Category Archives: Concerts

SXSW Day 3: Stuffed On Music

I’m sitting here in the Clarion Inn at about 3:30 in the morning Saturday and I’m wondering if it can get any better than this.  No, I’m not talking about Old Milwaukee, I’m talking about this Music conference and the events leading up me typing this in my underwear.  Sure, my feet are super sore, they have been after every night, but each day passes and my mind continualy is blown up by what we’re doing down here.  Today’s music consisted of a smorgusboard of variety and some pay off from very well known to virtually unknown artists.  Let’s take a look:

  • First up was the Fangs and they bite pretty well in the Euro synth punk genre.  The lead singer lady is all sultry and punky while the rest of the band rocks it out eurocore.  Oh it’s catch and popppy, but has a slight edge.
  • After a couple of detours, I actaully ran into And So I Watch You From Afar playing again.  Me and my lovely girlfriend stayed and watched these guys play again. Go see them if they are in your town.
  • We heard rumor during the week that a major band would be playing at SXSW this week and we got in line at Stubb’s to check them out.  First of was Metric and what I thought was a Swedish smart rock band ended up being a New York rock and roll with synth Blondie send up.  The lead singer lady again had some great energy on the stage.
  • Next up was Muse.  They were the big rumor and Spin brought these guys here for a great show.  I’ve yet to see them live and now I will if they ever come around Kansas City.  Everyone knows who Muse is, or at least should, but what hit the home run for me was the Ennio Morricone cover of the them to Once Upon A Time in The West that they started out with in the encore and ran into Knights of Cydona.  Truly a site to see.
  • We piled out of there and ran back to the Mohawk to see some tunes.  We watched the Cool Kids rap and it was a great palette cleanser.  Good ole fashioned hip hop with some spliff references.
  • Next up at Mohawk was Miike Snow.  Again I thought this was Swedish smart techno but again I was proved wrong when the went alot harder than I expected.  This guys had the crowd at their fingertips by the time we left for our last show.
  • The last stop of the night pinned the tail on our ecclectic donkey of music.  Dengue Fever is a world music band featuring a Cambodian singer and hails for LA.  If you enjoy some rousing world music, check these guys out.  They had us bouncing around the room.  You know at first I thought the singer was a Bollywood type diva but I guess Cambodian divas sound alot like those.  Good fun at the end.

SXSW Day 1: Music Blast Off!

Okay Day 1 of SXSW Music saw myself kick into full swing of the tunes here in Austin.  It also helped that it was St. Patrick’s Day.  Naturally, me and my lovely girlfriend started out the Irish way and then ended up in the good ole nonprofit way.  In between shows, we checked some cool local shops.  But the important thing stuff was the shows.  So let’s get to it.

St. Patrick’s Day is a day celebrated by Irish alcoholics across the world.  So what better way to do so than at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30.  The only band the caught my eye was And So I Watch From Afar.  Those guys did some instrumental rock riffs that rival that of Kyuss.  I also enjoyed a lovely pint of Guiness in celebration.  Great times indeed.

We hit up the shops and then the convention center to get our SXXpress pass for the NPR Music Showcase.  The lineup was huge and we made our way to Stubb’s BBQ about 2 hours before the show.  The line was already long so we were glad to use the new pass types and be first inside the show!  The outdoor venue is a great place to watch bands and also snack down on some great BBQ, even though it’s not as good Kansas City.

The first two bands were alright.  Visqueen opened up with some rock that didn’t put me to sleep.  The Walkmen stepped on stage next and they rocked out in an almost Coldplay type style.  The lead singer hit the high notes well but really didn’t punch it through on the emotional side of things. The next three bands were the ones we really wanted to see.

Broken Bells is a collaboration of Danger Mouse and James Mercer.  They had a tough act to follow but they mellowed things out for the final performance.  The esoteric nature of their songs led to us jamming out but for some reason it didn’t fit perfectly with the line up.  It seems this is more headphone music than concert music.  That said, I’m anxious to sit down and listen to this album when I get back.

Spoon was the last show of the night and the Austin based rocked out pretty well.  We didn’t stay for the whole show and I missed the one song I really wanted to hear from them.  The show was swinging, however.  The crowd head bobbed pretty well even though they played until after 1am.  All in all good stuff from these guys.

The show of the night was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.  The soul funk from Brooklyn had the crowd moving the whole time on stage.  Sharon Jones held the crowd in her hands and pulled strings of funk for the whole set.  If you ever want to get your funk down, check them out.  You won’t regret it.  And you won’t regret tuning in tomorrow for the next update.  Until then, off to more shows!

SXSW Day 0: What Happened Before Music Was Official

For those of you coming form my other blog, Hoketronics, welcome!  For the others following along, howdy!  I’m down here in Austin checking out SXSW.  I rocked the Interactive and Film part and now I’m diving down into the Music part.  Now before I talk about the official Music events, there were a couple of bands I checked out in support of the Interactive parties.

The first being the Computer Blip Blop Bull#$%# party.  The Found Footage Festival guys hosted the event but there was also some kick ass music, too.  Mike and Moonpies opened up and my alt country blood was a flowing.  They also did a sweet cover the Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down.”  The rain came and we moved inside.  The Laughing took over and rocked my head off.  You should really check them out.

Next up I headed over to the Interactive Closing Party and stayed just long enough to check out The Sour Notes and Mariachi El Bronx.  The Sour Notes really didn’t do anything for me, but Mariachi El Bronx rocked.  I remember looking at the guy and wondering if he was the lead singer of The Bronx, an LA based rock band I saw open up for The Hives a couple of years ago.  Welp, after I got back and checked it out, it was!  So they decided to do some rocking Mariachi because acoustic rock sucked and I have to say it worked out great.

That was the party leading up to the parties.  Check out this blog to see what happened on the first big SXSW Music day.  Hasta Pasta!

Staying Warm at Winterfest

I checked out Winterfest last night.  It was put on by Banzai Magazine, which would be the first time I’ve heard of them.  The GF grew up with the folks in Zenith Farm so that’s why I was there.  The Uptown somehow housed 4 stages inside and I have to say it was a very interesting experience.  Some bands rocked, some bands really sucked.  All in all it was worth the 10 bucks I dropped for it.

Walking inside, the familiar sights of the Uptown Theater befell my new spectacles (it borders on black frame, indie geekness but I tread the line slowly).  The merch is always up front and the bar usually has some kind of music rocking.  We surveyed the land, both far bar reception area, and near bar side room swankiness.  The Winterfest spread it snowy wings across 4 separate stages.  Needless to say, this Yeti like music fan was quite impressed.

The talent on the stage, however, wasn’t so impressive.  Reading a line up and not knowing any single act is a great indicator for the level of greatness represented.  I only recognized one band:  Zenith Farm.  To be fair, I spied them at the Record Bar a couple of months ago and am very familiar to their comedy/country brand of bluegrass and blue balls.  Thank you again, GF.  If you want a great show and a great laugh, check them out. The Ustream tells some of the story.

The rest of the bands were lukewarm to weak.  Hey, that’s cool, we got quantity over quality for some very cheap tickets.  High (or low) lights include a guy alone on one stage singing through karaoke versions of Tool songs.  The hip hop area had some good stuff, but other stuff was majorly week.  A Nickelback-esque like sighting almost made me puke.  The metal was truly represented with enough death metal and screamcore to deafen even the oldest of music fans.

Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the Hand of Midas.  They were straightforward heavy metal dudes that had a nice tight set on the main stage.  The lead singer also looked like a friend of mine, Old Dude.  When I was jamming out to them, I couldn’t help but think of heavy metal gods like Pantera and Kyuss.  They lead singer needs to grow his hair out a little more for some better headbangitute.  At any rate, check this guys out and prepare to have your asses blown off.

Winterfest didn’t blow us off.  Whether the acts were great or not, the one truly special quality of this event was the mix of different music genres.  Before the concert kicked off, I predicted heavy metal down the line.  I didn’t guess that the whole show would be a mish-mash of different music types (except Techno, guys get it on there for next year).  Even better, the type of people who enjoyed the different types genres were intermixed.  Toothless, old, grizzled rednecks rocking out to some pregnant, high heeled, short skirt hoochie mama is a magical sight to see.