Huw's musings from SXSW - Day 4
Maybe it's a sign of the times, but an essential trip to Waterloo Records in Austin, about ten minutes away from the music venues, isn't as fruitful as it has been in previous years. The buzzy bands (at least the ones I've heard of and seen - there really is so much going on here) are so fresh and new that online or live are the only ways to hear them. Having an actual record in a shop isn't as necessary this early on in a band's story. Still, I did purchase an album by Phantogram, one of the bands I've been told were great out here but who I didn't get to see live.
Over at the Convention Centre, where you collect your passes at the beginning of the festival, and watch talks about music, I see the end of The Middle East's set. They finish on Blood, a massive song that you might have heard on Radio 1, and although the environment is weird (a Convention Centre hardly sounds rock 'n' roll, does it?) their majestic Arcade Fire vibe sounds great. Hear them on the show on Wednesday night, 9pm.
I meet up with Bethan Elfyn to get her tips from the past four days in the middle of a room full of about two thousand guitars. Craziness. In the room next door, there's a poster exhibition called Flatstock. Taking pride in posters for gigs, no matter how big or small, has been part of American culture for many years and these exhibitions/trade stalls are incredible. Seeing hand printed, woodcut, multi-colour posters for your favourite bands is a wonderful sight.
The Heaviest Band of the Week award goes to Trash Talk. From Sacramento in California, their hardcore, short, sharp songs put the actual fear into me. I stand open-mouthed at the sporadic stage invasions, crowd surfing and stage diving from amps, ending with bodies on the floor.
This isn't cartoon, fake or forced punk; this is proper scary stuff. They're on tour with Rolo Tomassi back home soon. Brilliant.
To cool things down, I check out the excellent Wave Pictures from London, who charm the audience at the Wichita and Moshi Moshi gig. Wichita are celebrating ten years of putting out ace music this year, so they have a lot to be happy about.
Saturday turns out to be really, really cold; weirdly cold for Austin, as everyone tells me. It's time to get bouncing. Where better than at the Submerged venue, where it's the New Orleans Bounce night. Hip-hop legend Wild Wayne is hosting, and I catch huge sets by MCs Ms. Tee and Magnolia Shorty, whose filthy lyrics and chopped-up beats are awesome.
Over on 6th Street, Alabama's YelaWolf doesn't do it for me with a rather formulaic (but undoubtedly talented) rapping style. Similarly, Best Coast are a band from Los Angeles who take a well-worn style and don't really do enough to add anything to it.
Norway's Casiokids, meanwhile, know how to write a jump up party track better than anyone. I think Fot I Hos might be one of my favourite songs of all time, you know. And Dam Funk might well be the new Prince.
To end the night, I go and see another Los Angeles musician, Daedelus, who is a total mash-up of brilliance. His music defies genres and pigeonholes and his live show's a total treat thanks to his tireless energy. No two shows are the same.
More posts from SXSW 2010: