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Friday, March 16, 2007

Alrighty Then

posted by on March 16 at 18:40 PM

Here’s something I didn’t report from last night: Under Byen, Sweden’s latest export, at Emo’s. Lead singer is a beautiful Scandinavian blonde with cheekbones that could cut glass. With her and another female vocalist, violin, cello, two drummers, a shaggy-haired marimba player, and bass and guitar, these guys played industrial lullabyes that dipped into nightmarish noise without warning. They come to Chop Suey on March 21.

First set of today was at Stubb’s at the Spin magazine party. Mew’s last few songs were heavy and moody. They gave up the stage to Galactic, a band that’s never taken the place of true Nawleans funk for me. They had in their favor a special weapon—actually a few: Blackalicious MC Gift of Gab, Lyrics Born, and Boots Riley of the Coup. The band hit way harder than I’ve seen them before, and each MC worked their vocal magic over a pair of tracks before moving on. All Bay Area MCs for this all-Nawleans funk’n’jam band was a good look all around.

For Eric Grandy I moved on to Simian Mobile Disco, a UK-based electro-rock outfit who was unfortunately only doing a DJ set at Emo’s Jr. The crowd was thin and I figured it was a little early for a dance party, but outside in Emo’s main room, Girl Talk went on to a packed house and played a seriously entertaining set. I’ve been skeptical of Greg Gillis for a while, not being impressed by his album (I’ll take Jason Forrest and Donna Summer any day), but I gotta give it up: Girl Talk launched into an ecstatic, hilarious set, mixing Clipse into Boston into Tag Team into Nirvana into Justin Timberlake. Gillis’ set might’ve been the most SXSW-appropriate music I’ve heard, a sort of short attention span theater mashup full of half-cut songs blended into other half-cut songs blended into a contiguous dance party for in-the-know hipsters. It was actually much more fun than that sounds.

Superduper buzz band Deer Hunter played immediately afterwards, sounding more interesting than their already interesting debut album sounds. Beat-heavy, vocal-heavy, and noisy as hell, this young band from Atlanta had a singular sound that was experimental and accessible at the same time. Even though I cringe at the Pitchfork stamp of approval, I could see really getting into these guys.

And then it was off to Central Austin for the Ballard party. The spot was 15 minutes outside of downtown, an outdoor studio type of joint with a nice stage and sound system. I caught the tail end of Rachel Flotard doing an acoustic set with a slide guitarist. What a voice! The place wasn’t packed but it was pleasantly peopled and I talked to a few Austin locals who were at the show simply because of its proximity to their houses. Flotard sang an excellent rendition of an old ’50s chestnut, “You Belong To Me,” warm and sentimental in the late afternoon sun, with her baby boy hanging on her arm.

The Trucks came on next and somehow got the beer-goggled crowd to finger-snap along to a song with the refrain “There’s a perv in the bushes.” Their set was short, sweet, and full of energy. Beautiful blond singers in fishnets never hurts a band.

Dan from the Tractor, Jason of the Presidents, several Stranger/Mercury folks, and Hannah and Brian from Seattle Weekly were all on hand. It was a nice homecoming feeling for a place I’ve only lived in for five weeks. There were kegs of Fat Tire flowing and I helped myself to a few cups; hence the drinkin’ n bloggin’.

Which brings me to my next move: electro-breaks maestro Elliot Lipp at Zero. Man this is a tough job.

RSS icon Comments


It's not really called Emo's, is it?

Posted by Fawkes | March 16, 2007 8:14 PM

Yep, it really is called Emo's. There's also a band called the Fuckemos. Cute, huh?

Posted by oye como va | March 16, 2007 10:50 PM

girl talk was really great!

Posted by Open House | March 16, 2007 11:57 PM

"Girl Talk launched into an ecstatic, hilarious set, mixing Clipse into Boston into Tag Team into Nirvana into Justin Timberlake."

This just makes my blood boil. Fuck DJs. When is this "art form" gonna die?

Posted by hang the dj | March 17, 2007 1:20 AM

These posts about SXSW make it sound about as interesting as an insurance salesman convention.

Posted by Some blonde chick still missing in Aruba. | March 17, 2007 1:56 AM

Z3wicxkel! youy've done a great job curating the stranger's music cage so far bu8t your freedom hating is over if you don't start having a clipse to amy winehouse ratuio of 5:4.

Posted by America. | March 18, 2007 3:02 AM

1) Big Red Sun is not 15 minutes outside of downtown Austin. Try 8 blocks.

2) That was not Rachel's "baby boy" hanging off her arm, he was the baby boy of the lead singer of Grand Champeen.

Posted by kaf | March 19, 2007 9:29 AM

hey Kaf, you beat me to it...yes, that was Channing's(from GC) little boy, Rachel is not a mother but is definitely a motherfucking amazing singer who blew everyone's minds with her new forray into torch-song balladry (or should that be "ballardry"?) including a shiver-inducing rendition of an old Neko Case number...

Hey Jonathan, thanks for coming to the party!

Posted by kwab | March 19, 2007 11:52 AM

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