Friday, March 23, 2007

SxSW 2007: The Aftermath

Aside from the black plague that swept Austin last week causing 99% of the music industry to get sick, I do have to say SXSW 2007 was amazing. I caught more good bands than bad and can’t help but think that the refreshing talent hitting the scene this year just might be what the music industry needs. Here are a few highs and lows:

The Levi’s/FADER Fort had the best daytime shows on their outdoor stage.

The Fratellis (who you probably know from Apple’s latest ipod commercial) played one hell of a well-received acoustic set, proving they’re versatile and anything but a one-trick pony. After watching The Caesars break onto the scene via an ipod commercial and then quickly disappear I was wondering if these guys would have the same fate but I don’t think so. If you are planning on hitting Coachella in April, make an effort to see them, or catch them on their current tour.

Amy Winehouse’s acoustic performance at the Fort quieted the drunken masses and had the boys up front with their cameras like little groupies, which was really hilarious. This girl is TALENTED. If you could take Billie Holiday and morph her into a tiny little white girl from London with retro/goth hair, 50’s inspired cat-eye make-up and two half sleeves then you would have Winehouse.

The highlight of her live performance was the acoustic rendition of “Rehab” off of her second album Back to Black, which earned her a Brit award across the pond last month and just dropped here in the states.

Georgia was well represented at the Fort with
The Whigs pulling off one of their best shows yet to a rather impressive crowd. I also caught local boys Ocha La Rocha, with front-man JT Hall from Variac filling in on drums, knocking back a few drinks before being asked to film part of a Levi’s commercial. Apparently somebody likes the way their pants fit.

Jamie T and Lily Allen caused everybody to bum-rush Stubb’s, thus making me stand in a 300 person line for half an hour before I realized that I didn’t really care and bailed.

I was a victim of the old bait and switch when I went to The Viper Room to see the lovely
Stars of Track and Field, who I caught last year on tour with Twilight Singers, and instead saw their replacement, The Shys.

These Cali boys sound like a weird mix between The Hives and something more Americana like Springsteen, with no kitsch and one of the most solid keys players I have seen in a while. Check out their track Call in the Calvary.

I caught 2.5 minutes of NY-based girl band
Looker before my group convinced me that their very existence was deteriorating my soul and forced me to leave. Upon my departure, there were 5 remaining people in the venue.

If you’re into main-stream
Warped Tour rock (or if you liked their last album), the boys in Anberlin played a sold out show at Spiro’s to a crowd that already seemed to know the words to their new single “Adelaide” off their February 2007 release, Cities. Despite total PA failure on their first 2 songs these guys were as tight as ever, with the entire crowd chanting their lyrics AFI-style. Any time people are this excited about a band, you know they have to be doing something right.

Har Mar Superstar took the stage late-night at Flamingo Cantina in his pink pants after notifying the crowd that he was “really wasted”. Between every single song he proceeded to tell the bartenders to bring him Long Island iced teas but nobody ever did. I caught him in the port-a-potty line the next day without a shirt, looking fairly hungover.

I missed
Mando Diao to see VietNam (Brooklyn, NY) at Burbon Rocks. These guys played songs off their self-titled album (that has been out since January) to a mostly older crowd. I am not a hippie, nor was I stoned, so I didn’t quite get it . . . but perhaps I will give them another shot sometime when their bass isn’t feeding back and drowning out everything else. They're on tour now with The Black Angels.

Do you remember that band
Travis? I bet Aqualung does too.

I caught both
Andy Zipf and Sondre Lerche at The 3rd Annual Paste Magazine Party. Lerche garnered the most attention with live renditions of tracks off his newly released album Phantom Punch. Atlanta’s The Futurists were in attendance all wearing their own band shirts because they ran out of clean clothes early on.

Speaking of The Futurists, I guess being on the road has done these youngsters some good. They had labels and photographers buzzing around during their performance at the ASCAP showcase at Dirty Dog. Catch them on the road in April with Lola Ray.

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