hungry hearted

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

free is my favorite four letter word.

SXSW can be approached many ways. To me, purchasing a badge or wristband is a costly expense which serves more as a status symbol than provide any guarantee of access. So this year I took the scavenger path and based my plans on free provisions (food, drinks, swag) and short lines. By my count I saw approximately 29 bands throughout the week. I'm sure there are bands I overheard and DJ sets I was present for, but I'm going to cap the count right there. While I did miss some attractive sets, I'm comforted by the advantage of living here in Austin, where many of these up and coming acts will likely tour in the not so distant future. Also, some bands I've already seen and adore were defaulted to low priority in favor of seeing something new.

Breakin' it on down: The Pre-Official SXSW Music Events

{{{Sunset}}} was the first show I saw this year. I caught them last Saturday at Mohawk before the venue was taken over by the insanity of the official SXSW Music Festival days. They really got me moving. It seems only natural, as the group is a formation created by Bill Baird of Sound Team, which performed their last show in September. They possess similar dance-inducing rhythms. I challenge anyone to stand still.

Monday I returned to Red River to catch some free Lonestars and music at Club de Ville. I was surprisingly delighted by a Canadian band, The Golden Dogs. Upon entrance, I was way more excited about the free beer than any performers, but I fell into some unexpected jaw-dropping, goofy grinning moments during some of their wailing breakdowns. I also found their keyboardists dance shuffles absolutely adorable, in addition to the wonderfully dismissive way she tossed down her tambourine between uses. After their set, we took advantage of one of the most enjoyable aspects of the festival by hanging out with the band after their tour manager struck up a conversation with us. As Morty would say, it was pretty righteous.

We hung out with some of the Golden Dogs through Scissors for Lefty, which is actually NOT a Willie Nelson cover band (best rumor of the week though, by far), and ran over to Mohawk to catch the last song of Tokyo Police Club's set through the fence, until we realized everyone was leaving and we could go in. Oh Lonestar, you had me at free.

Tuesday night we headed down to Beauty Bar for another free showcase and experienced one of the most surprising highlights of my week. Although my sister-blogger, music loving, house guest and I agreed we'd probably never listen to them on our own time, Scorpion Child puts on one of the raddest baddest live shows I've seen in a while. I think this is namely due to contrast. While a lot of the acts being showcased take on the indie vibe, Scorpion Child puts on a convincing balls to the wall rock show. It's the best Zeppelin impression I've ever witnessed. While the lyrics lacked substance by my account, the theatrical stage presence, outfits (cowboy boots, tight flared jeans and unbuttoned southern-esque collared shirts), and wailing guitar solos sealed the deal. I mean, look at these guys. SERIOUSLY. What makes it even better, to me, is that I've actually met one of their guitarists previously, before hearing them or knowing anything about them. When he spoke of his band and I inquired about their sound, he simply described it as, "rock 'n roll, I guess." Indeed.

The other main highlight of the night was finally seeing Austin locals, The Black and White Years. I've been wanting to check them out for MONTHS and every time something diverts my attention. But this time I was basically on stage. Not only do they have a super fun, energetic, electronic sound, but three of the four band members have SICK moustaches! The quick sample their showcase provided definitely surged my appetite for more. This is a band I will certainly continue to listen to on my own time as well as seek out for future shows.

Other notable events of the night included Belaire, who unfortunately spent more time on their sound check than on their actual set, and a guest MC set by Yo Majesty. All in all, not a bad introduction to this years SXSW experience.


. said...

MAD LOVE FOR MORTON. we've been together 10 years and are still going so strong & righteously.