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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday, pt. 1: Mr Natural and Twee Melisma

posted by on March 13 at 14:00 PM

Breakfast today courtesy of Mr Natural, a weird Mexican Health Food Store/Cafe/Yoga Studio across the highway from downtown. This is what my greezy, yummy soy chorizo tacos looked like:

DSC03060.JPGSoy grease is good for you, right, Mr Natural?

Our cabbie was a fan of Mr Natural, so he stayed and ate, and then drove us to our next stop, the All Roads Lead to SXSW Party at the French something-something museum, a big lawned estate dotted with a couple old, colonial buildings.

Bodies of Water was playing. The band is a five piece—guitarist, bassist, two drummers, and a keyboardist—and all but one of the drummers sing, although their keyboardist is clearly the frontwoman. Tall, bird-thin, with bobbed red-brown hair, her high voice and dramatically exaggerated expressions (big grins, wide mock-shocked eyes, hair whipped in front of her face over and over) gave her a certain child-like quality. All their songs rode galloping beats and climaxed with wordlessly melismatic group choruses. One song had her singing about a color palette for sweatshirts—gold, tan, something, and gray. Purple maybe? Pink? Anyway, you could imagine her gathering swatches from American Apparel.

Next up was Vancouver BC’s chamber pop/r&b trio No Kids, whom I’ve already gushed about at some length, at the Emo’s IV Tent. It was kind of the perfect place to see them—Austin was slightly overcast and breezy this morning, making it feel a little more like the NW, and the tent was as sparsely-attended and roomy as No Kid’s songs. They played “For Halloween” and “Listen for It/Courtyard Music.” It wasn’t an acoustic set—they had live drums, electric piano, and another keyboard—but without their little production flourishes, the songs sounded stripped-down and bare; “Listen For It,” for instance, lacked the awesome T-Pain style autotune, but singer Nick Krgovich nailed its vocal run well enough without. Krgovich, by the way, is the very definition of a nerd—not some phony Rivers Coumo-look-I’m-wearing-glasses way, but like straight up Aspbergers syndrome (so hot right now). He’s a hell of a musician, though.

Missed Jens Lekman due to some bad schedule info. Joked about how the massive line-up on 6th street had to be for Vampire Weekend, before realizing that, yes, of course, it was. Honestly, I’d forgotten they were playing this afternoon.

DSC03062.JPGWhy? being swallowed up by the (blurry) existential dread

Best set of the day so far belongs to Why?, who played back at the tent, where the weather had warmed up and the crowd had swelled in size. After a ponderously long set-up, the band played some songs from their stellar new album Alopecia as well as a few from Elephant Eyelash, with Yoni sing/rapping and drumming, backed by drums, electric keys, and bass. Lots of skin-tingling good moments: the “Billy the Kid” refrain of “Song of the Sad Assasin,” the double-time rap of “The Fall of Mr Fifths,” the shouted refrain of “your face never forgets a cry” from “Waterfalls.” But by far the best was the closing rendition of “Gemini (Birthday Song).” That’s just a stunning song, deep and resonant, minutely personal yet universal, simultaneously anthemic and subtle. Off topic: Why? has some really cute fans.

RSS icon Comments

1

Lekman did a nice set. Very engaging stage banter, mostly about how grateful has was to have escaped from his home town of Kordela (or however you spell it) back in Sweden. The Shout Out Louds, AA Bondi, and Yeasayer were also super at the same show. Just so you know that that crazy long line wasn't all because of Vampire Weekend. Oh, who am I kidding, yes it was. And they didn't disappoint. Much better than those weak SNL performances.

Watching the Whigs slay it right now. Yo La Tengo next. After that, who knows?

This is a great festival.

Posted by Rk | March 13, 2008 6:32 PM
2

French Legation Museum, Eric. I was there for J. Mascis and must've left minutes before you showed up.

Posted by Sam M. | March 14, 2008 12:49 AM

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