SXSW 2012: Day Three
It's Friday and I'm broken. There's still two days left. Oh god. The SXSW novice is finding the going tough and I've started to shout at random people who are rude and talk through gigs. Send help.
No, really. It's ok. Because it's like really overwhelming at times. I walked back from the Mohawk stage last night about 1am and was like, OMG - lazer lights, smoke billowing, random piles of stuff everywhere and bodies staggering randomly. It was like a scene out of independence day. Before I got to that part of the night though, there was music to be had, and legs to buckle, (mine).
I kicked off the day with a visit to the British Embassy, no passport was required on this occasion as Breton took to the stage at their first official showcase. They played a blinding set of songs taken off their forthcoming album Other Peoples Problems and were one of the highlights of the day, in my honest opinion. The open windowed venue is one of the coolest in Austin, but the heat was certainly intense adding a certain something to the eclectic visuals that backed their performance.
After a failure to enter the Pitchfork day party I headed out west to the Double Denim / Luv Luv Luv party and was rewarded by the venue presence of Marcus Mumford (Does he ever take that waistcoat off?), Fiction and Dutch Uncles. I settled down to a half hour of soundchecking overhearing and cocktail drinking, catching up with Dutch Uncles who are fresh from playing their first gig in NYC. Ready and primed for their SXSW shows in the coming days they told me the recording sessions for their new album are going well, which was music to my ears, literally.
Anyhoo, It was a hell of a walk, but it was definitely worth the journey to see Zulu Winter. I actually attended their first gig as Zulu Winter for Now Wave, so it's been great following their journey and hearing new single 'Dashing In Passing' just before I came to Austin. Despite it being their third gig of the day, they smashed it. They really are leading the charge of UK music right now..
The downside of day 3 of the music portion of SXSW is the queues. Disorganised queues can make the difference between actually getting into a gig and missing out big time. I fell foul of this at ICF and missed Polica and Reptar, was a bit gutted to be honest.
Got back in the saddle at the British Embassy thanks to a friendly face and a vodka or two. The Chevin have been playing a slew of gigs with White Lies and brought their Leeds brand of upbeat indie rock to a set that finished magnificently with stormer 'Champion'.
I was excited to finally catch Hooded Fang at Swan Dive. They were full of energy and banter and it was great to finally hear some of Tosta Mista live. Their attractive display of vinyl/records was the best selling set up I'e seen so far in Austin. Kinda sad they weren't selling the mexican comics though.
I'd planned to split my ten o'clock 'shift' between two bands Letting Up Despite Great Faults and Hospitality. I'd checked the geography of the venues and everything. My luck wasn't in though, after another queue debacle I got in to the Beale Street Tavern to check out Hospitality. I've got a slight girl crush on single 'Betty Wang', and they seriously rocked my socks/ I saw Radio 1's Jen Long across the way digging it too and had to resist the urge to tell her about the amazing sandwich I bought at Chicago Airport. If you're reading this Jen, it was immense.
I rounded my night up with the homecoming party of homecoming parties...yes The Black Angels playing a packed out Empire Automotive set and raised the roof. Even with ear plugs in, I thought my ears were going to melt. The stage has been set for the new album, and if it's a patch on what I heard last night, it's gonna hit out..
My last stop of the night was to the Pitchfork party at Mohawk, full of hipsters right? No. Full of loud, obnoxious dicks that would rather talk cobblers than pay attention to one of the most gorgeous records of the year being played live. The album being Sharon Van Etten - Tramp. I moved around the venue to try and search out an improved standing point to no avail. Sad, I thought Pitchfork fans were meant to be intense music lovers. I was completely incensed and had to leave the venue before I said things I would regret.
Tiredness prevails, so today I'm gonna hang with the tastes of Manchester (Ghosting Season, Brown Brogues, D/R/U/G/S and Dutch Uncles), have a cocktail or two and eat some BBQ. Bring it on Austin, I'm ready for you.. *tired face*
Thursday was a tough day for everyone. We were sluggish in our hotel until the mid-afternoon, loathe to rejoin the crowded streets of downtown that now seemed steeped in tragedy. My whole plan for the day had been to stay at the Stereogum showcase which, given its proximity to Mohawk and where the accident occurred, had been cancelled. [read more]
Friday at SXSW proved that the festival was still focused on the weekend. Maybe I just got the hang of how to handle Austin or maybe Friday was actually just better than the rest of the week, I'm not really sure. The day started off terribly when the bus driver made me throw away one of the best coffees I've ever had—from Austin's acclaimed Bennu Coffee—and then abruptly ended his route halfway through. [read more]