Thursday, April 07, 2011

SXSW 2011 Totally Happened

I ended up being pretty ill the week after SXSW, and then got unusually busy at work, so this SXSW recap is coming a bit late. I don't have enough room to relive everything I saw and did at SXSW 2011, in fact it's hard to even know where to start, so I'll just try to focus on the things that really stood out.
My Top 15 SXSW Bands:
  • Deerhunter
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • WhoMadeWho
  • Kurt Vile
  • Low
  • Secret Colours
  • Twin Shadow
  • Beats Antique
  • Lance Herbstrong
  • Portugal. The Man
  • The Night Beats
  • Thee Oh Sees
  • The Mighty Stef
  • The Lines 
  • Colour Revolt

WhoMadeWho and The Lines, by Gabby Barrera

I spent most of my time (the mornings and afternoons at least) working at the Do512 office, and managing stuff for all of the Lounge Sessions we did throughout the week. We ended up booking and filming over 20 bands during the SXSW music portion, so I got to see a bunch of international acts right in our own office that I would normally miss out on. It was truly a special experience to be able party and chat with so many artists that were in town from all over the world, many of them who were visiting Austin for the first time. Israel, Ireland, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK were all represented. Of the numerous highlights from the Lounge Sessions were WhoMadeWho, The Lines, The Mighty Stef, Colour Revolt, Typhoon, and Portugal The Man.

You can check out rest of the Do512 lounge footage, filmed by Austin Music Weekly, right here.

Photo by Lenny Gilmore

Obviously a personal highlight for me was co-presenting the showcase with the Reverberation Appreciation Society at Emo's. On the bill was Guantanamo Baywatch, Christian Bland, Secret Colours, Las Robertas, Shapes Have Fangs and the Night Beats. We had originally planned to do everything on the inside stage, but we ended up moving it to the outside stage and drew a great crowd. I had seen The Night Beats once before, but their set at Emo's absolutely blew my mind. The crowd was really into Secret Colours, who we brought down from Chicago for their first trip to Austin. After listening to their album pretty much nonstop for a few months, it was really nice to meet them and have them play at our show. They were all just so genuine and excited about being involved, so that made it extra special. There's a bunch of pictures from their set here. Las Robertas were also a lot of fun, and Shapes Have Fangs tore it up as usual.

During the rest of the week I was able to break away from the office a couple of times to catch a few specific parties that I absolutely did not want to miss. One was the Other Music lawn party at the French Legation Museum, which is an absolutely great setting the for a show. I had this one on my list of things to do for quite a while, mostly because I really wanted to see Low, who I became oddly obsessed with after seeing that documentary. Twin Shadow played right before them, so that was an added bonus.

Low and Twin Shadow, by Michael Maly

The other thing on my can't-miss list was the Rhapsody party at Club de Ville, where (among other things) I saw was Kurt Vile and Deerhunter. I was impressed with the show that Kurt Vile and his band put on, as this was my first time to see them, and they jammed hard the entire time. The Deerhunter show was especially memorable, as it had been something like four years since I saw them in concert last, and they have come a long way since then. This performance reaffirmed that they are one of my favorite bands of the past few years, as if I needed any confirmation. I loved the way they pulled off some of the songs from Halcyon Digest in a live setting, substituting heavy guitar riffs in place of some of the softer electronic elements they used in the studio.

Deerhunter at Club de Ville, by Michael Maly
Somewhere along the line we managed to catch Queens of the Stone Age at La Zona Rosa, fighting and bribing our way past a long line of badge holders to end up with a great spot on the side of the stage just a few feet away from the band. These QOTSA guys don't mess around. They are rock stars in the truest sense of the word, and put on a fantastic show. I also saw Thee Oh Sees at the Scoot Inn at some point during the week, where ended up bruised and covered in beer. That was fun.

Beats Antique and Lance Herbstrong, by Jenna Wakeley

Saturday was fully committed to The Big One at Hotel Vegas, presented by Do512 and Shiner. Standout performances came from Beats Antique and Lance Herbstrong, who I had only seen bits and pieces of previously at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. These are both seriously good live bands. Once the sun went down The Lines hit the stage with another great set. We were so impressed with WhoMadeWho during their Lounge Session earlier in the week that we ended up making them the late-night surprise special guest. And they absolutely killed it. Fists were pumping, dust was flying, and asses were shaking. In a live setting I would say that WhoMadeWho are kind of like a more rocking, Danish version of Hot Chip. It was great to see the crew from Austin Music Weekly cutting loose during the show, after busting their tails working on the lounge footage all week.

I know this is hilariously late. Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

better late than never. looks like you were right next to me at the LOW performance at french legation. i love those guys so hard.

Mr. Curiosity said...

Thanks! Cool that you caught that Low show. That was a great event.