No panels today because there wasn’t much to merit any of them. Or maybe I’d just had enough. At this point of fatigue and indie-rock overload, I think I’m absorbing the rock n’roll “fuck you” attitude via some sort of osmosis. A good thing, I think you’ll agree.
The Acorn was one of about 10 shows I would’ve completely missed if I hadn’t been glued to Twitter all week. Thanks, twitterers! A playful mix of rock, folk with fabulous rhythmic interplay, I’d heard the Acorn record but didn’t realize they were playing. A great way to start the day. Sadly, it was also a great time to start drinking – more on that later.
White Rabbits were, sadly, indie by numbers. So much good things said, so it’s disappointing they’ve so little to say for themselves.
BUT, the act on right after them, Lykke Li, were great! Prior to the show, the only notable thing I’d heard was that they were Swedish and no one really knew how to pronounce their name. We hoped they’d pronounce it from the stage (kindof like when you can’t remember someone’s name and you continue the conversation hoping they’ll drop it) Anyway, the lady fronting the band was superb, sweet and the music was unlike anything at the festival I’d heard – which is saying something.
It was Jason’s idea to go to see Duffy. Why did I trust his judgement? Well, he’d recommeded both Lykke Li AND Jesca Hoop (still one of the highlights of SXSW for me) The best word to describe Duffy? Since she’s Welsh, I’ll use TRIPE. I couldn’t believe the venerable SXSW crowd didn’t storm the stage and start de-limbing the pseudo-crooner and her label assembled cronies she calls a band. It made me mad. ANGRY, I tell you.
So, I left sans entourage to see Sean Hayes at the SF-SXSW showcase. I lived in San Francisco for 6 years and had yet to see the SF instituion that is Mr. Hayes. I bumped into Paul Schreiber (still amazing I can bump into people at a fest with 20,000+ people) who wittily quoted Mae West “Marriage is an institution. I just don’t think I’m ready for an institution”. Oh, and congrats to the folks at TalkingHouse (SF represent!) records for putting on a swell showcase yesterday!
Another twitter tip (this time from Pandora’s Michael Zapruder) led me to Emo’s Annex for Philly’s The Teeth. A little too quirky for their own good, they brought a lively stage show but no songs. Pity.
I’ve been unwilling to walk long distances over the last day or two because of the state of my feet. It’d take quite a band to get me marching the sort of distance that I endured to see El-P on Tuesday. Thankfully, Oakland, CA’s WHY? were just that band. Frontman Paul is a graduate from the Subtle school of freaked-out hip-hop, and their first album was better than great. The show was astonishing.
And so, my final show of SXSW was upon me. It was a sad moment, but my meloncholia didn’t last long because I’d picked White Denim as a closer to this 4 day orgy of live music. It’s probably a little silly to say I’d saved the best for last, but I REALLY did. There was nothing I’d seen all week that was better than the 40 minutes of pure energetic, inventive and raucous music White Denim subjected me to (video here). If the Pixies were 20 years younger and these two bands went head to head, White Denim would certainly give them a run for their money. You’d be mad to miss the chance to see a band like this – they’re a group that people will be talking about for years to come.
So that was my first SXSW. I learned a lot…I’m planning on a recap, but right now I need to sleep. On the floor. In the airport.