Thursday in Austin: SXSW Day 2
I had been looking forward to seeing Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down last April at the Orange Show, but it was not to be thanks to rain, so I was glad to finally catch her at the NPR party at the Parish. It was rather strange walking into a dark club at noon and being handed a PBR, but the low lighting must have tricked Thao into thinking it was a regular old night show, cause she sure rocked like it.
Next up was the Rhapsody party at Mohawk for Wavves. I’ve talked to a lot of people who saw them in Austin and the reviews have been mixed. A lot of people seem to prefer the record to the live show, but I really appreciated seeing the backbone of the songs without all the fuzz. If you like the recordings, Wavves is worth seeing, but I don’t expect the live performance will win over those who have not already heard them, though I doubt that was an issue in Austin.
Some bands’ on stage performance and demeanor can make them seem like they might be a blast to hang out with, while others’, not so much. The next two bands I saw were examples of both ends of the spectrum. School of Seven Bell’s dreamy pop tunes didn’t lead me to expect a joyous live experience, and although it does fit with the theme of the music, I was surprised at how distant the lead singer often looked. At least guitarist Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) seemed to have a little more fun.
The Wrens on the other hand seem to have the time of their lives each time they perform and play their hearts out like it could be their last show. Yes, they are older than most of the other bands at SXSW, but you’d never guess that based on the energy of their performance. Everyone in the packed tent seemed to agree as the Wrens brought forth the loudest cheers I heard all week.
After that I headed back to Mohawk for a few songs from Trail of Dead before going to Red Eyed Fly for Viva Voca, Loch Lomand, and another killer show by Port O’Brien.
Bounced around to a few other shows not worth mentioning, saw Tricky at FADER Fort, and then over to Club 1808 for Ponytail in probably the smallest space they have ever played. Stuck around for the Strange Boys, Crystal Antlers and then left to try to get into the Playboy party.
I’d heard plenty of rumors that Jane’s Addiction was the surprise guest but still wasn’t sure until I heard the opening notes of Three Days. It was great to finally see the original lineup and they appeared to be happy to be together again, or maybe just happy about the money they’ll be making on the NIN tour, who knows, but I’m glad I got in to see it.