Post Your SXSW Wrap Ups

Favorite band? Worst show? Lamest blogger? Best Gorilla vs Bear Show? Post all your comments, reviews, observations in this thread.

  • anne

    just want to thank donewaiting for telling me about all these sxsw shows. Beirut at the ACL studio was incredible and so were a lot of the other ones I attended.


  • Brother JB

    Best new discoveries (for me at least):

    Dallas Crane – Aussie rakwers with great songs and stage presence. Started off their showcase at Friends with a small crowd. Once passersby got a load of them, they swarmed in like bees. For good measure, they blew the roof offa the joint with a spot on cover of Television’s “Marquee Moon”

    The Brought Low – On their wonderful records, they sound like early Lynyrd Skynyrd. Live, they sound like early Black Sabbath covering early Lynyrd Skynyrd. Fuck. yeah.

    Vains of Jenna – Four tattooed Swedish freaks who worship at the altar of Guns & Roses, Hanoi Rocks and LA Guns. And the guitarist is a dead ringer, and I mean a dead ringer, for Duff Mckagen.

    Best blasts from the past:

    The Buzzcocks — Oh, hell yeah. No nostalgia trip here. Steve Diggle, in particular, was on fire, working the crowd like it was the 100 Club in 1977.

    The Hoodoo Gurus – At their Friday day show, they announced they would play their monster debut, Stoneage Romeos, straight through. And so they did. Wow — for a group better known for having a poppy side, they laid down big, big rawk.

    The Cynics – Garage revival band who turned little Antone’s Records into a sweatbox full of happy.

    Good ol’ Reliables:

    The Riverboat Gamblers — I’ll never tire of seeing these guys. The best part is watching first timers who, halfway through the first song, typically stand drooling with jaws dropped. By the second tune, they’re moshing and yelling along with the choruses.

    The Briefs — Like the early Damned, but even harder. Their show at Emo’s was punctuated by bloodied punks being hauled out of the pit every 190 minutes or so by security. And that’s the way it should be.

    Best Free Swag:

    the San Francisco day party at Cream Vintage where they gave out free beer, pizza and a goodie bag with a vibrator and other sex toys. Also gave out pre-rolled, fill-it-yourself blunts in plastic tubes (ganja not included) that are a true sign that American ingenuity is not dead. At least not when it comes to finding new ways to smoke weed.

    And finally, my food discovery:

    Angies Mexican Restaurant at 910 E. 7. Awesome locals joint that served the best — and I mean the best by a long, long way — corn tortillas I have ever tasted. Best SXSW breakfast you can have. And no line to get in.

  • anonymous

    The Dears “secret” show at the Arts and Crafts showcase on Friday night was one of the best things I saw all week.

  • Brother JB

    That should be “Their show at Emo’s was punctuated by bloodied punks being hauled out of the pit every 10 minutes or so by security.”

    the Briefs do not play 190 minute sets.

    Although that would be awesome.

  • dB

    Best three band sequence (for me): Hello Stranger > BIGBANG > The Ringers at The Apple Bar on Thursday night, care of The Viper Room.

  • The Girl Talk show Sturday at 1am was the best way to end SXSW ever! If you were there, you understand.

  • t

    -The Stooges killed everyone. Crowd walking stage diving insanity the whole time for almost an hr and 1/2.
    -The Presets short set was dope.
    -Shout Out Out Out Out(stole that showcase I thought.)
    -Rap group The Cool Kids killing everyone. Seriously best rap group I have seen live. I left El-P and stumbled into seeing them. It was rad.
    -Mew was good though they kept saying they were fucking up bothered me.
    -Bonde Do Role was ridiculously good.

  • Other bands that rocked my sweaty socks off:

    Tokyo Police Club
    Fujiya & Miyagi
    Octopus Project with Black Moth Super Rainbow
    Land of Talk
    Loney, Dear
    Foreign Islands
    The Saturday Knights
    Sloan (no surprise there)
    (can I just say that Girl Talk was awesome again?)

  • jeffro

    I second the girl talk show. I think it was the best last show I’ve ever had at an SXSW week

  • Phil

    Chris Otepka (fromTroubled Hubble)doing unplugged set, standing in the middle of the room
    KTU (w/members of King Crimson) from Finland

    Funky Nashville(terrible name, I know, but hey, they’re from Denmark)
    Pete Townsend’s acoustic version of “Drowned”, only 20 feet away from me
    Martha Wainwright “Bloody Mutherfucking Asshole” (twice!)

    Tom Morello(RAtM) followed by Andrew Bird: interview/performance for Minnesota public radio
    Apples in Stereo
    Donovan(!) doing Mellow Yellow, Hurdy Gurdy, AND Season of the Witch

    Big Boring Disappointment: Robyn Hitchcock/Peter Buck dud of a show

    Daniela Cotton covering AC/DC
    Johnette Napolitano acoustic show (Tommorrow, Wendy!)
    Waco Brothers closing SWSW

    Also GREAT Hot Freaks dayparties!
    oh, and Jandek- now i can say I saw him

  • chuy

    i am just happy i got to see every show i wanted to see with my wristband. i had no problem getting into any show. i did show up early to the Stubbs shows since i believed they were gonna stop letting people in specially for the good the bad and the queen and the stooges.

    best band: The Good The Bad and The Queen, but maybe thats just because im the biggest Blur/The Clash fan and i was just very amused to see Albarn and Simonon

    BEST performance: The Stooges blew me away. I was at the very front and Iggy Pop came toward my area like 3 times during the show, AMAZING!!

  • Fernando

    Wed – Holy Fuck at Beauty Bar
    Thurs – Shout Out out Out / Presets.
    Friday – MSRTKRFT day show was fun. DATAROCK = New Favorite Band.
    Sat – Deerhunter at Red 7 was great. The Guitarist kicked the bassist in the head and than handed the crowed a bottle of Makers Mark Whiskey.
    Dead Meadow at Jaime’s only sounded great if you were close. So if you were close you know how good it was. ANANVAN at Emos is by far one of the best shows I have seen in three years of SXSW.
    White Denim at Dirty Dog Killed it. Perfect way to end SXSW.

  • Jay

    The 300 or so people who set their beer down long enough to get into the Presbyterian Church on Satuday night witnessed something truly special. The setting for Tom Morello’s acoustic show was as poignant as it was ironic. One day, I will tell my grandchildren about his performance.

  • 42 bands 3 1/2 days…whew!

    thanks, done waiting for all the ridiculously good info…some faves (in backwards order):

    buzzcocks @ emos
    dirty projectors/white mice @ ms. beas
    jesu @ emos annex
    vashti bunyan @ the pres church
    lambchop (well, kurt wagner) @ habana annex
    the mai shi @ blender balcony
    postmarks @ blender bar
    rosebuds @ club deville
    charalambides @ mohawk
    peter and the wolf @ eternal
    beach house @ emos jr.
    tiny viruses @ emos IV

    much more good stuff…that’s just a few…thanks again!

  • dan

    mew at acl studios was fuckin amazing. so good.

  • Here’s the skinny on my soul-searching journey,

  • J Shep

    Thursday night at the Parish… the Hotel Cafe crew was awesome as usual with Matt from Aqualung blowing away the crowd. But to end the night with Slash, Perry Ferrel, Tom Morello, Alexi Murdoch and Les Claypool all on the same stage…I won’t forget that.

  • Holy Fuck at the Beauty Bar was probably the highlight for me.

  • Sonja

    I loved so many of the performance this year, especially…

    Scissors for Lefty @ Soho…their energy was so infectious, I felt happy a million times over!

    Sondre Lerche @Antones…he was beautiful and played even more beautiful music.

    And who can forget Brett Dennen….what a delite to hear!

  • lsz

    highlights for me:

    lily allen @ stubb’s (and her nme rants)
    brandi carlile @ directtv (beautiful)
    sondre lerche @ antone’s (and seeing him unable to get into his own show at the door before)
    hymns @ red fez (tiny club, so few witnesses, awesome tunes)
    paolo nutini @ stubb’s (first row center)

  • Ned

    anyone know who the fill-in band at the Ecstatic Peace showcase (replacing Monotract) was?

    3 guys, 3 chords, good sound. They killed me with a cover of Ramblin’ Rose. Not the best set of the week but worth finding out who they were.


    Kings of Leon tore it up something good all week,no surprises there.

  • settledownbrown

    – most jaw-dropping: Fucked Up featuring Keith Morris at the Mess with Texas Party.

    – favorite band I’d never seen/heard before: Ponytail at the Monitor showcase.

    – best swag: my free Sauconys. Thanks Team Clermont!

    – worst decision I made: leaving the Frenchkiss showcase early due to a horrible cold and then missing Les Savy Fav

  • local

    best unknown bands
    – parlor mob = led zeppelin meets mars volta vocals with straight up rock music.

    – eli “paperboy” reed and the true loves = white boy motown sound.

    biggest devastation
    – not getting into see beirut.

    most fun show
    – peaches at exodus

    – the rapture at la zona rosa

    best swag
    – hd radio alliance party = free 300 dollar hd radio + slammin’ mexican food and tons of drink tickets.

    absolute highlight
    – doing the robot on the tonight show with wayne coyne.

  • troy

    Thurston Moore played 40 minutes of improv noise with the Carters (Charalambides) at the Hideout – best surprise

    Les Savy Fav at Red Eyed Fly was predictably the best show I saw (closely followed by Boris twice, Vashti Bunyan and Jesu)

    Girl Talk was terrible.

  • troy

    Thurston Moore played 40 minutes of improv noise with the Carters (Charalambides) at the Hideout – best surprise

    Les Savy Fav at Red Eyed Fly was predictably the best show I saw (closely followed by Boris twice, Vashti Bunyan and Jesu)

    Girl Talk was terrible.

  • jess

    Lilly Allen owned Waterloo Records for 20 minutes. Short acoustic set (Smile, LDN, Littlest Things, and covers of The Kooks and Blondie). I’ve seen over 100 bands play there before, a few with capacity crowds, but never heard applause like this. (PS – she seemed not only sober, but humble as well.)

    Octopus Project/Black Moth Super Rainbow combining forces (and gear, my lord it took them 40 minutes to set up!) to perform their joint EP. Amazing. Seamless! They could have been doing this for years and it wouldn’t have gotten any better. We can only hope for a US tour.

    The River City Rapists reunion/Beasts of Bourbon show at Beerland on Sunday night, when most people considered the fest to already be over, was a nice end to the week+ of nonstop hipster BS. (You have a badge? Too bad. Get behind these people who are about to get in for $5.) A real punk band followed by a real rock band…imagine that.

    Other highllights: Girl Talk and 65daysofstatic (both playing the Octo P/BMSR showcase), Earl Greyhound, Rakim & Ghostface with that tight band, Gallows @ Fader, and heaviness from Earthless, Iota, and Zoroaster.

  • Austin Bob

    My Top Ten, in no particular order: KTU, Melvins, Jesu, Entrance, The Apes, Jandek, Meat Puppets, Hammers of Misfortune, Amon Tobin, Girl Talk.

    Single coolest moment: Holy Shit on the Lamar Ped Bridge at 4 AM Saturday morning. Proof that no matter how ridiculous the music industry gets, music will always win in the end.

  • From what I went to:

    Best entertainment show: Yuppie Pricks @ Calle 6
    Best day party: Found [Okkervil River/Walkmen] @ Bourbon Rocks
    Best sounding live song: Joy song by David Karsten Daniels in the Pres. Church
    Band I wished I could get into but still rocked from outside the gates: Cloud Cult

  • Gee and Fi

    Best new intro – Monsters are Waiting

    Highest energy day show – Thunderbirds are now!

    Old Fav – STOOGES forever.

    Biggest disappointment – K O L

  • John

    The Annuals were awesome, and I really wasn’t expecting it. Not being 21 blew.

    2 questions: Did anyone else think the Walkmen sucked? They were awesome at ACL 2005, but a huge letdown at SXSW. They seemed really bored, and even pissed off to be playing.

    Also, did anyone else see Kid Rock walking around? Or am I completely making that up?

  • jessica

    once again – this time i will post this in the correct comment box

    the vice party was pretty fuckin sweet until parts of the balcony railing broke and everyone was kicked out at 245am. free dewars and lonestar. the music was generally alright. although, the kids at the record table were having some technical difficulties. i suppose all in all it was a great afterparty considering there was a last minute venue change and supposed 6000 rsvp’s

  • Pooneh

    well, i’m probably just another one of those lame bloggers, but hey I made two MASSIVE blogs on all four of the music days..Check them out, I’ve got a shitload of pictures in them that I took as well….


  • Rizob

    Rumble Strips, Cloud Cult, Jets Overhead, Future of the Left, Bat for Lashes and Teenage Prayers were some of the best things I saw all week!

    Thanks so much for keeping this blog running. It is a great tool and I really look forward to it each year. Keep up the great work.

  • SXSEast

    Gossip, Les Savy Fav at Mess wiht Tx.

    The Screening at Jackalope

    p.s. What is the draw to Girl Talk? I love the album, but live, it was a guy playing his Ipod and pumping his fist in the air, it was atrocious, the worst live show I have ever seen

  • — For pics of bands, and stuff on the streets, visit here:
    — Having Pete Townshend give me a thumbs up after asking a question during his Q n A rocked. And I got a nice email afterwards..That was spectacular.(I’m a gimp for the first time doing SXSW after performing here and visiting 10 times.)
    — Bummed that Ian McKay, The Meat Puppets, and two other shows were playing UPstairs in places that had no elevators.
    — Sharing a cab, staying at the same hotel, and then seeing Mando Daio at Antone’s was pretty cool. (pics? you want pics? see above.
    — Had to review bands for the LV Weekly, so I missed a couple of Thursday sets, but I got to see The Pandas, and a couple of clubs in Austin I never saw before.
    — Loved the Canadian tent shows, and The Onion party was really wild, but I had so many invites I got lost at Bourbon Rocks where this band from Michigan, with, no lie, a heavy metal accordion player rocked the house.
    — Signed autographs for people who had photos from when I played in 2000, and 1992! (geezus I’m old)
    — Strangest act was Andy Pratt who was just before the goddess herself, Johnette Napolitano and YES I do have pics.
    — One of the nicest things said was the guy who sat at the table during my husband’s set, and said, “Oh he already has albums out.” But I said, he was looking for a new label, and the words..”I’m ready with a contract” blurted next pretty much caught me off guard as Mike was just into his second song. Wow. SXSW for ya. They’re still chatting about it.
    — Bic Runga telling the crowded Hilton Garden audience that her tiny frame wasn’t showing signs of pudge from pies, but she was pregant. And, “In the family way” was a new phrase to her.
    — Rickie Lee Jones on the DirecTV set, as I was literally on the edge of the stage. She’s an odd duck, but a great show.
    — Were there just a lot more Henry Rollins wannabe’s this year? Are they finally dropping their Eddie Vedder aspirations?
    — Best new finds The Scanners, The Objex, Kathy Renker(?), Mando Diao, Mink (new to me), and there was a great percussion band that was part parliament and part blue man group playing at Trinity and 4th on Thursday…from San Antonio.. Who was that? Anyone?
    Until next year, time to take a long needed nap.

  • erin

    Sonja, I think we met at SfL’s Soho’s show. In fact, I think I’ve got video of you turning to me and mouthing, “oh my god” while Bryan Garza sexed up the barrier in front of you.

    Best surprises for me: Mumm-Ra, who before I was a bit meh about, were fucking amazing. Saw The Needles on Saturday night and fell head over hells in love with them – love, love, love. That whole showcase was pretty good- some norwegians called Evan Seleven were really fun.

    Mika was freaking fabulous – I feel fabulous just having seen him. Amy Winehouse was great like I knew she would be – I managed to catch her La Zona Rosa set where she seemed slightly less drunk than I think she was the rest of the week.

    I was prepared to be let down by the Fratellis, because I love them so much, but the acoustic sets I saw were excellent, and they were lovely guys besides. Came right up to us after their radio spot at Buffalo Billiards to thank us for coming – even though we’d just wandered in off the street during the second to last song.

    The Sunshine Underground (at Karma on Thursday) managed to get me back on my feet although I seriously wanted a nap, they were fabulous.

    And the Dance Party girls at Wired, whose job is to “Pitch Tents and Start Fires” – loved them.

  • Kolo Toure

    Venue w. Best Acoustics: ACL studios
    Perfect sound while attending great sets by The Stooges, Okkervil River, and Beirut.

    Most under appreciated: The Young Knives
    (played incredible sets at Club DeVille’s, Waterloo, and of all places Fado’s). If this trio was from brooklyn, they’d be charting.

    Amazing= The Good, the bad, and the Queen.
    Shit= Razorlight

    Best Soundtrack for Hell: Jandek @ Central Presbyterian Church

    Other Notables:
    Amy Winehouse @LZR
    Beirut @ Emo’s
    Bloc Party @ Stubbs
    The Walkmen @ Room 710

  • Tom

    Alpha Rev – – Spill Martini Bar
    The Buzzcocks – Spin Magazine Party

    Those were the main two!

  • SFL – but did Bryan come over and dance with you, he did with me at Spiros. Love them.
    Loved the pigeon detectives, god knows when we will get to see them over here again and the blood arm being astounding when I was fit to drop after the pigeons. Mumm-ra being ace both times they played and being invited onto their stage to end SXSW. The Holloways being both ace and really nice folks. The wombats being amazing and again so happy to see folks getting into their music.
    I listed all the bands on my blog but with 44 bands 52 performances you need some memory aid!

  • Alex

    Wow, I thought Jandek was rubbish. Beirut at Emo’s made my SXSW though, as did accidentally seeing Dark Meat and Loney Dear who were both amazing. Really enjoyed Kiss Kiss at Redrum too. I also enjoyed running into The Needles (the Scottish ones) about four hundred times but never once seeing them play live.

  • Alex

    Oh yeah, and I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun without donewaiting’s help. Thanks folks.

  • sfordinarygirl


    I think we met at the Spiro’s showcase. I was writing a story and interviewed you. I’ve got some video cilps from the Camel Lounge show i can send if you want of SFL. they were really good weren’t they? i just love their energy.

    I was surprised by Hello, Stranger, the New Violators and Mando Diao. All quite talented bands. I liked Midnight Movies and Stars of Track & Field. Matt & Kim were hillarious. Saw them at Brooklyn Vegan and Onion party and Matt was teasing Kim for duct taping her shirt because her boobs kept showing when she was drumming. I loved Mew. I saw them open for Bloc Party but they have this hypnotic presence live. And I love the prog rock/shoegazey stuff. i also saw presidents of the united states of america and dirty on purpose at maggie mae’s.

  • sfgal

    did anyone see the Japanese band playing in the streets? there was a lady who was blowing fire or something …

  • Sonja

    Hey Erin! I remember you, sorry if I messed up your video of Bryan! What a babe he is. Didn’t get to catch them in Dallas, yesterday. Bummed about that.

    The Young Knives….I agree w/ the underrating. I saw them last year and this, I think they’re fabulous and so fun to watch. Oh, and I had a nice chat w/ Brett from Spoon during The Faint show…that was one of my highlights.

  • sfordinarygirl sounds good add a comment to my blog and we can set up email.

  • excited

    Personal highlights:

    * Architecture in Helsinki, Earl Greyhound, Hello, Stranger and Loney, Dear at the Austinist/Gothamist/GvB party
    * Beirut at Emo’s and Lilly Allen at Stubb’s
    * Alpha Rev, The Boggs and Monsters are Waiting at the Soundcheck Magazine party
    * The Dears and Bloc Party at Stubb’s (watching all the kids in hoodies get blown away by The Dears)
    * Maldroid at SFXSXSW
    * The Early Years, Asobi Seksu and Menomena at the Hot Freaks party

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  • bonghitwillie

    i only spent $3 on shows (imperial teen and black lips).
    meat puppets at the fort (better than next day)
    punk rock show on the lamar pedestrian overpass – big crowd for 2am. crowd and beer flying everywhere.
    last night. listening to iggy behind stubbs, walked over and caught most of black angels at mohawk (thru the fence)and at 2:30am lee scratch perry (got in thru back door).
    blacks angels and spindrift were great.
    enchanted forrest show on wednesday.
    stooges at waterloo. staff opened the door and iggy played to the crowd outside. iggy is a little guy. then off to the saints.
    every year sxsw is great. this yr i got back at 3-4am every night and only got 4 hrs of sleep each night.

  • Best Acts
    Canada @ IODA showcase in Emo’s tent,
    Ghostland Observatory @ ACL studios
    Malajube @ Candian Blast in Brush Square Tent
    Beirut @Emo’s
    Broken West @ Antone’s

    Peter Bjorn & John/The Young Knives@ The Current afternoon party @ Buffalo Billiards
    Okkervil River/The Walkmen @ Found Party in Bourbon Rocks
    The Jyrojets @ BD Rileys
    Ghostland Observatory again at La Zona Rosa

    Cold War Kids @ Paste Party in Maggie Mae’s
    Tokyo Police Club @ Red Eyed Fly
    Beirut (again) @ ACL
    Rock Plaza Central @ The Dirty Dog
    Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club @ BD Riley’s

    The Polyphonic Spree @ Mean Eyed Cat ( all 19 of them sqeezed on to the tiny stage)
    The Needles @ Lamberts
    Dead Meadow @ Jaime’s Spanish Village
    Midlake @ Buffalo Billiards

    Biggest Disappointment were The Ponys at Emo’s on FRiday afternoon, terrible sound.
    But most of the other forty acts that I saw were pretty good too.
    Best day party was definitely Found Magazines at Buffalo Billiards – Tally Hall, Great Lake Myth Society, Okkervil River & The Walkmen – stunning.
    Best venue- still love the Red Eyed Fly and also the outdoor mini stage at Mean Eyed Cat.
    Best single song heard – Daniel Johnston doing Band On The Run.
    Best fun not related to music, photographing the best tattoos seen at SXSW.
    See all the photos and other pictures and reviews on my blog.
    Best guide to the whole shebang – Donewaiting – cheers.

  • SFgal “did anyone see the Japanese band playing in the streets? there was a lady who was blowing fire or something …”

    It was CHO Sister Brothers probably – great weren’t they??

  • dave-tx

    Best bands I saw during SXSW, in no order:
    Pelican, Green Milk From the Planet Orange, owkmj, Mothercoat, Lions in the Street, The Big Sleep

    Best day party:
    Fuck By Fuck You (Amazing lineup – did anyone else see Monotonix? WOW!)

    Best showcase:
    The Hideout, Wednesday March 14th.

    Biggest pleasant surprise:
    Simple Kid

    Biggest remaining question:
    Why do so many heavy metal bands have lead singers who can’t?

  • Jane:

    “SFL – but did Bryan come over and dance with you, he did with me at Spiros. Love them.”

    No, he tried to make out with me instead. It was infinitely more frightening, let me assure you.

    Oh, forgot some: Locksley, whose album I’ve had since last summer, were really fun. Even the old folks at Threadgills were getting into them.

    Swan Island were just . . . scary. They scared me. Like, deep down in my core, there was a tiny-Erin, and she was huddling under a blanket and clutching a stuffed bear. Not even sure what prompted the fear, but it might have had to do with the strange dancing.

    Does anyone know who was playing in the Pecan St. Cafe courtyard on Wednesday night? I walked by and they were tearing the place up, so I stopped for a few minutes. Lots of energy, but I never got their name.

    Sonja, here’s the video, if you’re interested: (Scissors for Lefty at Soho’s)

  • Hi Erin, sounds like Bryan from SFL was on top form, was that his attempt on video during Private Hotcha. He always is so OTT to that one.
    Did you manage to catch the Holloways too? As my blog shows we saw them play twice and kept bumping into them at various brit shows. The wombats had just been on tour with them so when we mentioned we were missing the wombat 6 music show to be over at the Karma lounge the lads made sure they ended their night with their mates showcase.

  • Jane, nah, it was the next day at a party. Looks like we were at the same Holloways set (after which I annoyed my friend with repeated, “Mr. Soundman, I’m not trying to be a tit, but . . .” anytime I wanted something) – actually, I think we may have met? Were you the girl from Boston who used to live in England that I was standing next to? And then later I saw you at GC.WG.F’s cancelled DirectTV show? That’s a lot of questions. :)

    Oh, yeah, and The Wombats were fucking spectacular live, I agree. Did anyone catch Spod, by any chance? My friend saw them while I was at Fujiya & Miyagi (er, sleeping on the couches. I’d had a lot of beer.) and said that she could have just quit sxsw right then, because she was never going to see anything that randomly fantastic again. Apparantly there was a SECKS (sic) PARTY and a lot of humping of various things and people.

  • Jane

    that was me, you were at the Karma show, were you also at the Emos show?
    The cancelled show pissed me off no end- I think he just didnt want to play. We went and caught my latest novel instead who were pretty good.
    You were standing next to my husband Peter? Yeah I think I remember you- small world!

  • John Rucker

    My First SXSW
    By John Rucker
    (written for

    Music is like sex with your wife. You’ll never forget the first time. Sometimes it’s out of this world amazing, sometimes it’s not, but it’s never bad and it’s always appreciated. Being a SXSW virgin, I had heard it was great. Friends told me once I tried it I would hunger for more, that after it was over I would go through post SXSW depression. I heard about all that SXSW had to offer, the film festival, the interactive conference, the great speakers and panel discussions, but I know what I want. I want music. Lot’s of music. I want music morning, noon and night. Fast music, slow music, crazy music, sloppy music, romantic music, violent music, playful music, I like it all. Following weeks of worrying if it was all it’s cracked up to be, nights of wondering if I’d be able to really experience all it had to offer, I can now say, SXSW ROCKS!

    I arrived in downtown Austin at noon on Wednesday, March 14. As soon as I stepped out of my car, I could feel the music. You know what I mean, like a south Austin low rider with killer subs pulling up next to you at a stop sign. I quickly checked in, got my badge and crashed a day party in an old converted school building. I just missed a band called Kenna and grabbed a free beer and red bull while the next band set up. Next band is FOALS ***** from Liverpool. From the first pulsing, funky bass line, the angular guitar started in and the dance had begun. What a great sound. It was like seeing Gang of Four when they first started out. These kids looked tired and pissed off. Their monitors wouldn’t work and their electronic moog was only in and out of the mix. Watching them channel their frustration into their performance was amazing. This is the best punk funk I’ve heard in years. Next up was David Vandervelde *** who played a safer straight ahead rock set. Hot Club De Paris *** turned in a short set with their Liverpool humor and great harmonies. The Boggs ** were back to basics rock with a pinch of bluegrass, folk, blues and country, a nice mix.

    Four hours, four bands and now the night begins. I have no itinerary; just catch as much music as I can. I wouldn’t recommend it because my 8:00 PM show, Seoul Electric Band from South Korea *, was pretty bad. I did enjoy watching our visiting Korean fans take pictures of each other, using the band as a back drop. At 8:30, downstairs in the same club The Dirty Skirts from South Africa put the music train back on track. With a top of the charts hit in South Africa, The Dirty Skirts **** wear their 80’s new wave influences on their sleeve. Their high energy pop punk and energetic performance set them apart. Next up was Monsters are Waiting **** and they tore through a mesmerizing set that brought the Pixies to mind.

    My only planned show for day 1 was Hugh Cornwell. **** The original guitarist, singer and main songwriter for The Stranglers looked dapper in his cool grey suit. With an acoustic guitar he mesmerized his fans, many, including myself who saw him 30 years ago at Club Foot in Austin. His set included classics like No More Hero’s, Nice & Sleazy, Duchess, Golden Brown, Always the Sun and Goodbye Toulouse. Who would believe 30 years later, the punk attitude of Hanging Around, had morphed into a friendly campfire style sing-a-long song. But, we loved it. Newer songs of his forthcoming album, sounded great. New songs, Do Right by You, and 24/7 with its clever Bob Dylan theme only confirmed that Hugh still has something to say. Next was The Bravery ** at Stubbs at 1:00 AM. I lasted 3 songs. Does a lot of the pop punk sound the same? The huge crowd didn’t seem to mind, but I did. At Maggie Mays Club, The Looker * from NYC sounded too much like Josie and the Pussycats. I caught the last two songs of The Wombats ** from Liverpool, UK. Another pop punk band with nothing new to say to these ears. I needed something different and found it. Jarbarvy***** may be the biggest surprise find for me this year. Austin based, I caught half of their 2 hour set at a non SXSW event that blew me away. I’m a sucker for talent and this 6 piece (missing one guitar player due to his day job), literally had it all. Soulful sax, virtuoso guitar, funky bass and great songs. Their sound ranged from Dave Matthews jam to John Coltrane jazz. Their version of Stevie Wonders, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” with extended solo’s and screaming horns exemplified why they are listed in the Austin Chronicles top 10 bands for 2006 in the “other” category. I’ll be making a trip back to Austin to see Jarbarvy again, soon!

    On my way to my car I heard music coming from a basement club and stepped in. Vehicular ***, an Austin rap act, was a nice surprise. Can you picture Pee Wee Herman spitting out words faster than a pissed off women on speed? Well, this guy could rap and the small group of fans kept the grove going until 2:30 AM.

    My first day and night at SXSW left me hungering for more variety. I became determined to find it and on day two I did. Working at the convention center during the day, manning the club.kingsnake booth, was priority number one, but I was able to catch Ozamatli ***** at SXSW live, where they were being filmed for the live pay-per-view of SXSW. This performance was one of the highlights of my week. Their soup of sounds, from Rock to Salsa to Mariachi to New Wave was amazing. They put on a tremendous show. Young Love *** from NYC via Austin played a pay-per-view set later in the day. Dan Keyes, formally of Austin band Recover, sang to the crowd, “all you have to do is dance, dance, dance.” I predict this band will break out. Their sound is a very ear and feet moving friendly mix of upbeat pop/rock/disco made for radio. If I owned a modern dance club these guys would be perfect to get the party started.

    As the sun set, Canadian night at Maggie Mays featured Karawa **** from Montreal. This may be the north country’s answer to Radiohead. Sung in French, the music needed no interpretation. Creatures ****, also from Montreal was a blast. I felt like I’d been transported back to 1983 and the B-52’s were playing with Talking Heads. Two sassy female singers on bass and keyboards were only missing the bouffant hairstyles. Fun, Fun, Fun! NOMO *** from Ann Arbor, MI played a mash up of world beats with a big band featuring 17 musicians — including a four-piece percussion section featuring a Ghanaian master drummer, a six-piece horn section and a collection of music students and indie rockers — you’re inviting eclecticism. Nomo got the grove started and never let up, finishing by walking into the middle of the audience for a drum and voice sing/dance along. From Denmark, Moi Caprice **, played to a small crowd for Nordic Night at Uncle Flirt’s Loft. The passion seemed to be missing for this U2 meets Peter Murphy sound a like. They had the look down to the skinny ties but the mix was way too loud. Tita Lima ***** from Sao Paulo Brazil was on at the “All Music is World Music” show at Visions, a converted Hip Hop club. Tita mesmerized the crowd with her mix of Samba, Bosso Nova, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Dub. Her excellent band kept the grove going while everyone moved to the music. Talking to Tita after the show, she seemed confused by my t-shirt. I’d forgotten I was still wearing my club.kingsnake t-shirt with “my snake is bigger than your snake” on the front. After making my big snake impression on Tita and her band, we checked out the next artist, MIS or Mexican Institute of Sound **. I think MIS is catchier. This two turntable electronic duo is popular in the Mexico music underground, after a two songs I decided to stay out of the Mexico City underground.

    The first two days have been amazing, but for Saturday we are going to try something different. From 3:00AM until 4:30 AM we downloaded 54 songs from 54 bands playing Saturday night. We rated them one to five stars and decided to see all the 5 and 4 star bands we could.

    Coming tomorrow (or next week) – Two guys on a music mission achieve musical nirvana on the last 2 days of SXSW 2007.

  • Sonja

    Erin, thanks for sharing the sfl vid. Memories….What fun we had!

  • barrett

    Someone please put a fucking bullet in Mickey Avalon’s head. I can’t believe Ghostface and Rakim had to share the stage with that skagged out yiddish joke.

  • Merkin Muffley

    I promised exclusivity to another website.

  • ultra_absorbent

    I didn’t get to see a lot of new acts this year but I got to see just about every band I wanted to, including:

    shitdisco @ the beauty bar patio
    lo-fi-fnk @ the beauty bar patio
    the presets @ the beauty bar patio

    the faint @ eternal (front row)
    the meat puppets @ emo’s
    lily allen @ waterloo records (she really is that cute)
    busdriver @waterloo records (best set ever!!!)

    the futurists @ the dirty dog (I was really impressed by these guys)
    kid koala & amon tobin @ parish (blew me away)
    Oreskaband @ Elysium (japanese girls are fun)

    plus I got to meet James Iha. And I stood next to Todd and Orenda Fink for about 10 minutes before The Faint played at Eternal. Overall, not a bad week.

  • hey gang. the article I wrote for the las vegas weekly is up on their website. shredded to bits, of course. (you can read the full article on my blog)



  • All my reviews and photos are now up:

  • al

    Check out this web site dedicated to SXSW:

    My picks are there as well as others, pictures, SXSW tatoo contest, others.

    Best overall: Beruit (at Emo’s, but also very good a ACL KEXP show)

    Biggest surprise: Dead Meadow

    Best new discovery: Fratellis at Filter Party

    and so much more…. FRE!

  • Paula

    Rapture and Cold War Kids at La Zona Rosa
    Lily Allen at Stubbs
    Munn Ra at … ?
    Automatic at Emo´s
    The Walkmen at Room 710
    Bloc Party at Stubbs
    Data Rock at Antone´s