SXSW Saturday: Belated, Deflated
posted by March 18 at 10:50 AMon
Saturday started at the free, non-SXSW-affiliated Mess with Texas fest, some blocks up from 6th street in a large park, with Night Marchers, the new project from John Reis of Rocket From the Crypt and Hot Snakes took the stage. “We’re Johnny Club Med and the Cabana Boys,” said gracefully aging greaser Reis. “We’re happy to be here entertaining you for the next 23 minutes.” The banter was bullshit, with Reis referring to his band by several fake names throughout the set, but the rock was very real, hard-driving, raw-throated garage in the tradition all Reis’ bands. You get the impression that Reis will probably be cranking this stuff out until the day he dies, whether a crowd’s gathering to watch him or not. As he plays he flashes between a serious scowl on the heavy riffs and a showman’s smile after each successfully completed feat of rock. At the close of the set, he thanked the crowd sincerely, finally saying the band’s name.
Outside the Fader Fort, someone said of Brooklyn trio Telepathe, “I think this band drove out anyone who gives a shit about music, which means they should be letting more people in soon.” Indeed, Telepathe aren’t much of a band—three lanky girls singing echoing mumblecore over listless electro beats and delay, like well-draped mannequins sing chopped and screwed karaoke.
Hype band of the second, BLK JKS, a South African band who had all of one song available online before scoring a Fader cover and a prime slot at their Austin party, didn’t live up to push. If it weren’t for their foreign origins and good style, if, say they were white nerds, nobody would forgive their noodling, aimless jam rock. It’s like a reverse image of Vampire Weekend.
Santogold played a well-executed set, handily correcting Friday’s misstep.
Headlining at the Fader Fort were Spank Rock followed by 2 Live Crew (apparently minus Luke). Given Spank Rock’s recent 2 Live send-up, Bangers & Cash, it seemed likely that the two might share the stage for a few songs, but nothing of the sort ever went down. Although both groups make raunchy party rap, Spank Rock’s modern version benefits from a sense of playfulness, possibly irony, that 2 Live Crew’s set lacks. Both groups get girls up on stage, but Spank Rock’s is Amanda Blank, rapping along with the guys, spitting as filthy as any of them, whereas 2 Live Crew’s are mere props, punch lines. Also, Spank Rock’s set is much more of a party, with MC Naeem Juwan backed up by Devling & Darko on the decks, Pase Rock on hype, and a live drummer on bongos and cymbal.
The rest of the night is more or less a blur: Flosstradamus and Kid Sister rapping with A Trak; Digitalism destroying it at the DFA party, flanked by the bottle-service nightclub’s go-go dancers; John from Iron Lung, Judd from Sex Vid, and Richmond, Va crusties Municipal Waste trying to sneak into the Vice afterparty, a party in some historically fancy old hotel room.