After the band name bonanza, I decided to see A Place to Bury Strangers again… this time making sure to arrive early enough for a good spot. They played in the Cedar Street Courtyard, where Islands performed a couple days earlier. There I saw one of greatest moments of the festival (in my humble opinion). Having broken a string, guitarist Oliver Ackermann started slinging his guitar to the floor. Check it out:
Tokyo Police Club and British Sea Power both put on great sets. I wasn’t much of a British Sea Power fan before, but after hearing a good majority of their new album Do You Like Rock Music? live, I was impressed. It’s definitely an album to check out.
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After almost a week of waking up to throbbing ears and worse, throbbing headaches, it’s time for some hardcore hibernation.But first, a final list: Things I Learned.1) Count on lines. There’s a rough equivalency of people in line to quality… of anything. Bands, food, even taxi cabs (too few when you want them)… that is unless you, like some people we saw, jump into the middle of the road. Note: their plan was successful.2) Plan what shows you want to see, and have an ordered list of backup plans. This includes having a map at all times and a general idea of where each venue is located.3) Get started early. It’s the one thing I regret, but hey, that’s a tough one. That’s it. It was an amazing four days. BE SURE to check out The Hatchet after break for final coverage.
After Okkervil River, we headed to see The Raveonettes. The line at the venue was enormous, at least 100 people waiting. Luckily there was a sort of back door entrance. Unluckily only one of us made it. So while Brendan got through, I tried “plan b”: running to see random bands with totally awesome names. Heading to The Beauty Bar to see The Homosexuals, I expected a show of fabulous proportions. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Homosexuals, as it turns out, were a British punk band from the late 70s. Apparently hugely influential at the time, they fell into obscurity over the years, having built themselves almost entirely on the strength of their live performances. Their one LP was released 12 years after they formed. Now rediscovered cult favorites, they’ve reformed and put on a blistering set. Even at 57, frontman Bruno Wizard channeled Johnny Rotten, giving the whole show a sense of it being a living, cultural artifact.
Next, I saw The Bloody Beetroots… a band name I couldn’t pass on. Turns out they were an Italian electro-punk duo. Dressed in WWF-style masks, they got the place hopping. But to be honest, I was a little disappointed by their flirtation with techno cliches, but then again maybe my ignorance of the genre just kept me from appreciating what subtleties they may have had. I ended the spree with Mexican indie pop group Hello Seahorse!, since I’m a firm believer that exclamation marks in a band name and good music go hand-in-hand. Hello Seahorse! was, of course, no exception. The one big shock: they closed with a cover of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind,” ending when they forgot the lyrics… at the chorus! I didn’t know that was possible.
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Among the hordes of hipsters, bands, and industry elites, there were quite a few spectacles. Favorites:
3) It’s-your-birthday-chick: Some girl dressed as a slutty Catholic schoolgirl chased me, asking over and over and over, “Is it your birthday? Is it your birthday?” I told her “No,” but wished her luck. Finally she left, but not before saying “You should have said yes!” Obviously, I’m glad I didn’t… she had two huge guys with her anyway.
2) Musical (wheel)Chairs: A Hoveround that made music as it drove past… like a one-man-band on wheels. Cooler than a band playing on top of a van (also present). Less cool than a motorized vehicle powered by music (a not-yet-but-should-be-invented alternative energy source).
1) Real, live leprechauns: It wasn’t even St. Patrick’s Day yet, but two little people decked in green strutted down 6th Street. Though probably a (exploitive) marketing gimmick, I’d like to think SXSW was the pot of gold.
Surprisingly, it’s not that bad. Even with highs of 84, the low humidity lets the thousands of hipsters here continue to wear tight jeans and leather jackets. In other words, we’ve seen remarkable few cut-off jorts. That said, I’m heading in town now, hopefully catching a photography show before I start the night. Autumne de Wilde is showcasing unreleased photographs of Elliott Smith. Exciting!
After the comedy tent, we headed over to see Be Your Own Pet. They kicked off in a rampage. Singer Jemina Pearl, dressed in war paint, shook all over the stage, bumping into her bandmates. They played so loud and hard in the first two songs–only seven or so minutes into it–they blew their mics. After twenty minutes, the power was fixed, and unfazed, the band came back on stage in a rampage. It’s something of a battered point, by now, to speak of their age, but really, it’s still stands out as their most refreshing point. Their still kids, and that’s the greatest part of their shows. They’re incredibly energetic and fun, and seeing them live, well it’s like adventurous. (Click ‘more’ for more music and video after the jump!)
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Brendan and I took a break from all the music (it’s amazing how too much fun can feel like work) to catch a comedy show at Esther’s Follies. We went for Human Giant, and knowing it would be absolutely packed, got there about an hour early… which wasn’t quite early enough. Though we did (thank god) get seats, we found our view of the stage totally blocked by a stack of speakers. Nonetheless, it was great. Among the comics we saw were: Bryan Gutmann, Morgan Murphy, Jeremy Neal, and Eugene Mirman (of Flight-of-the-Conchords-cameo-fame).
Gary Gulman, a Last Comic Standing finalist, gave some of the best jokes of the night, mostly based on completely absurd rants on the secret lives of fruit.
Human Giant (Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel) ran through two hysterical skits. Video to follow.
I caught Islands in an open courtyard for some sweet, quirky pop goodness. They ended their set with a brilliant cover of Sinead O’Connor, making me wonder, could they be any more endearing?
Afterwards, I went down to the Austin Music Hall to catch Yo La Tengo. I got there just in time to hear the last half-hour set from The Whigs, who were INCREDIBLE. I had never heard them before, but after a couple songs their insane energy got the better of me, and suddenly I’m a convert. (Click ‘more’ for more video after the jump)
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