SXSW Day 3 – Music

A bit of a lighter day, music wise, yesterday. I think I’m getting the hang of this thing – I’m still missing bands that I want to see, but handily, they usually have another showcase later in the week.

We begin at the NIMIC showcase. The place was PACKED for the Norn Iron lineup (yay!) and Oppenheimer blew the roof off, also showcasing their new 4-piece lineup for the first time (including Angie on keys/vocals and Hornby on guitar). The new material is cracker. I checked out a couple of tracks from The Answer and caught up with a few old friends before heading for the Music, Ubiquity and Media panel. As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a good part of the evening discussing the future of music at dinner.

When I did finally get to the music it was, as always, hit and miss. But following the “3-song rule” ruthlessly paid dividends (if you’re not into a band after 3 songs, leave and go someplace else). As always, the top shows start the list, today a tie for the top spot:

60 Watt Kid – Maggie Mae’s Gibson room has become my little hideout fromt he madness of 6th St. It’s never overcrowded, has cold beer and good bands. It’s around the corner from the main venue and just feels like a wee secret place. This was Absolutely Kosher’s night – 60 Watt Kid and Sybris (below) were both highlights. Animal Collective-esque madness+leadsinger who can robot = highly good time.

Sybris – Back to Maggie Mae’s Gibson room for an intense run in with Absolutely Kosher’s Sybris. Indie rock with teeth and a passion. Half way through one song, a short beardy man jumped on stage to perform a brief death-metal growling accompaniment to the song – the band members seemed surprised but obviously recognized him so just laughed it off. At the end the same guy was handing out samplers – turns out he’s the A&R head at AbKosh who’d signed Sybris!

Statues of Fire – This was a pick I made after hearing half-an-MP3. A poor man’s The Answer, it was a very “what was I thinking?” moment. I couldn’t even be arsed to find a link to the band.

MGMT – Yes, “time to pretend” is an amazing single and is every twenty-something, iPhone toting office workers wet dream. But the live show was too loud so all subtlety was lost and the crowd was so TRYING to like them but were just bored. Despite the massive crowd and line, it was 3 songs and out for MGMT.

These United States – Recently signed to the wonderful What Are Records?, TUS’s record was an instant hit around the Penny offices when we first heard it. Americana-folk with a razor’s edge, the show was understated and wonderful. They’ve been invited to play Glastonbury this year, so can’t wait to see what their UK tour lines up like.

Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies was my fave record of 2006 and I was very excited to see Dan Bejar (of New Pornographers fame) perform. Wordy rock with a Dylan-esque streak, it just didn’t translate well on stage. The performers all seemed pissed off to be there and not very interested in even staying in tune. So, with heavy heart, it was 3 songs and done.


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