Sometime late last night I stumbled in from one of the most amazing shows I’ve seen ever. George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic performed for an unprecedented two and a third hours. The show was intensely energetic and lively with at least half a dozen players on the stage. Of course, they played some of their hits like “One Nation Under a Groove” and “Give Up The Funk”. At one points the a incredible singer whom I believe was named Mary Higgins did a rendition of “Crazy”. What a crazy show! I would honestly travel to see them play again for all the fun that show brought.
For other highlights I had a delicious new dish called migas, the tex-mex style ones. It’s egg scrambled with onions, tortillas, tomatos and some other veggies. It was really incredible.
Delicate Steve from New Jersey
Delicate Steve played a great show. I’d seen the band last year to much delight but this show was absolutely phenomenal. Steve had a great stage presence and the band was a ton of fun. I was enraptured the whole time. Last year Luaka Bop released Delicate Steven’s LP Positive Force.
The Soft Moon from San Francisco (Photo from Wikipedia)
Also of significant note was the electrifying performance by The Soft Moon. The band makes some dark electronic music that incites some amazing dance moves. I saw one girl hop for almost the entire show, one guy did a great Ian Curtis dance, another girl did a lot of shaking and several people swayed. You can find their music on Captured Tracks, they have a new album out called Zeros.
SXSW is quickly coming to an end! It’s been great to meet so many awesome people. But, there is still one more day.
There were a bunch of bands yesterday including Divine Fits and Charles Bradley no less, who were both amazing. Le1F and Hunters both played the Biz 3 showcase to great success. The skinny lads of Swim Deep also put on an excellent show at Easy Tiger.
30 drummers playing with Cy Dune
The real highlights came at the Team Clermont showcase. The night started with Cy Dune bringing in around 30 drummers to play with him. Cy Dune is a member of Akron/Family with a brand new EP called No Recognize out on Family Tree/Burger Records. This was a pretty crazy performance to catch.
At the end of the night Helado Negro played his weirdo latin dance/ballads to a small room that ended up in one big group circle. What a good ending!
The third day down in Austin was packed with so much awesome, amazing content and people. Holy cow. It’s really difficult to pick highlights among everyone.
Near the beginning of the day I caught Thao & The Get Down Stay Down on a completely random passing by. Thao Nguyen was playing the single “Holy Roller” with a banjo in tow when I wondered in. The songs resonated beautifully through the packed bar and entranced the audience. Thao certainly has the enthusiasm and playfulness to achieve this. The group have a new record in tow out on Ribbon Records called We The Common.
The title of this blog post certainly suggests that there were some other awesome ladies popping up on my radar yesterday:
Icky Blossoms is a female fronted electronic-rock n’ roll group from Omaha. They had the entire club dancing around like crazies when they took the stage. They blend pounding dance music and throbbing bass with a solid rock sound. It’s pretty special Although the bassist isn’t a part of the band she sure had some spunk.
Icky Blossoms performing at SXSW 2013
Next lady on the stage was playing guitar and keys with Mikal Cronin playing the Merge showcase (whom he’s he just joined the roster with and is releasing his sophomore album on). This show was phenomenal in and of itself there was a pretty talented lady plucking the strings and keys.
Finally, Olga Goreas with the Besnard Lakes playing the Dead Oceans/Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar exudes this awesome attitude and self confidence when on stage. The whole band sounds super solid with face melting guitar amplification and a very catchy Canadian-rock sound.
The enigmatic Slow Magic
The night ended on a truly magical note and SXSW day 3 certainly saved the best for last. By chance I happened onto the Ghostly International showcase where Slow Magic had donned his zebra-esque tribal mask. He pounded away on a huge floor tom and snare while the crowd went crazy. Everyone was dancing by the end when Slow Magic joined the crowd on the floor to pound away at the drum and dance.
I’m looking forward to another fantastic day today around Austin! The sun is bright and the bands are buzzing.
My first full day at SXSW was a whirlwind – so many great bands and venues all across central Austin. It kept me on my feet and in need of a lot of hydration. Keep hydrated folks! Also, feel free to follow me on twitter to find out more up to the date info on bands to check out.
PAWS from Glasgow
The highlight for me was PAWS. They’re on Fatcat Records and were so full of energy when they played their daytime showcase for Force Field PR. Technical difficulties did not get them down and they played through like champs entrancing the crowd with their in-your-face attitude.
The night seemed wrought with bad sound and bands running at least half an hour late so I spent a lot of time hangin’ out and catching unexpected acts playing on bills. Hopefully tonight goes smoother.
I landed in Austin mid-Afternoon and was pumped to start the festivities going. With what? With Widowspeak at the Terrorbird Day Party. I continued the excitement of the day bouncing around from show to show to show. My highlight for the night was definitely Blue Hawaii. While we were packed in like sardines Raphael charmed the crowd and got people doing a little hip shaking while her and her band mate Alexander Cowan made the beats. They have a way dancier sound than even their album let’s on. It defintely harkens the Montreal sound of similar artists like Grimes and Doldrums. Check out their brand new record on Arbutus!
Blue Hawaii from Montreal
I was also thoroughly impressed by the one final song I caught by Australian folk-rock band Henry Wagons. I wasn’t expecting such a lively show but I was thoroughly wowed when Henry concluded the set by going out into the audience to get the sound of people faking death. I’m definitely going to try to catch them again if I can. Henry Wagon’s new album Expecting Company just came out on Spunk Records.
I’m looking forward to catching a lot more local bands tomorrow. If you get a chance to see Jung People take it up. Also, Corb Lund, Shout Out Out Out Out, Sidney York, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and Sean Nicholas Savage – just a small sampling of the amazing Alberta talent that came down to Austin this year.
There’s something emotional about the last day of anything, the same goes for SXSW. I felt like crying during so many bands. Not because they were sad, because they were so darn good! Jeez. Among the bands I saw were The Big Pink, Emily Wells, Doomtree, Ceremony, Graffiti6, Blouse, Chuck Ragin, Hubble, Delicate Steve, Idiot Glee and The Black Belles.
Hubble was a real standout. One dude just killing it on the guitar with lightning fast finger work that left everyone baffled, I’m sure.
Doomtree were also killer. This whole collective – a real mish mash of people – offer up so much talent and make songs flow like magic.
Today was full of welcome surprises and a bit of rest. Yes, my feet are sore from walking and shoulders tired from carrying a purse. Such is life though. Oh well. I let myself be guided by the awesome advice of some pals in Austin right now and what a way to go. Throughout the day I got to check out TOPS, Ariane Moffat, Turquoise Jeep, Cloud Nothings, New Build, DIVA (again), Geoff Geis, So Many Wizards, Hospitality, Toxie, Tanlines, King Tuff, Shearwater, Automelodi and TRUST. Okay, breath now… it was a lot for sure and I still managed to miss Imperial Teen, Nikki Lane, D/R/… wait? Is it really worth going into all this? No.
The show stopper today was TRUST (although DIVA still managed to blow my mind even sans 12 costume changes and without even knowing it was her… weird). It was a significant improvement from last year’s show at Beerland where I remember feeling quite sold-out when drummer Maya Postepski simply walked off the stage in a huff after several problems with her monitors, it still sounded fricken’ rad though. This year, it sounded even better (Maya still gave some ‘tude though). Given time they’ve come up with some really fully formed songs ranging in textures, cadences and even moods. The drums are heavy and distorted for full, body-rocking effect and the crowd, though crammed onto the small 30 square foot dance floor, couldn’t help but to move. So awesome.
As I said, DIVA still managed to amaze me by bringing a chunk of rusty metal and rebar to the show and proceeding to ferociously beat at it. And, yet again, I completely failed in getting any decent pictures. Turquoise Jeep were another source of amusement in the afternoon with their perfectly choreographed dance moves and well-rehearsed skits. The songs were sweet too… but those moves! Dayam. Finally, it should be no surprise, but Merge is on their game with signing Hospitality and releasing their first album (following an self-released EP from four years ago). They pulled off an astounding and tight show. A pleasure to take in!
Thursday was an absolutely fabulously jam-packed day of adventures and fun. The only bad news I have to report is that my phone decided to die before the night activities commenced so pictures from 8pm onward are sadly missing.
I started the entire day off with a wicked group from Halifax called Cousins. This dynamic duo totally kicked ass and I could seriously tell just from this that I had a good day ahead of me.
The day continued on with bands like Good Field, Chairlift, The Men, Two Gallants, Kellarissa…
The Mint Records, Olio Festival and Light Organ Records party at Headhunters was a complete blast. As soon as I walked in some dude was getting interviewed about sexual intercourse, talk about weird. Soon after that finished Kellarissa took the stage with her haunting electronic tinged singer-songwriter music (just beautiful). Following her Mode Moderne totally took over the place with style and catchy tunes. I can’t wait for their full-length coming out on Light Organ soon!
I took a break from music to check out some panels down at the Austin Convention Center but I’ll write a great big summary on those at the end of the week as I’ll be going to a few more and sometimes they tie together.
For the wonderful evening time I raced around the bustling downtown of Austin to catch bands like Exitmusic, Soft Metals, Gardens & Villa, Savaging Spire, DIVA, and (of course) Jesus & Mary Chain. Well! I don’t know where to start. All of the groups are really stunning. Gardens & Villa left the crowd agape with their flutesy, chilled out lo-fi pop. Soft Metals sent shivers down the spines of the dance floor crew who took very well to the beat driven dark wave craziness. Jesus and Mary Chain? Well, they’re the freaking Jesus and Mary Chain. It was awesome even after having to wait an hour to get in. But the real show stopper was DIVA. What can I say? Her performance was the epitome of weirdo-pop to me. After about 12 costume changes and a good 40 minutes of interpretive, choreographed dance DIVA, equipped with a mobile head-set microphone took to the crowd to woo her fans, dance on the bar and drop pretty much every jaw in the place. I was pretty close to spilling some tears from laughing so hard. It was really, really awesome. Like, shit yeah!
Even by dinner time on the first day of the music portion of SXSW Austin bustles with people and the city is alive with sound, and coloured denim. I didn’t have much of a plan for the first day so I just happily wandered around the city stopping in at places that had good music pouring out of them. All up and down South Congress their were lawn parties and people blasting out some good licks. Yes, I got some shopping in as well at some of my favourite stops like New Bohemia, Tesoros Trading Co, Lucy In Diguise With Diamonds and I stopped at Big Top Candy Shoppe (mmmm).Then it was into the downtown I sped around to catch bands. (I also saw bats!!!!)
But before all this I should mention that on Tuesday night Sacred Bones was screening some music videos and releasing a DVD! The vids were most excellent and in between a couple hour long installments we were treated to the joys of Led Er Est and Psychic Ills. Crazy crazy stuff. Most of the videos were done by one Jacqueline Castel, who has done most of Zola Jesus’ videos. My favourite was “Clock Of 12′s” by Naked On The Vague, which complimented a short film entitled 12 Dark Noons (both by Castel).
Friday didn’t have as much kicking back as Thursday’s vid watching had. I jumped around like a Kangaroo from 2 Chainz and Oberhofer to d’Eon and Mirror Mirror, back around to catch bleubird and Lightsout then heading for a special treatment of Tonstarttsbandht all before ending the night off with Gliss. Those last two shows really killed it! Both bands are smaller (two and three members respectively) but their sounds are huge. I can never resist checking out the Tonstartt (aka Boay) Brothers if they’re nearby and I’d suggest you take a similar approach. Amazing stuff.
The Soundasaurus Festival takes place January 5th and 19th-21st with several cutting edge sound and multi-media performances. Kat talks to Kara Blake (director of The Delian Mode), Tristan Perich, Dan Hayhurst (Sculpture), Sonic Garden II and Tammy McGrath (Epcor Centre) to give you a sneak peak at Soundasaurus 2012.
Part One with Kara Blake:
Part Two with Sonic Garden II:
Part Three with Dan Hayhurst (Sculpture):
Part Four with Tristan Perich: