RECAP: SXSW Music 2012 (Part 1)
Laser beams in the ci-tay!
Well, another year is a wrap - and man, SXSW, you hurt so good! Kicking off in typical fashion (minus the torrential rain and colder weather) with the interactive and film portions beginning on Friday 3/9, South by Southwest 2012 drew the highest attendance record of the festival to date - and the people came to party (after business was done, of course).
After partaking in Nadia G.'s Bitchin Kitchen party at Easy Tiger on Saturday night - with open bar and free food - Austin's GSD&M held a party on Monday with, of course, an open bar as well. Motopony, Apache Relay and Heartless Bastards performed. Having fallen in love with Nashville's Apache Relay prior to the fest, I was super happy to see them live - and they definitely lived up to their hype. I was really impressed with Austin's very own Heartless Bastards (formed in Cincinnati), too, surprisingly not having seen them before this. Erika Wennerstrom's deep, raspy voice really won me over. Often drawing comparisons to The Black Keys, Heartless Bastards will certainly be seeing my face at their shows more - when they're not touring the country, that is.
For the first time ever, the official music portion of the fest began on Tuesday. After updating the OS on my iPhone - and losing all of my numbers (awesome!) - I rambled around downtown until ending up at the interactive closing party at Stubb's that night, catching M. Ward and Miike Snow. It was a great show to ease into the chaos that ensued on Wednesday, which musically began with Fiona Apple opening NPR's showcase at Stubb's. I hadn't heard much of Fiona since the "Criminal" days - and upon hearing that and a few other older songs, memories of her songs blaring at roller skating birthday parties and such brought me back to a time when I thought she was a complete and total badass. Ah nostalgia acts.
And speaking of nostalgia, perhaps seeing Jimmy Cliff at the old Emo's (temporarily named The Main) next would've sparked something of the same within me if only I had been familiar with him back in the day. Instead, I might as well have been on the beach in Jamaica grooving right then and there. That show put the biggest smile on my face and solidified me seeing him as the very last act of SXSW on Saturday.
After a brief encounter with Pujol at the Beauty Bar Backyard, next up was Pittsburgh's 1,2,3 at The Stage on Sixth. These guys really rocked their hearts out to the small crowd there. I was digging 'em, which could definitely not be said about the last band I saw on Wednesday. I had heard really good things about Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and, whoa, did they disappoint. The lead singer said he had lost his voice from playing so many shows already. Maybe it was just that, but I left soon after that show began and called it a night.
On Thursday, I happily got the heads up that Anthony Bourdain would be filming Austin's Ume at Hotel Vegas. God, does this band rock?!?! I've been meaning to catch them for awhile now, and I was honestly blown away. Lauren Larson shreds like no other chick I've seen! Seemingly sweet and innocent from her looks. she's a devil on guitar. She must get some sort of whiplash from the constant head banging too, right? Regardless, the show was stellar, and I loved taking pictures of the performance. It seems Bourdain had "No Reservations" about getting footage of Ume for his TV show…and rightfully so.
After trekking down to W. 6th for the first showcase of the night and discovering a "band" I thought I wanted to see was a DJ, I made my way to Bar 96 for YAWN. It's a terrible band name. Period. At least that's how I feel. But the Chicago natives were hardly yawntastic with their electro-psychedelic-dance music that sprinkles afro-beats in between.
I could've almost cried when I got to Jonquil's show at Latitude 30 for seriously enough time to snap an over-exposed picture before they unplugged. I caught them last year for maybe ten minutes and was really hoping for more. Oh well…SXSW 2013 I guess.
Peaking Lights was next up on the agenda if they had been on time (they actually may have never played their show at Red 7), so I was going to catch The Black Angels across the street for a quick sec - but, alas, the line was crazy long. No matter! (I met someone over the week whose rasta name that is). Onto The Mohawk for The War on Drugs, which was a HUGE highlight of the fest for me. What is it with the Philly bands that I just love?! Their distorted and melodic indie rock perfectly filled the air, sending some serious chills up my spine. I have no idea what I tried to do after that show…regardless, it was a good night and great "start" (if you can call it that considering this was day #6 of my SXSW ramblings) to the fest.
SXSW Music 2012 (Part 2)