(photo courtesy of Our Stage)
I decided to take the bicycle out that I had borrowed (Thanks, Carol!) It was a great plan, although a bit dangerous at times weaving through the throngs of people. I was careful!
I started off the day a little late, arriving at the French Legation lawn party just in time to see The Antlers. I was super-excited about this show, seeing that Hospice was one of my favorite albums of 2009 (if not, the favorite). Unfortunately, sound problems delayed the set by at least a half an hour. But, when they launched into "Sylvia," one of Hospice's high points, all was forgotten. The keyboards/bass could have been louder. On the album, they produce the perfect eerie backdrop for Peter Silberman's haunting falsetto. I debated whether to stick around for the stellar lineup, but decided to move on. To me, SXSW is a nomadic experience. You might miss some of the major buzz bands because you don't get there early or stand in line forever, but you get to see more under-the-radar bands and bands you didn't even know that you liked.
I decided to head over to the Fort for some free booze and Best Coast. Unfortunately, Best Coast were just finishing up when I arrived. I took the time to rest my feet, enjoy a Budweiser and contemplate the rest of my schedule for the day. While I was doing this, Neon Indian started playing on the outside stage. I stepped out to watch a little bit of their set to see what all the buzz was about. Pretty good, but not my cup of tea.
Up next, Local Natives. Definitely my cup of tea. Their stellar performance was one of the highlights of my SXSW experience. I had already been enjoying the album for several weeks, but their four part harmonies and excellent musicianship blew me away, especially for such young guys. Often, young bands sometimes seem inexperienced and sloppy, but not these guys. I will be seeing them again when they come back through.
I stopped into the Eastside Get Down across the street from the Fort to check out Here We Go Magic. They were good, but I wished I had seen their official showcase. I heard it was amazing.
I pedaled by Lustre Pearl for the Dickies Sounds party. There was a long line for Delta Spirit, but I did hear some of Dawes as I rode by. It sounded really nice. I had just gotten their album and look forward to listening to it some more.
I stopped to wander around the iHeartComix/Jelly NYC Carniville for a little while. Yes, there were actual carnival rides there! I spotted the Walkmen sitting on some steps waiting for their 7pm slot to begin.
Ryan McPhun of the Ruby Suns
(photo courtesty of New Zealand Music Commission)
I contemplated staying to see them (again), but decided to head on down to the New Zealand party at Brush Square instead. I'm glad I did. Free vodka and beer and the Ruby Suns! They were great. I have been digging on their song "Cranberry," and plan to buy their new album Fight Softly soon. Surf City were up next and out came the earplugs. I thought they were fun with some catchy melodies beneath the loudness.
Avi Wisnia @ The Bent Compass PartyThen, it was off to Rain to check out the Bent Compass party for a bit. I got to see some of local band Benko which I really enjoyed. Avi Wisnia and Tribella also performed that evening. I pedaled up to the "Me So Hungry" trailer on West 5th to grab some much needed sustenance, in the form of a Banh Mi Vietnamese Tofu sandwich. Delicious! Although, Lulu B's (up on South Lamar & Oltorf) has them beat for trailer Banh Mi.