Kata Rokkar is an amazing music blog based in America. It's been a valuable source of inspiration since we started a few years back and we consider it an honour to have them (Shawn Robbins & Family) help us out with SXSW coverage this year. Consider this the first of many 'Cross-Atlantic' collaborations. Enjoy and remember to check Kata Rokkar out by going to http://katarokkar.cribble.net
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Shawn: It was an interesting day in Austin, TX for me. Let's start with IHOP, actually, no, you don't need to know about the 4 pound omelet I thought I could handle but obviously couldn't (barf). Getting the wristband was pretty simple, so after that I headed over to the Terrorbird show to catch a few acts. choir of young believers I caught the tail end of Choir of Young Believers show at Red 7's outdoor stage. I had never heard of the band and was somewhat impressed with their sound. Very upbeat and original. [mp3] Choir of Young Believers - Action/Reaction from This Is For the Whites In Your Eyes (2009) Neon Indian I stuck around for their set and waited to watch Neon Indian. They are pretty fun live and don't seem gimmicky as some would think. There is a modest charm to Neon Indian's music and it translates well live. The thing that works well with Neon Indian is they sound like a 'laptop act' sometimes but they are really a full fledged band. Lots 'o fun. For entire picture collection, click here. [mp3] Neon Indian - Terminally Chill from Psychic Chasms (2009) Those Darlins After them I talked a bit with Kevin from the Bay Area music site epicsause, and watched a few songs by Those Darlins, an adorable June Carter-esqe / Edward Sharp-ish act that kept my attention for a bit. Toro Y Moi Eventually I waltzed inside Red 7's and watched Toro y Moi do a laxed and shaky set. The first few songs were a bit uneven but started to flow a bit more about mid-set. He closed with an acoustic-ish version of Blessa and thanked the crowd. For entire picture collection, click here. [mp3] Toro Y Moi - Blessa from Causers Of This (2010) yummerz I was hungry. So I made my way to Stubb's for some brisket tacos for my tummy. Probably not the wisest choice considering my morning meal but if you were out here and smelled the cooking, you'd be scarfing just like me. Anyway, I walked around a bit and decided to wait online for the Spoon / Broken Bells show at Stubb's. I talked with this cool dude from Brooklyn Vegan for quite a while, bonding over hardcore music (the new Dillinger Escape Plan and Murder by Death albums, both of which are epically amazing). Visqueen The first band to open for the Spoon show was a basic rock band called Visqueen. Nothing original or groundbreaking, they seemed to be heavily influenced by Neko Case, which is never a bad thing. They wrapped up quick with a 5 song set and little joke regarding how similar the lead singer resembles Shaun White. For entire picture collection, click here. [mp3] Visqueen - Hand Me Down from Message To Garcia (2009) The Walkmen Next was one of my current favorite bands, The Walkmen. The howl from this guy gives me tingles up my spine every time I heard it live and this time around was no exception. The band has this uncanny ability to mimic the cathedral echo from their studio albums while bringing this on stage intensity not matched by many bands I have seen perform live. They went a bit longer than the last act and I was very happy about that. For entire picture collection, click here. [mp3] The Walkmen - The Rat from Bows + Arrows (2004) Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings The main act I was waiting for though was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I had already heard so many great things about her commanding stage presence and how tight the band is live, you could say my expectations were high. I was disappointed. JUST KIDDING! Wow, what an amazing and talented group of musicians. And Sharon, she is this 5'3" ball of energy that explodes on stage and demands the audience to react. And did they react. She had them by the balls and made sure the whole venue were on their feet and grooving to band's new and older songs as well as their wonderful cover of This Land Is Your Land (featured in the film, Up in the Air). I will gladly see this band again without question. For entire picture collection, click here. [mp3] Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - I Learned The Hard Way from I Learned The Hard Way (2010) Broken Bells Broken Bells Broken Bells had already played a 'secret' show at some parking garage a few blocks away from Stubb's earlier that day, so I was wondering if they had it in them to pull of a decent enough show being they had already done a full set that same day. Let me just say, the band is not one for lively performances. James Mercer kind of just stands there and Danger Mouse has this demeanor that says, "I'm working." How'd they sound? Brilliant. They sounded very uniform and true to the record for a band that has only performed live a handful of times. Don't expect much else though. For entire picture collection, click here. [mp3] Broken Bells - The High Road from Broken Bells (2010) Spoon Spoon Finally, Spoon took the stage. This was my first Spoon experience and it was one to remember. Not much for talking, the band just went all out and played the among the setlist was a cover of The Damned's Love Song, new stuff like Got Nuffin', crowd favorites like Don't You Evah and I Turn My Camera On, and some surprises like The Ghost of You Lingers and a new one called Is Love Forever? Overall, the band jammed here and there and definitely convinced me that Spoon is one of those live acts that live up to their expectations. For entire picture collection, click here. I closed the night wandering back to homebase around 2am, ready for what else SXSW had in store for me. I still had little to no plan for the rest of the week and I liked that. Meanwhile, our co-writer Tanner was just getting in...