Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SXSW Recap

Because I managed to be almost completely disconnected from the internet for the past week or so, here's an extensive recap of what I got myself into during SXSW. All non-Covert photos are linked for credit.

I warmed up for a week of music by freezing my butt off at Psych Fest 2 on Friday night. I think all of us were a little surprised when we got to Radio Room and discovered that the stage was situated outside under a tent. I know some people left very quickly because of their disappointment with the venue, but we came full of spirits and weren't going to leave before watching the Black Angels.

It was the coldest concert experience of my entire life, and the sound, visuals, and overall experience were all subpar, but we still managed to have a good time anyway.

I really wanted to catch Wooden Shjips on night two of Psych Fest, but I just couldn't muster up enough strength to go out that night. I was feeling better by Sunday, so I did go down for the last night of Psych Fest in time to catch some of The Strange Boys and a full set by The Warlocks.

The headliner was A Place To Bury Strangers, who completely rocked the place. Though they were not an official SXSW band, they were one of the best bands I saw during the whole week. Towards the end of their set guitarist/vocalist Oliver Ackerman slammed his guitar on the stage and then proceeded to rip all of the strings off of it, which left a few people with their mouths open.

Monday pretty much consisted of making the rounds at a few interactive parties, but I did manage to catch The Lemurs and DJ Mel. Tuesday pretty much consisted of making the rounds in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, but I made sure to see some music that night also, stopping by the Art Disaster for The Minx Reaction and the All Tomorrow's Parties event for The Drones.

They were also showing footage from the All Tomorrows' Parties documentary that premiered at SXSW film this year, which was visibly and audibly fantastic. This little teaser video doesn't do it justice:

The music festival officially started on Wednesday. Unlike years past I didn't make a very strict schedule for SXSW, instead opting to just make stops at different venues that I knew would have good bands on any given day.

The first band I saw on Wednesday was Here We Go Magic, and I enjoyed their much-too-brief set at the Mohawk so much that I wish I could've seen them a few more times during the week.

Things got a little hazy at this point, but I do remember taking a trip over to the Fader where The Strange Boys were playing. I have been listening to their album non-stop for the past two weeks, so I had no problems seeing this band multiple times. After their set I ran over to Emo's for Thomas Function before taking a much-needed break to get some food and beverage.
After refueling I decided to attend the Austin Music Awards, which seemed to go on for infinity. In the end it was worth it because I had a chance to kick back and watch a bunch of local artists that I had never seen before, namely Suzanna Choffel, Ruthie Foster, and Carolyn Wonderland. But the best part was seeing Texas punk legends The Dicks and Roky Erickson with the Black Angels.

Things got a bit more exciting on Thursday, mostly because we had our own day party to manage. Thank you Garotas Suecas, Golden Triangle, and Shapes Have Fangs for getting things grooving early on in the day. Thanks to UME, The Strange Boys, Hacienda, and HEALTH for bringing it on home. And thank you Aces Lounge, Bull Moose, Lone Star and Do512. I'll share some photos/video as soon as they are ready.

After our party was all wrapped up I went over to Navdo's party to watch Spindrift, who were fucking awesome. I am pretty sure they were the most psychedelic thing I saw all week. After they were done I watched a few songs by Danny Malone and then moved over to the Fader just in time for some dark trip-hop from Tricky.

I finished off the night at the Playboy party, where I got to see Bassnectar and Jane's Addiction. My only image of Jane's Addiction up until that point was of "Been Caught Stealing," "Jane Says," and Perry Farrell acting like a weirdo. I had no idea they actually rock, and I didn't know that Dave Navarro was such a talented guitarist. This was definitely one of the highlights of SXSW.

We started Friday at the Front Gate party for free tacos, Bloody Marys, and a couple of relaxing sets from Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. I also saw Delta Spirit last year at SXSW, but this set was much more toned-down and featured some great new songs. We followed that up with Phosphorescent and White Denim at the Little Radio party, which was an incredibly good time.

Phosphorescent performed a lot of the material from his recent Willie Nelson covers album, and White Denim gave the fiercest show I've ever seen them do. After that it was back to the Fader for Peter Bjorn & John, who were about 10 times better than when I saw them at ACL Fest in 2007.

On Saturday we made a trip to the Mess With Texas Festival to catch King Khan & the Shrines before heading down to the Do512 party, where I saw a couple of acts that completely blew me away. Alberta Cross, Afternoons, Red Cortez, Dead Confederate, Common Market, and Blue Scholars were all good, but BM LINX and Mike Relm absolutely stole the show.

BM LINX are a three-piece band from Brooklyn who do electro-fied rock 'n roll that had the crowd dancing from the first note. I kind of wrote them off after not being very impressed with their album, but they ended up being one of the best bands I saw at SXSW.

The same goes for Mike Relm, whose audio/visual mash-ups resulted in one of the best DJ sets I've ever seen. Each time he was supposed to stop the crowd kept yelling for more, so the party went on until the cops showed up.

After shutting the Do512 party down we all hopped in a cab to the Red Bull party, which had a better atmosphere on Saturday night than we had experienced all week. Unfortunately this meant people were having too much fun, so after a brief sets by Shout Out Out Out Out and Goldielocks they shut the party down.

The worst part was having to miss out on Erykah Badu and the Crystal Method. I thought about driving all the way back across Austin to catch the tail end of the Mad Decent party, but by this point I had experienced enough SXSW for one year.


john said...

mad descent party was surprisingly lame. jr high rave. didn't miss anything.

Mr. Curiosity said...

Yeah I heard it wasn't much fun. That sucks because their party last year on top of the parking garage was sweet.

The Peen Scene said...

those are our pictures from HEALTH. I got a great spot to shoot them, but they're kind of too spazz for my camera haha. amazing show though!


ps the mad decent party was lame.

Mr. Curiosity said...

Hey thanks for the pictures! I'm glad you made it to the show!

Anonymous said...

PB&J! Nice.