hungry hearted

serving up a healthy portion of pop culture commentary, random infatuations, and introspective ramblings

the beat goes on

WEDNESDAY

With Wednesday morning, came the beauty of free SXSW day shows. GOOD Magazine hosted an event in the side lot between Hotel San Jose and Jo's. The location and sponsors made this event a must-do, even though the make-shift venue lacked any must-see acts.

As a GOOD subscriber, I was given the opportunity to make a t-shirt! I got to choose from three different silk screen designs to have an individual t-shirt printed for me! So sweet. They also had an awesome modernized photo-booth, free for use. The setting made for a super relaxing way to ease into the day. It was nice to mingle around in such a laid back family atmosphere while Mason Jennings performed talky, Randy Newman-esque songs on a sunny afternoon.

After fueling up on coffee and a hefty batch of the sun's complimentary vitamin D, we ventured toward the hysteria of Red River. We managed to get in without much of a wait at Red Eyed Fly for the Two Gallants set and a couple free Dewars and ginger. Having grown somewhat obsessed with the band during my winter cross-country trip, I was ecstatic to witness the minimal duet perform. I'm always thoroughly impressed with their lyrical focus. Adam Stephens' scratchy voice provides an undeniable sense of sincerity that cuts right through me no matter how well I know and anticipate the verses as they unfold. Hence, my growing crush. To top things off, after their set Stephens was in a conversation directly behind me! Naturally, I slurped down the rest of my Dewards and nervously took advantage of the opportunity to bashfully compliment their performance. My heart was a flutter. (Sigh.)

I ran into my friends from The Western Civilization as we waited for White Denim to set up. From what I caught from their short set, they were spunky and enjoyable, but nothing that struck my attention in particular. I more or less just stuck around for The Octopus Project, whom I've seen twice previously and are one of my favorite local bands. I can't help but find their spacey jam sessions consistently adorable and delightful.

Wednesday night was pretty mellow. We opted to hang with friends in The War Against Sleep and see them perform at Fado rather than deal with the insanity of hits and misses getting into venues on 6th or Red River. As a friend, I couldn't help but feel simultaneous nervousness and excitement for their set. Thankfully, the performance was smooth and I didn't have to test my acting skills. I was genuinely impressed by their unique cross-genre showcase.


THURSDAY

We kicked things off at a free showcase at Levi's Fader Fort. I was amazed by the extensive set up as they made it very clear they'd dropped some major bank into the make-shift venue. For instance, instead of drinking free draft Lonestars, we got free bottles of Bass. Classy! We stuck around to catch a quick buzz and sets from Ben's Brother and The Ting Tings. Ben's Brother was nice easy listening, background music, but nothing that grabbed my interest. The Ting Tings however distracted me from my afternoon buzz with their energetic sound and gang-vocals.

After a few free drinks, we made our way down to Emo's where The Stills were finishing their set and we were able to score seats on the bleachers until Tokyo Police Club set up. I've been a big fan of TPC since I first heard them last year. They toured Austin over the summer and put on a great show. This showcase at Emo's was a solid set, but not quite as impressive as their summer tour. I'm sure this is the general casualty of SXSW's quick set changes. Nonetheless, I definitely love how these kids construct such a fun sound accented by simple yet powerful sentiment. I find it absolutely contagious.

Next up was Tapes 'n Tapes. The mere mention of their name evokes hilariously awkward, cringe-inducing memories of Aziz Ansari / Human Giant's Clell Tickle: Indie Marketing Guru video. Coincidentally, my friend Matt spotted one of the Human Giant comedians in the crowd! Tapes 'n Tapes definitely put on a great set, perhaps one of my friend Sarah's favorites of the week. I must admit I broke out in my little shuffle dance for their final song, "Hang Them All," which Sarah then informed me is their new single.

Thursday night we caught an enthusiastic performance by Think About Life at Beerland before heading down to The Austin Children's Museum for the KVRX-plosion!! The first and only noteworthy performance I stayed for was The Mae Shi. The setting alone, of a late night party in the Children's Museum, raised the bar for creative expectations, and The Mae Shi flawlessly delivered. They're energy and eccentricity was a reviving necessity and an awesome way to end the day.


FRIDAY


I decided early on that The Felice Brothers were not to be missed, and that stance was solidified when I ran into James Felice on 6th Street Wednesday afternoon. To me, the orchestration of their music provides a necessary sentimental element that blankets and softens every rough edge of the often melancholy lyrical focus. But like I've said, I'm smitten. It seemed only natural to catch the boys at a laid back morning party with a folk/bluegrass showcase, and the free breakfast tacos and bloody Mary's certainly provided a welcomed accessory, which made luring my friends out pre-noon a lot easier.

Consistent with the outlaw characters their songs are laden with, the boys rolled up a few minutes late in the back bed of a pickup truck. I was DELIGHTED. Seriously, I couldn't hold back my wide smile if I tried, and the morning cocktails left me no choice but to embrace the moment as they started their set with the drunken carousel waltz of "Ruby Mae." AMAZING. My only complaint was that the set was so damn short! So it goes. I cannot wait to see these guys come around again, or perhaps catch them back home where they frequent local coffee shops and venues of that sort.

After The Felice Brothers, Sarah and I made the executive decision to try and catch She & Him. We had previously thought catching any of their sets would be impossible due to the sheer awesomeness of this collaboration's existence, but we hopefully beelined down to Minnesota Public Radio's tent and to our astonishment, got in with great ease. She & Him is based around the duet of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. They are WONDERFUL. The simplicity of their production and the delicate, twangy deliverance is reminiscent of a modern day Patsy Cline. Although the set was only two songs, I was glad to be in attendance, especially since it was Sarah's last show of the week and an instant favorite, hands down.

After sending Sarah back to Brooklyn, my SXSW experience certainly dwindled down. Friday night I made it out to the TX Garage Party which was set up on the sixth floor of a parking garage on Guadalupe Street. I think the highlight of the venue was the free water guns which served as the main source of entertainment for a few hours, since we arrived early to avoid lines. The only notable set I caught that evening was Cut Copy. To me, they're a little heavy with the electronics for everyday listening, but despite my weary legs and sore feet, I couldn't help but shake it down.


SATURDAY

I actually only made it to one show on Saturday night due to the necessity of work. I met up with friends late in the evening for Delta Spirit at Buffalo Billiards. I'd never heard them before, but reliable sources gave solid recommendations and I took the bait. I really wish I wasn't as strung out from the week as I was for this show, but I did enjoy their percussion heavy set.

I can't believe how quickly SXSW came and went!

2 comments:

. said...

damn girl, GOOD JOB. that was one hefty, well-explained post!!!!

Tasteless said...

Sounds like the first couple of days did the trick! Well said, too.

I was really looking forward to the Tokyo Police Club show and had to see them on Monday. I thought the performance was visually lackluster, but aurally dead-on with the recordings. I just read that they had to cancel some shows due to a death in the family, so maybe that was part of it. I'm jealous that you got to see Tapes 'n Tapes, but will have my time in May at Antone's. HOWEVER, White Denim is the butter to my biscuit. Hands down.