BRR started out SXSW by going over to the Creekside Lounge to catch Goes Cube with their day show. Unfortunately, we got there too late to have New York's loudest trio punish our eardrums, but we did catch up with them and their impressive tour beards. They're off to play shows in Laredo and Corpus Christi before coming back to Austin for their official showcase on Saturday at Maggie Mae's. (Goes Cube arrives back in NYC with a show at Union Pool on Mar. 28)
We did manage to catch The Midgetmen's brand of fast, catchy punk rock, centered around an awesome clear bass guitar.
Then, I walked through downtown Austin a bit to get bearings and lunch. This is my first time here and I'm amazed at the extent to which SXSW takes over downtown.
Stopped by Mog's day party to see the Raveonettes. Ended up seeing this band first. From Phoenix, they are dudes with beards making music for dudes with beards.
Then, Austin's Black Angels came on and brought their reverb-drenched noisy rock to the stage. They were the BRR find of the day. Of course, I didn't manage to take a photo, but they're playing again today at the Red Eyed Fly at 5:30 with A Place to Bury Strangers.
The Raveonettes came on and were surprisingly loud with some heavy and nasty (in a good way) pre-recorded loops. This was when forgetting my earplugs in my bag became a poor choice.
Later, stopped in on Walter Meego and their dancey synth-rock, highlighted by some nice unison dual-guitar work.
On to day 2....
While I found a good amount of worthwhile music on day 1, day 2 was somewhat less useful.
The muical highlight of the day came early, at the CEA's Digital Freedom Campaign DC day party, with These United States.
They were joined on stage for a couple of songs by Le Loup
Otherwise, just a couple of street scene photographs of note. No great finds yesterday as far as music.
Music seems to get significant support from the city of Austin:
The human parade milling about downtown Austin during SXSW may be more interesting in the aggregate than most-- if not, any-- of the bands performing.
The culinary highlight of day 3 was lunch down at Polvos south of downtown. If nothing else, SXSW is a great excuse to eat a diet consisting exclusively of BBQ and Tex-Mex.
As far as music, the most notable day party was the Mercury Records one where I went to meet up with Mr. F and caught a couple of bands. The first, whose name I didn't catch, is worth noting for no other reason than they do have a sax player in the band. Represent! And while I never caught up to Vampire Weekend (with a stake), the buzziest act I saw at the festival was probably Duffy. Pitched as the next Amy Winehouse, Duffy has the vocal chops to fill that role, but her backing band didn't have anywhere near the soul of the Dap Kings.
Went over to catch up with Brooklynites Gold Streets who were sounding good, despite some equipment troubles and a venue that didn't seem to host rock bands outside of SXSW week.
Ran from there over to the WFMU show to see The Homosexuals (the touring lineup includes members of NYC's Apache Beat and the Unsacred Hearts.) This was a great energetic set that felt like it was in fact time-shifted from decades ago.
After having to consult iPhone's maps a bit too much, ended the night over at the After the Jump house party to see These United States again -- in a yard in a residential Austin neighrborhood. Outside on a Friday night, this was amplified music going on with other houses nearby and it wasn't shut down by the police just after starting. Wow. Here, saw Salt & Samovar, Oliver Future, These United States and The Lisps.
And that was it for BRR at SXSW 2008. Because of waiting too long to book flights, the only reasonably priced flights I found required returning to NYC on Saturday morning. On a connecting flight, through Chicago.