SXSW '10: Day 2 Recap
When 2,000 bands invade your city - and you're already a music fanatic - it's like christmas. But way better. Every venue in downtown Austin, at every hour, offers a little something for everyone, no matter your musical tastes. And that's not even the half of it. If you just take a moment to look around while you're hopping from place to place (which can be hard at times when you're always on the go trying to catch the next show), you'll see some crazy ass people all around you. This is THE people-watching fest. Hula-hooping guitarists, Japanese-I-don't-know-what-the-eff-they're-doing dancers in the street, New Orleans-style street musicians and everything in between.
My first showcase on Thursday was at Latitude, featuring UK artists. Bubbz was a fun way to kick off the night and get the energy flowing in my beyond exhausted body. His commanding stage presence was complimented by his obviously well rehearsed set and polished appearance. And though the place wasn't packed, people continued to trickle in throughout the set, and Bubbz was very tactful in bringing people to the front of the venue, easily enhancing the vibe. Good tip for artists: don't be shy about asking the audience to move in a little closer. It makes your showcase that much more enticing for the people milling about on the street figuring out their next move.
Up next was The Whigs - or so we thought. Beauty Bar annex is apparently not even on the same block as the Beauty Bar, so we ended up seeing Los Angeles' Moonrats. And, ironically enough, the bassist in the band is Jenny Lee Lindberg (her fourth set of the day) from Warpaint, so that was a nice surprise since I'm really loving Warpaint's psychedelic-infused sounds. At first, I wasn't really feeling Moonrats, but after a couple songs, they definitely started drawing me in. SXSW tip: don't make a judgment call on a showcasing band till they have at least ten minutes to warm-up on stage and get all the kinks worked out sound-wise. Le Loup at Galaxy Room was our next stop and also another prime example of wait-for-it-wait-for-it goodness. Drawing comparisons to Yeasayer and Animal Collective, Le Loup is a band I'd be into checking out again if they made it back around to Austin.
Holy F*ck - a phrase used in many different circumstances, including "Holy f*ck, I still can't believe how much good music I'm seeing this week - and always - in Austin," and it's also the name of an experimental electronica band from Toronto. I actually saw these guys open for The Disco Biscuits in Chicago for Halloween last year, so I was looking forward to their SXSW set. Unfortunately, so were a lot of other people, so I waited-and-waited in line and finally made it inside to catch a few songs, which I totally enjoyed - though I could've used some more.
Ahhh, and the infamous GZA, who had canceled his appearance at a day party on Wednesday and was very late (not sure if he ever showed because I left) to the Eastbound & Down party earlier Thursday evening, was to take the stage next. Would he show? Well, he did - eventually. I'm not sure who it was from his posse that entertained the crowd for the next half hour or so until he did make an appearance, but GZA definitely owes this guy, which he should remember when he wakes up from whatever drug-induced coma he's in. That's right - apparently he had to be CARRIED into The Mohawk for this showcase (we found this out from a little bird after his brief set). And that wasn't the only strange GZA-related happening. He was also entranced with someone in the front of the audience and constantly fixated on her ("her" is an assumption but probably the correct one) - with his bodyguard about a foot away from him ready to pounce at any minute - throughout the showcase. Strangeness. Also, the bass got so loud that we decided to jet, but right as we were about to exit GZA got ahold of us (not literally :-), so we stuck around till the end.
By this time, it's about 1am, and we mosey into Club de Ville to check out I-don't-know-who, and then decide to end the night with London/Paris' Dan Black at Dirty Dog. Great decision! At first glance, you think "Zoolander" because of his face paint and over-exaggerated dance moves (that were awesome, by the way), and then you mix that up with his pop-y tunes and cheesy choruses (almost Just Jack-ish), and you get yourself a dance par-tay! I loved seeing this guy and will definitely be up-ing his album to my party mix. He was highly entertaining on stage, and I'm a sucker for those British accents.
Cheers! It was another fab day...on to the next one!