New Zealand's Cairo Knife Fight - the gang of two who wage guerilla rock warfare - made quite the impact in Austin for SXSW '12 (Official 2012 performers) and are now gracing us with their latest electrifying power rock track, "The Violence of Action."
Though the band is only comprised of two men, between the tom-tom attack of drummer/lead vocalist/bass synth man Nick Gaffaney and the blood-drenched axe work of guitarist and loop pedal genius Aaron Tokona, this duo deliver a tidal wave of complete sound that is both hallucinatory and imbued with an intense sense of urgency.
They've got the power of Zeppelin and an abject fearlessness that plants them firmly alongside Radiohead in terms of willingness to shirk boundaries. They are finalists in the "Rock Album of the Year" category of the 2011 New Zealand Vodafone Music Awards for their debut effort, Iron, and aside from their release of their follow-up Cairo Knife Fight II (in which "Origin of Slaves" and "The Violence of Action" is on), they kicked down the door to headline a triumphant CMJ music festival showcase in New York in 2011.
The New Zealand Herald calls the new album "...brilliant unhinged, hallucinatory, and riff-fired music," and Tokona insists, "The first EP was just a taste. This one sounds like we are on our way somewhere - we're taking more risks and we are way more fearless."
Be sure to check out the chest thumping, blood curdling video for "The Violence of Action" below.
The toxicology report is in. The Los Angeles County coroner's office has determined that Whitney Houston's official cause of death is "drowning and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use."
The famous singer was found in the bathtub of her hotel room on February 11, just hours before a pre-Grammy party. She was 48 years old.
The coroner's office also reported that the manner of death was an "accident."
However, the toxicology report adds that "cocaine and metabolites were identified and were contributory to the death. Marijuana, Alprazolam (Xanax), Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) were identified but did not contribute to the death."
An autopsy was conducted the day after she died. Capt. John Kades of the Los Angeles County coroner's office said at the time there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on Houston's body. Prescription pill bottles were found in her room, but the number of pills were "not in alarming amounts," said officials.
Between the horrid allergies and being rundown on day #7 of my SXSW ramblings, my body started saying, "Eff you!!" No worries, though. Music is my lifeline, and it kept me going through Sunday. Friday kicked off with Blitzen Trapper at the Radio Day Stage in the Convention Center. I had never seen Portland's country/folk rockers…and they were a perfect start to the day. I loved all the people chilling on the body-size cushions, certainly reminiscent of being comfortably sprawled on the grass listening to some feel-good tunes on a beautiful springtime day (minus the pollen, sunshine and breeze).
The War on Drugs
Seeing The War on Drugs at the Moody Theatre (home to Austin City Limits) was at the top of my list for the day after having seen them the night before and being awestruck by the Philly natives. I knew they would sound phenomenal in the Moody too, which, of course, they did. It was only disappointing when the show ended. And then it was onto seeing Brooklyn's indie-pop trio Hospitality at Frank before getting in line at the Elephant Room for Austin-turned-NYC-transplant Kat Edmonson. I happened upon Edmonson a few years back when friends were in town visiting. Wanting to give them an intimate Austin music experience, I took them to our cool little underground jazz joint (yes, Elephant Room) - and there was Edmonson. That sweet voice of hers gets me every time. She's incredibly talented, as was the band backing her during SXSW. And I definitely appreciated the last song I heard that had something to do with drinking a bit too much - bubbles in her case. How appropriate for SXSW shenanigans.
Next up was Delta Spirit playing their brazillionth show of the week at Stubb's. I don't know how some of these bands do it. Honestly. I'm only running around WAY more than usual, but I'm not performing (not that I should be…if only you could hear my tone-deaf voice) show after show, hoping to garner new fans and critical acclaim. Regardless, Delta Spirit definitely did it…and I hope to see them again when they come back to Austin to play the new Emo's in April.
Last up Friday night was the rather eclectic British/Spanish electro band Crystal Fighters. I had listened to them beforehand, but I was not prepared for their dramatic and artful performance, which I found to be, for lack of a better word, weird. After splitting from that show early, I was going to try to push my way through the mad scene on 6th Street to see Alabama Shakes at Easy Tiger - and then Tea Leaf Green at the Jambase showcase - but a Car2Go was real close by. And my bed was calling in a bad way.
Big Easy Express- Premiere & Performance
My Saturday highlight - and one of my top of the fest - was the Big Easy Express premiere at the Paramount Theatre. Upon arriving, I thought there was no chance in hell I'd get in, but the guy manning the line assured those of us at the end that we'd get seats - and we surely did. Having gone to the Austin stop on the Railroad Revival Tour last year - featuring Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show - I was absolutely dying to see the film and the performance afterwards. I felt a lump forming in my throat a few times throughout the film. It really does seem like the tour of dreams, and Emmett Malloy did an excellent job capturing that on film, winning the Headliner Audience Award of the film fest. Members of all three bands performed after the showing - and being a big fan of all these bands, it was a real special experience, though a short one. I only wish I had gone to the event on the UT campus later that evening for a double feature - and a nearly two hour live performance. Damn it.
So rather than doing that (damn it, again!), I caught Sleigh Bells and Nas at Moody Theatre with a quick in-and-out of Perez Hilton's party at Austin Music Hall. Nas was about 45 minutes late taking the stage, which was souped up to the point of feeling like you were in New York City - complete with bus stop, subway station and skyline backdrop. Weed smoke wafting through the Moody (that's definitely a first in my experiences there), I left after a couple songs.
Heading back down dirty 6th (for the last time, thank gawd!), I ducked into Flamingo Cantina for the end of Grimy Styles' set. When I first started visiting Austin right before I moved here over four years ago, I saw Grimy Styles at FlamCan and fell in love. With the city. With the band. With the good vibes inside - and out - of the club. Having not seen them in awhile (I think the band is split between Austin and San Fran now), I was real happy they were in town and made the list of showcasing artists. FlamCan was packed for their show, too.
To close out Saturday night, I was determined to see Jimmy Cliff once more. After waiting in line for about a half hour outside of The Stage on Sixth, I made my way to the back patio and got as close in as I could. Unfortunately, the show didn't compare to the one I saw on Wednesday. The crowd and overall vibe kind of got under my skin. And considering Cliff had played upwards of 10 times through the week, including an appearance with Bruce Springsteen - and he's 63 - his energy was understandably lacking a bit (like mine was too). Regardless, I was happy to see him for only the second time in my life in just one week. And that was that for SXSW twenty-dozen…except for the sweet tunes of Deadeye, Austin's Grateful Dead tribute band, while chilling in the beer garden at Botticelli's on Sunday. Now that was a perfect end to nine days of spring break-y awesomeness.
Taiwan music arrived at SXSW 2012 for the second year in a row. The bands participating in this year's event include Fire EX., Wonfu, and The White Eyes. Each band performed at a different venue for their official showcase and an afternoon showcase. Fire EX was invited to perform at the Austin Welcomes The World event which was hosted by the City of Austin's music plaza at City Hall.
THE WALL MUSIC and Government Information Office of TAIWAN presented the showcase, “Taiwan Sounds Delicious”. It featured performance from each of the Taiwan bands at SXSW and a buffet sampling of classic Taiwanese street food. This included fried noodles, shrimp rolls, and dumplings to name a few. Fire EX opened with their typical energetic and gutty performance. The White Eyes followed with the provocative lead singer, Gao Xiao Gao, wearing a flesh colored bodysuit and long boa of ribbons. She definitely captured the audience's attention. Wonfu closed out the show with their uplifting sounds and had the audience cheering.
Austin Welcomes The World was a showcase of international artists participating at SXSW. Director General Dr. Daniel Liao from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston gave opening remarks, and Texas State Representative , Elliott Naishtat, followed with welcoming remarks and his warm appreciation of Taiwan and its people. Fire EX took the stage and showed the public its classic punk rock performance which has been entertaining audiences for over a decade across the world.
Taiwan music is making an impact in North America, and we look forward to more SXSW appearances in the future.
Rob Campanell Director of Content Programming Blastro Networks