Well I woke up kinda late again...Its just the way it goes out here when free beers are being consumed and your hotel is 4 miles outta town.
I got into Austin around 1:30 and headed straight to our party with our friends from Everloving Records and LA Record. The event was being held at Design Within Reach, which makes for one of the most unique venues here at SXSW. Nothing like having rock bands sprawled out amongst super expensive modern furniture and a free beer bar for attendees. Somehow it works though.
I met up with Jack and Max who shoot videos under the OnTheRecord moniker. You should know them by know as they do all the in-store and around-the-store videos for Origami. The guys were getting set-up to document the event and do interviews with some of the bands which you will get to see very soon.
The first band up was Light Pollution who are on Carpark. The band was very loud and the sound guy seemed to be having a day where he didn't care too much about dialing in the levels. It was unfortunate because I could tell the songs were there, but it was coming across more like noise, and I don't think these guys were intending to sound like a noise outfit. It's too bad really when these bands travel all the way out here, most of them on their own dime, play a gazillion shows, to only have the sound guy fuck em over. Note to bands: If you are making the trek out here, spend the extra $500 and bring your own sound guy, it will pay dividends!
Next up was Herman Dune, a band I have never had the opportunity to check out, so I was pretty excited. They are a two-piece from France that showcase inventive drumming over feedback strewn Neil Young-ish guitars and deep toned folkish vocals. Right up my alley. They sounded really great and will definitely pick-up their music when I get back home. As they laid into the 3rd verse of their 3rd song, the amateur sound guy walks to the back and taps on the drummers shoulder. The drummer, stunned, leans back as said sound guy whispers in his ear. Then the sound guy hops on stage behind the guitarist/vocalist and waits for him to stop singing. As he pulls away from the mic launching into a guitar riff, the sound guy taps on his shoulder and goes "You've got 5 minutes" WTF!? The band, pissed off and rightly so, stop playing mid song and throw their equipment shouting "Fuck This!" I don't blame them. I have never seen that ever. At least wait til the song is over. I was bummed. I only got to hear 2 and 3/4 songs, but it was worth it.
After that, I decided to make a run across town to see OMD at Stubb's. I was 10 minutes late :( It was my first fail of the week. Damn! I grabbed a hot dog and made my way back to our party to see one of my favorite SoCal bands, The Growlers.
The Growlers always bring a good vibe with their stone-y, surf rock. It's always a ton of fun and feels like you are all gettin' high in some friend of a friend's backyard party. It's so inclusive which I feel is so rare in these days of live indie rock music. It's inclusive in the sense of how those old hardcore shows were when everyone was screaming along and sweating all over each other. Only know its way slowed down and everyone's got a little dance goin'. It's so refreshing.
Once they were done, it was time to get dinner with our friend Lio, who co-owns Kanine Records with his wife Kay (who had to stay back in New York because she is like 7 1/2 months pregnant). Lio is really good people. He's extremely generous and fun and supportive. Also attending dinner was We Are Country Mice. A great band on Lio and Kay's label who had also played at OV a few months back. They have a new album coming out in June which you need to look out for. These guys are great.
Lio & Me
After dinner, I got in touch with my buddy Bekah Zietz at Sub Pop. Her and I had been trying to meet up for the past couple days and couldn't seem to get it together. She was able to sneak me in to the Sub Pop showcase which enabled me to share some beers with the Sub Pop crew and catch an awesome set from....OBITS! Fuck yes!
Obits is Rick Froberg's (Pitchfork/Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes) latest band who put out their debut record about a year and half ago. That record made my top 10 that year. Pretty much anything Rick does, I drool over. The dude just flows creative energy. you see so many 22 year old kids making it big on blogs these days when they can barely play their instruments and think they are hot shit. Those kids need to go see 3 guys play in the next year to get a little lesson: Neil Young, Thurston Moore, and Rick Froberg. These dudes all kick so much ass and give it their all each and every night. There's no ego when they are on stage, it's just pure passion for what they do. Obits were just that last night. Needless to say I was very sweaty after they were done.
Rick Froberg of Obits
Papercuts were up next. I really hadn't heard too much from them. I've heard their singles, but had yet to plug in the albums. Lots of people come into the shop to buy their albums, so I was pretty excited to hear what they had to offer. It was quite a 180 from Obits and it took me a couple songs to get into it. But once I was locked in, I was bobbing my head and enjoying their laid-back San Francisco reverb driven dream pop.
I was starting to fade pretty quickly from all the Tex Mex I had earlier so decided that Dum Dum Girls would be my last stop on the night. I've seen the girls quite a few times and if you've followed us for awhile, it's no secret that I'm a fan of what Kristen "Dee Dee" does. The real focus live for me however is Sandy Vu. Sandy is one of the sickest drummers live period. With the type of music the Dum Dum Girls make it would be very easy for any drummer to just lay back in the pocket and play simple beats. Not Sandy, she approaches the kit as if she were in some band like the Buzzcocks. She hits so hard, and really brings the energy, which was the perfect antidote to get me to flag down a cab and retire for the night.
Sandy Vu of Dum Dum Girls
Thanks Bekah for sneaking us in! Thanks Alex Makabali for the photos!