SXSW Day Three – March 14th
SXSW Day 3 started out with us taking a trip off the beaten path. As we mentioned in our preview, there are over 2,000 official SXSW bands playing official showcases, and probably about that many free unofficial shows for more independent labels, venues, and bands.
We started out with a trip to the Community Records showcase. Diving, an Austin local punk band, was playing well-crafted punk rock to a crowd of mostly younger bohemian Austin types. The show was at an art space, Warden Clyffe, and featured two outdoor stages, an indoor stage with walls decorated with a very twisted cartoon series called “Animals”, and featured free beer. Which is always nice.
Afterwards we headed to the CD release show for Austin-based Foe Destroyer. Their album was recently released on spotify and is well worth a listen. Chris McQueen, of snarky puppy, oso closo, and two dozen other jazz and pop acts alike, leads this trio of remarkably versatile musicians: Cade Sadler, also of Safari Dudes, and Danny Garcia round out a team of instrument exchanging fiends that play well-crafted pop and ambient tunes. They were incredibly well received by a nearly packed south Austin bar, the One2One.
Then it was off to the official stuff. Due to logistics struggles, we were unable to attend the Fitz and the Tantrums show, but we did cover them at Deluna Fest so we weren’t too upset (except for Scott, who is in love with Noelle). In all honesty, because they are also playing Friday, there was no real concern about missing the Thursday.
Royal Thunder played a dark and sludgy Austin bar called the Dirty Dog Bar, a venue who’s style matched the band perfectly. An Atlanta native, Royal Thunder rocks some of the hardest metal we’ve heard in a long time and their female lead singer bassist belts out the notes with equal parts melodic sensibility and guttural violence. They’re a must see and will be in Macon at Bragg Jam in July.
Scott and I split up from Everett and waited in a line to see Akron/Family. Red 7 was an incredibly disappointing venue to see the Akron/Family showcase, which was kind of a disappointing show for fans as well. The staff at the venue was incredibly rude, especially the door folks. The SXSW volunteer managing the line was accommodating, but the doormen were crude and demeaning to badges and wristbands alike (brief SXSW hierarchy: badges, wristbands, RSVP online with venue, paid cover, in that order). People with badges paid $1800 bucks or more to see shows, wristband folks aren’t far off, and at a SXSW badges and wristband only show, don’t tell folks that pay that kind of money they “need to have their IDs out and bags open or go to the back of the (hour long) line.”
Akron/Family played only new material off their record set to be released in April. It is a heavy departure from their last few records, is far less crafted, and is mostly noisy and abrasive. We didn’t like it. May have been the bad taste the venue left in our mouth, but it was not a fun experience at the show. -David
Seeing a line that wrapped halfway around the Red 7 gave me (Everett) the urge to miss seeing Akron/Family, so I left Scott and David there and booked it across town to see Sea Wolf. Sea Wolf is the project of Alex Church, but he usually plays shows with a band, as he mentioned to start his set, but tonight it was just him with an acoustic guitar in a church to a packed house. He played through a few songs off his 2012 album Old World Romance before I realized I was too exhausted to listen to a guy with a guitar in a church while sitting down without falling asleep. He sounded great, and I hated to leave it early, so I made it up to myself by going to a Brit Dance show with NZCA/LINES.
I had the pleasure of meeting the guys from NZCA/LINES a couple nights before waiting in a line. They were grooving through some gems off their self-titled 2012 album to a lively crowd. I danced really ridiculously with some strangers who were having an equally good time through the end of their set.
I was disappointed in missing Flume the night before, so I went to what I expected would be a long line for him about 20 minutes before the set. Instead, there was no line to get into the British Embassy Stage at Latitude 30 and I easily walked nearly to the front. I would later find out that the the reason we likely couldn’t get into see Flume the night before was because the venue was not really great at managing the flow of foot traffic (see Red 7 above). It didn’t matter, because this crowd was so into this kid from Australia that I actually had a conversation with an energetic Aussie about how everyone in the room was about to get “Flumed.” Flume is the project of Harley Streten who, like Washed Out’s Ernest Greene plays dreamy dance pop, and samples from others. It was pretty fun to have a friendly, albeit intoxicated, Australian fellow explain Flume to me, only to have him seem impressed when I mentioned that I came to see him on purpose. It was great, except for the clearly out of place morons who kept jumping on stage and acting like anyone came to see them. They were politely asked to leave a couple times before being forced to leave, but Flume wasn’t phased, so it didn’t spoil anyone’s good time. Having gotten to dance awkwardly in public through two back-to-back shows was enough to remind me I was exhausted, so I met back up with Scott and David.
We ended the night with a show on the Pfluger pedestrian bridge crossing the Colorado River. Parquet Courts, a Brooklyn based rock band featuring Andrew Savage from Fergus & Geronimo, played sixties throwback surf and punk tunes to a crowd of 200+ exhausted SXSW patrons. Their energy was incredible and the crowd loved it, despite their exhaustion from a long third day at SXSW..