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South by South West: Austin, Texas 12-16 March 2008

SXSW - Music News - In the thick of it…

  • Matt Everitt - 6 Music News
  • 15 Mar 08, 09:28 PM

Its like the last days of Rome out there. Only with more Lite beer. Last night that South by South West really started to live up to it’s name as ‘a festival’.

In a good way (streets flooded with people from all over the world, music everywhere and an air of excitement and lawlessness in the air) and also a slightly worrying way (everyone's smashed by lunchtime, there’s crusties playing interminably bad psych-rock on street corners and there’s an air of hot dogs and vomit in the air).

So what did you see last night Matt? Well, I’m glad you asked. A real mixed bag last night. Kicked this off at the Stubbs Barbeque with The Ting Tings. Despite technical difficulties (melted sequencers) caused by the excessive heat, they played a stormer. A little uptight and nervous to start with, but the show was a triumph.

Also checked out Santogold. Who, as far as I’m concerned is proper skill and ace, but she failed to set the world alight. Too many slow songs for a festival set methinks. But don’t let that put you off checking her music out.

We watched MGMT again (good, but not the revelatory prog rock epiphany they were at the BBC Introducing night) before witnessing The Cribs in full Cribs mode (shambolic playing with no regard for personal safety but ace nonetheless).

After those good - but slightly predictable - shows, things got a bit more random, in a 'lets-just-have-a-few-beers-and-wander-into-random-venues-kinda' way. And the results were thus:

Bon Iver - Lovely folky acoustic stuff - With a beard.

Fleet Foxes - Gorgeous Crosby Stills & Nash outfit featuring mandolins and all manner of vocal harmony loveliness - With beards.

Old Time Relijun - Incredible mix of psychopathically loud Talking Heads b-sides, uber-low fi Violent Femmes and a saxophonist who looked like someone from Spandau Ballet. No disernable tunes at all, incomprehensible lyrics, and all the better for it (thought I saw Danni Minogue in the audience. Probably not her). With beards.

Telepathy - Massively cool, massively hip, massively disappointing - like watching an American Apparel advert while listening to a bad Kraftwerk covers band on Mogadon - No beards.

In fact, now i mention Telepathy, in terms of ‘festival buzz’, on Wednesday they were unknown, on Thursday they were one of the hottest bands you had to see, but after they played on Friday no one cared anymore.

Which begs the question, will they make a massive comeback on Saturday night?

And more to the point, while at SXSW is it possible to have an entire career (form, practise, play, hype, disband) in the space of just one week?

Anyway, I was also told to check out Kelly Stoltz and Herman Dune - but simply didn’t get time.

But, one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, like, ever, happened last night. So I’ll tell you about that in the next blog entry (cos this one’s gone on a little long and I need a drink).

Loving your work.


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