So Austin is burning right now. Well, not the whole town, but some places outside of it. The heat and flames reminds of the first taste of Dia de Los Toadies during the last weekend of August. My lovely lady and I battled 110 plus degree weather in the middle of the Texas sun to get our music festival action on. We skipped out on the Friday night acoustic action and did the full on 13 band line up for Saturday. I’ve got some highlights of the show rightcheer so buckle up and grab some Dos Equis, we’re gonna blow through my favs of the day. Continue reading Viva Dia De Los Toadies!
The last day. It was the last day for SXSW Music. I redeemed myself the previous day and now it was time to finish strong. Instead of sticking around for the softball bbq the next day, we bolted town to get a head start on the driving. So it was important to make sure all of the musical bases were covered and end SXSW on a fantastic play at the plate. Enough baseball analogies, let’s see how my final day ended up:
- Needless to say after a week of partying and getting sick between all of the interactive and music showcases, I was pooped. It’s a good thing the first stop was in the Austin Convention Center. I was early for the first must see so I popped over to other stage and checked out music/video masher DJ Yoda. I have to say this genre of mixing video with music at the same time is starting to blow. It makes DJs more dynamic and provides another layer of skill to show off to the peeps.
- Toro Y Moi was going to feel my presence on St. Patrick’s Day but Montezuma said NO. So, with the power of the badge, I found myself at the afternoon day stage in the convention center and witnessed a hot set. It’s funky, it’s electronic, it’s ambient, it’s mega tasty. This summer will be the summer of Toro Y Moi for me and I will raise a lemon rimmed pint of my favorite wheat style beer in salute every time Toro Y Moi comes on.
- I have on my list of notes two weird things, “Aussie Death Metal” and “Impress Records Weak Peeps.” I’m guessing that they both stunk and I was out and about for badge fringes, or drink, food, and schwag. On to the next tent!
- Kitten sounds familiar, right? If you’re as old as me then you will remember the all-girl nu-metal band that popped up around the last 1990s. Welp, there was no reunion to be had as this Kitten had a different coat. Led by some lady that kept bouncing the tambourine off of her boobs, the male backing band that completed this Kitten gave us ample room to punk out and jump around. The energized the crowd in the afternoon, all thanks to this pint-sized tank of a singer.
- The Dolphin City Records tent party had this band from San Diego called Dynamite Walls. They were alright. Nothing really jumped out at me and the band didn’t have enough crowd to get anyone excited about their sound.
- With the day party stuff done, it was time to line up the night-time shows. I had huge excitement for one band so I lined up at least an hour before the show. The badge gave me first shot in and the since the doors weren’t open yet, I was sure to get in. So I plopped across the street into some green energy demo rest area and proceeded to listen to an Austin band named The Flesh Lights. Some hard-driving rock punking out in the street at Beerland passed the time perfectly and this little surprise held my attention enough to where I had to look them up afterwards.
- Now it was time to go into Esylium for The Ghost a Saber Tooth Tiger. Sean Lennon formed a band with his model girlfriend and the sample song I heard was pretty cool. The live show sucked. They talked too much in between songs and they thought they were alot funnier than they actually were. The old style instruments they played were pretty cool though so at least I came way with some decent musicianship.
- There were a couple of bands I wanted to see at the Austin Music Awards and I had to book all the way across downtown to check them out. The real treat for me was to check out the last couple of songs by the Bright Light Social Hour. The jammed out my ears so hard, they bled happily. I’ll have to see these guys the next time they are in town.
- I had my psychedelic itch scratched yesterday, but I went full on with an Austin based band that reunited for the first time in forever for the award show. The Bubble Puppy isn’t really known but after hearing a couple of their songs on YouTube I figured it would be a treat to see. Boy was I right, the jam style they had made them seem more like The Allman Brothers Band than something like a Pink Floyd with their dueling guitar jams. It was nice to get a peak into the history of Austin with this great sounding band.
- Speaking of Austin history, some guy named Rocky Erickson took the stage with the Meat Puppets and the locals went nuts. For me, the two songs the Meat Puppets played were pure magic but Rocky’s set was a little uninspired. That’s fine, a little bit of Meat Puppets is all I need.
- Next up was country time and I doubled over to Momo’s to see Terrie Clark. My girlfriend loved this lady so it was treat for her to see Terrie up close and personal. I, on the other hand, was just along for the ride. She’s a pretty good guitar picker and she put on a good set. I was more enthralled with the Porchstep electronic boot thumping device. It was a piece of wood with a mic jack to capture a foot stomp when kicked. I never knew that existed.
- I ended my SXSW experience at Emo’s Annex and got there early enough to see Fang Island first. The building joy from this band filled the stage and poured out to the audience with each minute of ecstatic jamming. The crowd, as well as myself, was into this fully and everyone left the set with a smile on their face.
- Lastly, it was the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group. He was out supporting a compilation with his band but SXSW made for a very special appearance by Cedric Bixler-Zavala. For those of you who don’t know, put those guys together and you get The Mars Volta. My SXSW experience was complete with the jamming and off tempo thumping of this collective. Ho man, when they ask 1o years from know where music skewed off into fantastic directions I will point to these guys.
That was it. My feet were tired and I beat up my body so much that I am just now getting over my SXSars sickness. I’ll be uploading the videos I took for a good deal of these artists so look for that. Thank you SXSW, for filling up my music discovery and rediscovery needs for another year. It’s my music honeymoon.
The trick to doing SXSW right is finding the side projects of great bands and/or artists and getting to see them up close. Last year, my girlfriend was skeptical about seeing the Street Sweeper Social Club. After I revealed to her that Tom Morrello of Rage Against The Machine was leading it, she went and had a kick as time. This year, I’m going to provide the same kind of sweet access by checking out the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group. Omar Rodriguez Lopez is, of course, the force behind The Mars Volta. Welp, he formed this group way back in 2005 and have been releasing material under that moniker, or other forms of it like the Quintet, Quartet, etc, since then.
Listening to ‘Un Buitre Amable Me Pico’ off soon to be released “Telesterion,” I can’t help but feel embarrassed. “Telesterion” is a compilation of works spanning Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s entire career and boy is there many an album. I hear Mars Volta all the way in this song and nothing else. Rodriguez Lopez has his own compositional voice and I love jacking into it. That’s why I’m embarrassed. I missed out on so much. I need to go back through all of this mind-blowing and brain-melting material. This may be my number 1 Showcase for SXSW.