Saturday, 15 March 2008

SXSW Part II: I'm rhyming on the top of a cop car

Hey - I'm back, this time with a monstrousmotherfunking hangover - take my oil, Day III at SXSW was worth it...

The temperature is up in the hundreds (sorry DF) and it's time to get to grips with this thing - no fucking about today lads - let's go!

First up is The Cribs at The Village Voice Party - noone told me that they don't tune their guitars - EVER; I'm surprised that they're so loose, speeding up, slowing down - generally fucking about with the songs. They're more The Jam than The Sex Pistols - once I get used to the vernacular the songs shine. I'm sorry to see them leave the stage - they could have played for another half hour, easily.

We high-tail across town for the Photo Finish Records party and Paper Rivals are onstage; they're american post-emo (I think we can say post-emo now), this guy can sing - Johnny T. asks why bands would ever need three guitarists - I'm inclined to agree. I suppose it didn't do Radiohead any damage.

It's hot as hell now - so lunch in the shade and home for zzz...

Back in action with Make Model at the NME showcase - I'm absotively certain no-one from the NME is here - that being said the small crowd are certainly enjoying the pretense. Make Model as you know are post-Fickle Public's Lewis and JC. Simon Sweeping The Nation put it brilliantly in last year - that there are 'industrial sized record company driers keeping this powder dry'. The secret is most certainly out now, Lewis tells me that their album is finished, finally after a year. They'll be on tour all over UK in April and May. You would do well to see them now - this is Pop with complexity, to say a brighter Broken Social Scene wouldn't be too far away, but there are acres of influence under that veneer. Fantastic players - my fingers are crossed for them and there is more than a touch of parental pride when I see them play. It's kinda emotional kids...

Aptly, therefore it's over to Emo's for Crystal Castles - damn that girl is hot (I suppose he isn't bad either) - but they are mediocre. You could bang these backing tracks out in half an hour on Garageband whilst making yourself a nice sandwich - very disappointing. The strobe lighting doesn't cover a multitude of sins.

JT reckons that we'll get into MGMT tonight - I'm not so certain, but he bounces the queue at Stubbs and we're in the front row. These boys need another album under their belts before they can command the attention they are currently attracting. It's basically Steely Dan mixed with bits of Journey, Pink Floyd and Bowie - don't get me wrong; I think they're good - just that the singles are too much of a high point; and I hate Pink Floyd so the drugged out instrumental sections bore me to death.

We bump into Rocky Oppenheimer who is on a mission to 'get bombed' - inspired by this single mindedness, we head to Be Your Own Pet @ Mowhawk - she's fiesty this girl. I wonder why XL signed BYOP - I know they look great and have got a cool name, but in a grumpy fit I wonder if they traded on their music alone how much we'd really know about them? In comparison to Tokyo Sex Destruction last night, this brand of punk is pretty un-evolved. Maybe I'm too old. By track three though I'm into it - her energy is infectious and the crowd are loving it - then THE PA BLOWS UP! WTF is going on with all this dodgy PA gear in Austin - I'm disappointed for our intrepid pets; they deserve better. Oh well.

The Whip are fucking chancers to be honest, I feel that they're taking the piss out of us - but their brand of Manc-Happy-Hardcore is typically British and thoroughly feel good; so what it's basically a bloke pressing the spacebar on his laptop and three others punching the air; they get the most movement out of a crowd so far tonight. Cool no - Mad Fer It - definitely. Good luck to them.

Damn the choices, the choices! Do we finish at the Kill Rock Stars night or the Polyvinyl night - in the end the beer does the talking and we end up at Shy Child (that boy is lethal on his keetar - I'll bet he would be pissed off if he lost it, where are you going to get a backup keetar in Texas?). They're a less complex Deerhoof or a more complex Jean Michel Jarre depending on which way you want to look at it.

N.E.R.D are the biggest 'rockstars' playing SXSW - as suspected, this is a masterclass of the Urban session musician variety. This is the first properly funky drumming we've heard in a week - and we're relieved - hands in the air, everyone is bouncing, Lap Dance is lethal and I'm shocked at how up for it Pharrell is - I thought he'd be much more up his own arse being The Biggest Rap Star In The World TM - but he engages his band and the crowd for a full hour. This is what makes America great - the rest of it is oversized and too damn salty!

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