Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day One: SXSW

My dogs are hurtin'.  And it's only the first day.  Tomorrow I will employ the trusty bicycle. 

I started off the day with Yukon Blonde, a great band out of Canada.  They rocked the Mohawk patio with nice harmonies and lovely guitars.  I love this new harmonies phase happening now.  Bring it on.

Next up, I ventured over to Emo's to see The Morning Benders at the Brooklyn Vegan day party (one of the many).  Also, some great harmonies.  The last song, featuring some fifties doo-wap vocal stylings, was great.  Crowded as hell.  Damn all-ages venues.  All the free Magic Hat was gone.  Just some weird liqueur.  A crazy crowd mix:  indie chic mixed with metal up your ass.  There was a metal showcase indoors at Emo's. 

I headed over to the Pure Volume House to check out Warpaint, a buzzy all-girl band from L.A. 
They rocked.  Seriously.  So nice to see ladies that can play.  The Orange amp backline at Pure Volume  makes for some nice sound.   They had just trucked it over from The Mohawk to play this show at 3pm.  I admire all the hustling these bands do during SXSW.  I discovered that Sparks, that fun malt liqueur beverage, was 8 percent alcohol.  Wtf?

The lines at Mohawk, Red 7 and Emo's were ridiculous, so I stepped inside of Beauty Bar.  Kid Sister was entertaining the inside crowd, while female-fronted Cubic Zirconia rocked the outside stage.  Both provided a much-needed energy boost.  Or maybe it was that caffeinated water.

I stepped into to The Hype Machine Party at Vice to see Invisible.  Although I do see the comparisons to TV on the Radio, I think they hold their own, especially for a three-piece.  More, please.

Shakespeare's Pub was the next stop.  Tribella was on the menu.  Another all-girl band who rock.  Adept instrumentation, crazy key changes and time signatures.  What more can you ask for?

My must-see for this evening was the Walkmen at Stubbs.  Let me just say, they were amazing!  When they played "In The New Year" off their last album, I nearly came out of my skin.  Hamilton Leithauser belted out the lyrics, screaming out "I know that it's true.  It's gonna be a good year."  What a great song.  A eight-piece horn section (all from Austin) came out and played a couple of songs with the band.  They played several new songs, which made me anxious to hear the next album, due out in September.  The highlight of the evening, for sure.  NPR recorded it all.  Listen here.

After that, I debated whether I should just stick around to see Broken Bells at eleven.  I decided to stay.  Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings were high-energy and fun.  Saw some of Henry Clay People inside.  Then, it was time for Broken Bells.  They opened with the already popular single "The High Road."  It sounded great.  The pulsating light show, full of orbs and flickering lights went well with the music, especially on "The Ghost Inside," an infectious, upbeat, danc-y number.

I headed over to Club DeVille for the Brooklyn Vegan showcase to see Califone.  I caught quite a bit of Bowerbirds.  They sounded great, complete with accordian and ukelele.
My friend Joshua informed me that Alex Chilton had died.  So sad.  It was an apparent heart attack.  He was only 59.  I was looking forward to seeing him with Big Star on Friday.  He will be missed.

Califone was good, but I was hoping to hear the stellar song "The Orchids" off of their wonderful album "Roots and Crowns."  They didn't play it.  After catching Spoon's last song at Stubbs, I hurried over to the Wave to catch Surfer Blood, but was denied.  The roof was at capacity.  The same deal with Miike Snow, another buzz band.  I ended up where I should have been all along, at Sixteen Deluxe.  They were one of my favorite bands back in the nineties, so it was a fitting way to close out the evening.  I forgot how much I loved their feedback drenched, shoegazing melodies. 

Thursday, here I come!

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