SXSW Day One: Portland Style
posted by March 13 at 1:03 AMon
posted by Ezra Careff at the Portland Mercury’s End Hits:
Day One - SXSW 2008
Total Number of Bands Seen:
Six. Jeffrey Lewis, Kimya Dawson (on accident, I swear), Be Your Own Pet, The Kills, Bon Iver, Tough Alliance.
Total Number of Tacos Consumed:
Notable Shows That I Was Unable to See:
Three. R.E.M., Van Morrison, Okkervil River & Roky Erickson.
Number of hand stamps and wrist bands:
None, unless you count Jens Lekman at the Tough Alliance show. He was dancing. Poorly. While holding a tote bag.
Not a bad first day, especially when you consider that we rolled into Austin in the early evening, and before we saw any bands we needed to check-in to our hotel, register for the conference, and, most importantly, eat some tacos. I chose the stomach-turning “deep friend avocado, with avocado(!)” taco (pictured above), which was wasn’t as bizarre as the name sounds. The avocado was nugget-thick with batter, but cool and soft inside, plus it went well with a dollop of the habanero hot sauce.
Onto the music…
Jeffrey Lewis, much like his performance a few weeks back opening for the Mountain Goats, was fantastic—a charming blur of hyperactive kiddie songs, run through the neurotic filter of a tortured (comic book) artist, and militant Crass fan. Our plan was to catch the bouncy pop of Saturday Looks Good to Me next, but instead we stumbled right into a Kimya Dawson performance (my hatred for Juno is well documented).
No time to consult the guidebook, so we just fled into the sea of people, took a random left and were staring at the hyperactive Be Your Own Pet.
It’s like pop-punk for kids who wouldn’t dare admit to listening to pop-punk. Honestly, it’s hard to see where Be Your Own Pet stops and a band like Paramore starts. Or even Tilt or Discount, for that matter. Still enjoyable, though.
Speaking of pop-punk (specifically Discount), it was time to cut across town to catch The Kills. I adore their latest, Midnight Boom, and haven’t caught the band since their early days from back when they were still (I assume) a couple. They do have the same intense, faux-junkie back and forth, as before, but that are-they-going-to-fuck-each-other-on-the-stage? vibe was long gone.
Despite my best efforts to catch Cut Copy, I arrived too late, so I reversed direction and sought out the ghostly voice of Bon Iver, the band behind my favorite record of the year (so far, it’s still quite early), For Emma, Forever Ago. Problem was, the show was at a terrible venue that booked a very loud Buckcherry cover band a few yards away from the delicate sounds of Bon Iver. At the same time.
Worse, was this douche nozzle bouncer who refused to let anyone upstairs to see Bon Iver, despite the show not being sold out.
Ha, beer for breakfast, you silly fucking frat boy, I will turn your bones to fucking dust and murder your fucking family.
Um, anyway, I got in. Bon Iver’s set was gorgeous, despite my seething rage for a certain bouncer getting the best of me. I needed to mellow out. I needed something fun. I needed something Swedish and gay.
Oh, hello Tough Alliance. The Swedish duo was just what I needed, as their ridiculous techno-pop (Lip syncing and fog machines, yay!) sounded better as the evening progressed, even if it made me feel like I was at a sweaty gay bar in Göteborg. It was a little hokey at times, but not a bad way to end my first night here at SXSW.
Eat more tacos. Two is not enough.
That is all.