – 12:30 AM.  Maybe if “I Kissed a Girl” Katy Perry had been the introduction to Meat Puppets, like originally scheduled…

 

Other Notes:

Amy Carlson & Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington– Even though there were nicer spaces found like Cedar Street Courtyard, French Legation Museum, and FADER Fort, Emo’s was the ‘place to be’ on Night Two: ran into Les Savy Fav’s (QRO live review) bassist Syd Butler (who it turns out is married to actress Amy Carlson – made the sweet faux pas of referencing her appearance on Law & Order: S.V.U. as a wife raped by her husband…), one of the guys from Grizzly Bear (QRO photos), comic Todd Barry (he’s pretty much at every other NYC indie-rock show…), and all of Sam Champion (QRO spotlight on) but singer/guitarist Noah Chermin (QRO interview) – currently ‘on hiatus’, they were there backing guitarist Sean Sullivan’s solo-side-project, Sean Bones (who missed, up before Wild Light in the Main Room).

 

Robin Sinhababu:

Hometapes/Leaf Showcase @ Habana Bar

All Tiny Creatures

All Tiny Creatures

Click image for full gallery

The many short guitar and keyboard riffs that Madison, Wisconsin’s All Tiny Creatures loops are almost hooky, and many of their treblier patterns evoke Terry Riley more than prog rock.  Both of their guitarists had a keyboard, though one of them didn’t play it much and the other played it most of the time.  The layered loops worked well within their songs, but they tried a couple outros composed solely of loops that fell flat.

When I think of steady 4/4 rhythms paired with ethereal guitars and keyboards, I think of Neu! and other bands that supply a hard-hitting percussive foundation as a foil to the trebly stuff floating overhead.  Drummer Ben Derickson went the opposite route, playing a small, crisp-sounding kit with finesse and using ghostnotes instead of power to make his point.  It was still sufficient to propel the music, but by its understatedness diverted attention to the other instruments.

The songs weren’t long, and that hurt them.  They were mostly playing minimalist rock with a good beat, and I’d have liked to see many of the songs develop.  They may have abbreviated some pieces to work within the showcase timeframe, but they might be better served next time by just playing two or three full pieces.

~

The End Showcase @ The Ale House

Hull

Hull

Click image for full gallery

I don’t own a lot of metal albums, but I’ve always liked the shows.  Hull delivered the intensity and technique that one expects of the genre, and more.  Maybe just because the Ale House stage is so small, the three singer-guitarists and the bassist formed a semicircle behind the drum kit.  Whether it was an accident, I’d like to see more bands line up like that.  Intensity and technique were also on display in singer-guitarist Nick Palmirotto’s opening benediction: “Fuck yeah, Austin South by Southwest 2009! We came to fucking party!”

Hull’s three-guitar attack proved advantageous: it didn’t thin out their sound too much when one or even two of them soloed, nor when one of them was sidelined by technical problems.  This was the loudest show I saw all week, and I was right up front, so it I couldn’t hear much difference between guitar and vocal tones.  As a whole, the band had strong riffs and a good sense of narrative and dynamics in their songs.  But the visual element was the best part.  It’s a good thing their drummer hits hard enough, or they’d have looked pretty silly putting him up front.

Categories
Concert Reviews

  • Anonymous
    at
  • No Comment

    Leave a Reply