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SXSW 2014 Reviews

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:07 am
by Frau_Blucher
I guess I'll get things started. I hope this can be a source for some new music leads, like these crazy kids Spandau Ballet, who I think just might have a shot at making it! 10th year in a row for me and one of the best musically. Surprised I'm saying this because the fest itself has gotten so big and cumbersome that it wasn't honestly the most joyful one I've had. It also didn't have like 3 or 4 insanely great finds like in some years. However, when I look back at the 57 or so gigs I caught, there's a higher percentage of As and Bs than usual and less dreck, likely a result of collaborating a lot more with folks like Coop, Plagiarism, Edwardnky, and various other non-NWO friends - we simply knew more which bands we wanted to see and not see. So...

A+ - Splashh @ Latitude 30: following a weak daytime showcase, these guys shocked with the funnest set of the fest. Lots of great rhythmic strumming with melody and pitch changes. Bits of shoegaze and garage.
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A+ - Spandau Ballet @ Vulcan Gas Company: this was way beyond expectations with a tight, professional delivery of tons of great songs. Opener 'To Cut A Long Story Short' was actually my highlight along with 'Chant #1'. Absolute crowd pleasers. Have overcome my loss of indie cred from constantly saying "Yeah, Spandau Ballet were one of the very best acts at SXSW."
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A - PINS @ El Sapo: far better than their church gig the previous evening. A very intimate audience but they still just brought it and convinced me of what some English friends had been yammering on about. Not looking for massive depth here, just great punk pop fun.
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A - Bo Ningen @ Latitude 30: with low expectations that I'd be suffering through a lot of obnoxious noise, they surprised with a SHOW! There was indeed a lot of obnoxious noise but it was damned entertaining.
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A - Bully @ The Parish Underground: they can easily be dismissed as 90s Dino Jr Junior, but that's all good. Not the heavy Dino stuff but their funner stuff - sweet 90s guitar strumming. Lead singer and guitarist has great chops and voice.
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A - Casual Sex @ Mohawk Indoor: a great mix of Franz Ferdinand with some LCD Soundsystem wryness. Dancy and entertaining but also musically solid.
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A - Eagulls @ Buffalo Billiards: my second time and a cut above the first. A proper gig at night with a proper mosh pit and great energy. Their great lead guitar work needs to be more up front in their live mixes. Not sure if they're built to last but great textured punkish sounds for now.
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A - Traams @ El Sapo: Parquet Courts-light is a bit too dismissive. They have their own flair but you won't be mislead by that description. Just as driving and fun.
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A - Wolf Alice @ Latitiude 30: this was originally to be an A-, but their songs are just too entertaining despite a somewhat flat delivery this night. I'll just attribute that to early festival warm-up both for me and the band. Lots of variations on, again, a 90s rock theme.
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A- - Bully @ The Grackle: poor sound system here but still shone through. Highly recommending these Nashville rockers.
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A- - Eagulls @ Mohawk: great punk fun, better at their night gig, but a fine warm-up. Oh, and a Pyschic TV t-shirt!
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A- - Casual Sex at Flamingo Cantina: a step down just because these guys are meant to be a nighttime act.
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A- - Dead Gaze @ El Sapo: a heavier 90s sound than a lot of the other similarly-influenced bands here, but these guys rocked. A transformer on the street outside the venue blew while they played - perfect.
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A- - Eros and the Eschaton @ El Sapo: no, it's not a young Elvis Costello. They could use another band member however - there's just too much good songwriting and big sounds for a duet to try to reproduce. Tough debate between this and a B+ because of their relatively thin live vs recorded sound, but still had to go with the fine songwriting and structures.
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A- - Honeyblood @ El Sapo: perfect ending to a great afternoon of food, drinks and bands at the best converted garage/burger venue in the world (pretty sure the world). Lovely voices and angelic faces to go along with some fine indie pop rock.
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A- - The Mary Onettes @ The Majestic: another debate about this grade or a B+. Ultimately sentiment gives them an A-, but their new material just doesn't match up to old by a long margin. They oddly need to rely less on their vocal stylizing and more on their very strong instrumentalism, which just doesn't have the cool chop-chop anymore.
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A- - Gary Numan @ Brazos Hall: too heavy and industrial for some in the crowd, but he still brought enough fantastic old-faithful tracks for this to be a great gig - Metal, Down In The Park, Are Friends Electric, etc. And if Numan if multiple bands down the list of cool acts we'd seen, we were doing alright!
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A- - Public Service Broadcasting @ Cherrywood Coffeehouse: far better than I was expecting given that it was a day gig in the sun with no visuals. Really allowed to focus on the music, and they were great and funny as well. Electronicy indie rock instrumentalists I guess I'd call them.
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A- - Tontons @ Empire Garage: finally saw them after their cancelation last year. Great pop fun and a seriously charming lead.
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A- - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Flamingo Cantina: they've actually learned how to play! I'm glad I gave them one last chance after two previous disappointing appearances. They always held the promise of New Order-inflected indie pop...not saying it's met, but better. They also seem to have gotten rid of their original and quite lifeless Asian keyboardist in place of a much more animated new partner, and also have a very eager young fan.
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A- - Temples @ Latitude 30: I thought uh-oh, it's Toy...but they ended up being much livelier and more entertaining. Solid psych rock with some glam splashed in.
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A- - Ume @ Brazos Hall: this was actually going to be just a throwaway while waiting for Numan and Blondie. Intead, I saw that they'd added a keyboardist and a bit more variation. Still a heavy rock band now, but as good as the first time we saw them on a sidewalk next to the freeway back in 2010.
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B+ - Baby In Vain @ BD Riley's: originally just a bonus gig at the end of the last day. Turns out that these teenage girls from Denmark had some serious chops, even opening for Thurston Moore last year in Europe. They got some ways to go but quite talented with their guitars.
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B+ - Blondie @ Brazos Hall: this might even be a bit generous. Yes, she does look great for 69, but she is nevertheless 69 and a bit wooden and awkward out there. The killer was that she played too many new songs and not enough really old stuff like Rip Her To Shreds, Dreaming, etc.
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B+ - The Foreign Resort @ Guerros Tacos: another Danish band and a favorite from 2 years ago. Shimmering new wave guitars make for a very entertaining set for those that like that sort of thing. Not sure where they're going to go from here though.
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B+ - How Sad @ The Majestic: filler while waiting for the Onettes but the better of their two openers. Good guitar and keyboard indie pop rock with lots of charm.
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B+ - PINS @ Central Presbyterian Church: wrong venue for them plus they were expecting perfect sound. They're a punk band and should have just played. Still a blast.
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B+ - Pyschic Wheels @ El Sapo: another filler band that ended up being a lot of fun. Like the name indicates, lots of psych guitar goodness.
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B+ - San Fermin @ Latitude 30: hard to pin these guys style down. Everything from indie rock guitar and keyboard to R&B crooning to a horn section. Really a great sound and very entertaining. There is some Ra Ra Riot meets Arcade Fire though so be forewarned.
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B+ - September Girls @ El Sapo: very solid indie pop rock again. Now too much depth but a lot of fun.
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B+ - Slaves @ Latitude 30: two unassuming blokes in many senses of the word, but they proceed to come on stage and tear it up with some old school Brit punk.
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B - Triptides @ El Sapo: punky surfy goodness despite Waldo-looking guitarist.
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B - Harlequins @ BD Riley's: I think this would have been a B+ at a place with better sound, but BD's is notoriously poor in quality and set-up. It's really good straight-up indie rock with some fine riffs, end of story.
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B - The Belle Game @ Maggies Mae's: a lot of talent here, but it's disjointed, all the way down to the most random outfits at the festival. Come on people, if you want to make a living at this, sync up a bit better than camos and geisha wear. Big vocals with some Fleet Foxes-like instrumentals that make it entertaining albeit confusing.
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B - Chocolate Tiger @ BD Riley's: it would a be cop-out to say that BD's poor sound strikes again, but these guys were often out of tune. Some cool songs with the perfect shimmering guitars that I like, but jeez, tighten it up, espeically when traveling 10k miles around the world for the gig.
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B - Lost Tapes @ BD Riley's: they've got all the songs. I almost hate to say that these guys just may not have the presence to do justice to their playing and writing. It's again too much sound for a duet to pull off, plus they have no stage presence. Really shame. I think many will like their recorded material.
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B - Launderettes @ BD Riley's: female scandipop that sounds like female scandipop. Not great or terrible.
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B - Weeknight @ The Parish: musically very good with lots of the lush pads I love, but they're kinda awkward. I hope they figure things out. They could do something if they do.
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B- - Splashh @ Wonderland: just awful sound at this venue. I was about ready to dismiss them, but a couple of my friends thankfully could hear some possible diamonds in the rough. Delivered later that night in a big way.
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B- - Dum Dum Girls @ Mellow Johnny's: I'm trying but I just can't see the fuss. I couldn't wait for the gig to be over. Score is only this high because the music was pleasant enough while I had my morning coffee. They weren't even that charming. Wait, why is this not a C??
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B- - Heavenly Beats @ The Majestic: a good sound but it's repeated in every single song.
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C - Agnes Obel @ Central Presbyterian Chursh: very loud folk that I thought would carry me into PINS given the setting, but it was kinda annoying. I think folks (heh) that like this genre more (I do like some) might like this more.
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C - Perfect Pussy @ Red 7 Patio: this just makes me angry. It's a classic case of completely made up buzz. It's just old school hardcore, done better by a lot of other bands that don't have a pretty face. Only this high because I guess I had some fascination with the scene. Plus she just yelled a lot but not into the mic so much. As a 90 yr old congressman once said, speak into the machine.
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C - Sweet Baboo @ Latitdue 30: an odd selection in the mix, but one can see he's a talented writer. Just needs a bit more zing. Oh, and it's not Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall.
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C - Weekend @ The Grackle: I'll give them this high because I think the sound was possibly the worst at the fest. Even lo-fi/shoegaze needs good sound. There's some hints of skill here so possibly better in actuality?
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C - The Pack AD @ Maggie Mae's: just a girl rock duet. Not really sure why they're at SX and not at some bar in any number of southern cities. Okay for what they are I guess.
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C- - Destruction Unit @ Red 7 Patio: thrash that I can't make the distinction from other thrash.
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D+ = La Luz @ The Grackle: the + is in acknowledgment that the sound system sucked. The D is in acknowledgment that they did too. Overriding feeling is that their surfy sound has been done and they bring nothing new to it.
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D - Nothing @ Dirty Dog Bar: nothing indeed. Honestly, I have to wonder about some of their positive write-ups. Just thrashy noise. It's not remotely shoegaze.
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D - Casket Girls @ The Parish: there were few other easy choices on this first night, which is also why I saw them briefly last year. Again briefly this year before walking out. More of a weird lounge act than a band per se.
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D - Purapharm @ Guerros Tacos: only this high because they ran long, allowing us to get some really great tacos! Oh, and their lead singer danced energetically in front of us to The Foreign Resort.
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D - Future Islands @ Flamingo Cantina: The Guardian article hilariously says it all: . I said 'I said Tom Jone bad New Order cover band'. The said Pere Ubu, and not in a good way. What an idiot. Not an F because some of the instrumentation is ok.
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D- - Roman Remains @ Brazos Hall: even more annoying than Future Islands, this band made me want to play that knockout game (yes, I know it's wrong). Just pointless. If the Romans only left behind their fossilized feces, this would be it.
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F - Arc Iris @ Central Presbyterian Chursh: this was originally a C- with the justification that it's not my thing. Then it made me angry how bad it was and downgraded them to a D in my notes. Here again tonight, they have to get an F for being for incredibly annoying. The girl int he gold getup? Yes, as annoying as she looks.
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F some rap DJ @ Mohawk: Jeff had the best line of the festival with "We better get outta here before we have to count it as a gig." So I won't because we did.
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Also an F was White Sea @ Brazos Hall with frequent M83 collaborator Morgan Kibby, who has massively lost her way here. I refused to even take a photo of her ridiculous outfit, complete with what looked like a sorting hat..."You have been chosen for house...CRAPOLA!"

Another DJ who I thought was going to be a band was Tony Molina. He gets a D for some decent 90s Brit rap/trip hop type of sounds.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:25 am
by edwardnky
Spectacular times.

The only bands I had seen live prior to this sxsw that I saw again:

Charlie XCX - Big improvement.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Big improvement.
Potty Mouth - I like them, but I was staying at that venue.

The bands I opted to see twice:

The Casket Girls
Drenge - (night show crushed the day show)
Fat White Family - (night show crushed the day show)

Bands that weren't really on my radar I thought were great:

Bo Ningen
The Launderettes
Ex Hex
The Casket Girls

My main focus were bands I probably don't have a good chance of seeing again in the midwest.

Top 15 in no particular order:

Little Boots
Jessy Lanza
Ex Hex
Casket Girls
Public Service Broadcasting
Fat White Family
Bo Ningen
The Launderettes

The rest in no particular order

Temples, Charlie XCX, Gruff Rhys, Future Islands, Potty Mouth, Speedy Ortiz, Miami Horror, Dum Dum Girls, Woman's Hour, Blondie, Gary Numan, Coat Hangers, Bleeding Rainbow, Vertical Scratchers, Alvvays, Timber Timbre, Casual Sex, Leverage Models, Orthy, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Highasakite, Glass Animals, Painted Palms, David J, Horse Thief, Weeknight, Connan Mockasin, Trust, Prides, Saint Seneca, Lowell, San Fermin, with a few I don't remember and a few partial sets not listed.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:20 am
by Frau_Blucher
Do publication deadlines mean nothing to Coop and Plag? [}:)]

And Ed, we need to talk Casket Girls intervention!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:44 pm
by coop41
What a crazy year! Sadly, the tragedy put a slight damper on things, X was playing at the Mohawk when the driver crashed through the barricades. We had decided to forego standing in line and instead went next door to Cheer Up Charlies to see Cloud Nothings but left early to go catch Spandau Ballet. The driver plowed through the crowd in front of those two venues about 40 minutes later.

On to the fun (all photos professionally taken with an iPhone 5):

The first day was pretty relaxed and shows by Sons of Fathers and Ruby Jane were accompanied by margaritas and mexican food and a show by Heliothorpe Project was highlighted with beers and fireball shots. Avi Buffalo later that night was nothing to write home about. The comedy showcase however, was an absolute laugh riot. A handful of comedians, all extremely funny, was hosted by the very funny Jim Breuer. When the promised special guest was announced I was noticeably bummed. Sinbad. Never cared for him. Never found him funny. Wow, was I wrong. We saw two long sets by him, both entirely different and absolutely hysterical. I couldn’t have been more off base. He absolutely killed it.

The rated shows in no particular order:


Spandau Ballet - a complete shock. Went because everyone else did and it was their first U.S. gig in 28 years. Fantastic
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Riverboat Gamblers- These guys just plain rock. Punk rock goodness. Lead singer walks up and down the bar, gets behind the bar and pours shots, etc. Just fun. “I cannot believe we are not signed to a major label! We are geniuses!”
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Drivin n Cryin - oh boy, wasn’t expecting this. Stayed because I knew my buddy would like them and they just destroyed the Yard Dog. Their set turned into a full out party when Chuck Prophet (Green On Red, Solo guitarist extraordinaire), Mike Mills (REM) on keyboards, Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, REM) and a host of others joined the fun for random party songs, some made up on the fly. Just a perfect way to end the day shows.
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Chuck Prophet
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Bear Hands - These guys write solid songs and had the crowd going.
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The Front Bottoms (2)- Saw them twice, both on the same day. The first show was polished with a surprisingly loyal following singing their complex songs. The night show at 1am a drunken party with a raucous sing a long crowd and mosh pit.
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The Dogs- 1970’s legendary Detroit/LA punkers put on a hell of a show. glad I caught this! Imagine if you had the most kick-ass parents in the world.
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Residual Kid (2) - If you get a chance to see these kids do it. All under 14 years old and the talent and charisma to carry a show. They have grown up over the past year, have some better songs and didn’t rely on as many covers although the first show had a staple Nirvana cover (Territorial Pissings) and the second Sonic Youth (100%). These kids have the goods.
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Brick + Mortar Loved this two piece from New Jersey, some powerful songs that really worked well live.
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The Baseball Project - This was awesome, Scott McCaughey and Mike Mills as well as Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) just show what solid musicians and true pros they are. Ted F’in Williams!!!
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Me and Mike Mills
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Mike Peters of The Alarm I was excited to see Mike and was right up front. He went through most of the songs from Declaration and was amazingly playing all the parts and I didn’t feel cheated. He also played a couple of classics like The Stand which was awesome.
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Ezra Furman Darn good high energy show from a guy in a dress. Had the packed house crowd rocking.
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Traams I liked these guys and expect more from them. They were high on my list to see and didn’t disappoint. Best venue as well!.
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Pins Not a huge fan of female punk but they did it well

The Dead Gaze Frau stole my “heavier” sound joke. Never had heard of these guys but they may have been the best band of the day.

How Sad (2) Prety solid young group, will be interested to see where they go from here. Saw them twice and they were good both times.
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Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three - Having been a pretty big Dream Syndicate fan I had to remind a lady they did not sing Life In A Northern Town even though she insisted.
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The Split Squad - Eddie Munoz (The Plimsouls) shredded on guitar and Josh Kantor (The Boston Red Sox organist!) and a host of others ripped it up
Eddie Munoz:
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Jesse Malin - former lead singer for the NY hardcore band Heart Attack when he was 12 and with D Generation in the 90’s, Malin may have mellowed a bit but just put on a great show, complete with a cover of The Ramones End Of The Century.
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Urge Overkill - Wasn’t too impressed with their recent offering but these guys put on a hell of a show. Got the set list, the only disappointment was Bottle OF Fur was crossed off.
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Beautiful Bodies - Surprisingly fun (and hot) show by this Kansas City party band. The whole crowd was dancing.
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Blondie She may be 69 but it was still Blondie. Also, she did a cover of the Beastie Boys You Gotta Fight!
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The Chain Gang of 1974 - The crowd loved these guys and they put on a very good show. A little too dance rock for me at times but I am surprised these guys aren’t more popular.

Gary Numan - There were a lot of Nine Inch Nails comments but I enjoyed it
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The Wild Seeds
No Small Children
Echo Friendly
September Girls


Eagulls - the biggest disappointment as I was really looking forward to these guys. I could see the talent but couldn’t get over the stupid sound guy insisting the vocals stay below audible levels. Not their fault

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Cloud Nothings - these guys haven’t really grown at all. Saw them a few years back and it seemed the same.
Mike Love - Decent Reggae band while eating mexican food. Saw the whole set and laughed at the hippies.

Sons Of Fathers- Mumford and Sons of Fathers
Avi Buffalo
Ruby Jane
Red Headed Parsons
Mars and the Massacre
Ski Lodge


Little Daylight - This is just like Chvrches, Haerts, etc.
Kiev - Imagine if Fleet Foxes and The Dave Mathews Band aww never mind.
White Sea - terrible

Pro Gun Rally:
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Anti-Gun Rally: CENSORED (more Boobs Less Guns)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:04 am
by plagiarism
This year seemed to be a down year, musically. There were only a few bands I really wanted to see that I couldn't find a way to make it happen. The music on Friday afternoon at El Sapo was incredible, and it might have been the best afternoon in my 3 years of going to SXSW full time.

Thanks to Frau, Coop, Ed, and the others who aren't on this board for the great times. My condolences to the families and friends of the 3 people killed by the hit-and-run tragedy and hopes for a speedy recovery to those who were severely injured. It could have been me. X were playing, and if I were one to wait in lines, I might have been outside waiting for a chance to get inside.

And now for the reviews. All the A grades are ranked. Below that, they're in chronological order.

Foreign Resort A+ (Guero's Tacos) - I saw this band at SXSW two years ago, and I put them in my top group. They've gotten better, drawing heavily from the pillars of New Wave. Frau's probably right in that they're not going anywhere, so I guess I've got my own little slice of heaven.

Chain Gang of 1974 A+ (Elysium) I almost didn't go to this show. From the first couple of songs I heard from their new album, I thought they (Kamtin Mohager, really) had run out of ideas. But Mohager can really write those basslines that get your butt moving, If they had played a few more of their older songs, this might have been my favorite SXSW gig ever.

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PINS A+ (El Sapo) - I couldn't ask for a better one-two combination of Septembers Girls and PINS. PINS were the superior band, as they showed more range with their pop and punk songs. Plus, they were absolute sweethearts to me chatting before and after their show.

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Launderettes A+ (B.D. Riley's) - We wound up here, because one of the gang got kicked out of the Eagulls venue for sneaking a beer in. This band is basically the Norwegian Go-Gos. No more, no less. The singer had that magic that made the performance memorable, and their cover of "I'll Make You Happy" owed more to Divinyls than the Easybeats. But it was a rockin' good time.

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Gary Numan A+ (Brazos Hall) - Go see Gary Numan. There, I've saved you two or three times the cost for an NIN ticket, and you won't have to wait through Soundgarden.

Splashh A+ (Latitude 30) - I felt like I didn't have to see this show, since I saw them in the afternoon and they played my favorite song. I came back for this show because there weren't many other options. The sound system was great this time, and this show blew away the day show. I got the feeling most of the crowd didn't know who these guys were, but they were wowed. Great British pop/rock with just the right amount of distortion.

Pains of Being Pure of Heart A (Flamingo Cantina) - As with Chain Gang, I was wary about seeing this show because I didn't like what I've heard from their upcoming album. Yet "Young Adult Friction" is one of my favorite songs of the last 10 years. They sampled heavily from their new album, and most of them were good. They also played my song. My only regret was that I was seated on a riser in the corner, and I couldn't pogo myself silly.

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Pagiins A (Holy Mountain Patio) - This year's Parquet Courts, except they played exactly one show. It's a shame. More people need to hear about them.

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Bo Ningin A (Latitude 30) - Never heard of this band, and they weren't on my radar. This is an all-Japanese band by way of London, 2 guys, 2 girls. No wait, Ed tells me one of the girls was using the urinal. He's quite pretty. They play hard rock and shred. The finale is a spectacle to see... the singer/bassist playing the bass upside down, backwards, and every which way... the lead guitarist playing his guitar while spinning it. Wow. The music isn't my thing, but that didn't matter tonight.

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July Talk A (Friends) - Roadhouse rock n roll sung by a gravel-voiced guy and a cute girl, singing he said/she said lyrics. This usually wouldn't be my thing at all, but I love this band. Great stage presence, and the girl held an impromptu male wet t-shirt contest. I saw the guy the next day and he said the bar owners were pissed they were pouring water that splashed onto the equipment.

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Public Service Broadcasting A (Cherrywood Coffeehouse) - Several of the guys hopped in my car, and we went to a place that's several miles from downtown and the throngs of people. It was a sunny day, a family-friendly venue, with good beer on tap. The music was quite good (one on drums, the other on guitar/banjo/and electronics), with all vocals being samples. The frontman didn't talk at all between songs, he had samples for the banter too. Frau asked for more songs, and the frontman punched the buttons that said somethin(g like "No" and "Goodbye".

Front Bottoms A (Valhalla) - This is what I imagine a Replacements concert in Minneapolis, circa 1985 would be like. Everyone drunk. The audience singing along to all the previously-released songs. Lots of banter with various people in the audience and in-jokes. A few too many slow songs keep this from being an A+.

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Traams A (El Sapo) - More British postpunk goodness.
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Casual Sex A (Mohawk + Flamingo Cantina) The shows were about 2 hours apart, and I missed half of the first due to the long trek from the Cherry Glazerr show, so I'm counting this as one show. Last year, Savages showed they were an amazing live band, but when their album came out, I couldn't get into it. That's how I feel about Casual Sex. Their album's already out, but I've never cared for any of their songs. Live though, they're very good.

Future Islands A (Flamingo Cantina) - People were talking about the Letterman performance, but I had no idea what that was all about. I was here because I enjoyed their previous albums. Then the lead started dancing and growling as he sang. I understand the buzz now. During equipment problems, he sang a song a capella to keep the crowd entertained. Although I didn't care for that song, I appreciate that professionalism.

Residual Kid A (Cheer Up Charlie's) - Last year I wrote, "B+ Three kids, the oldest of which is about 14. They shred. Doubt they will last too long, as they all want to be the lead guitarist." They seem to have solved the problem of all of them sharing the spotlight equally, and as a result, they've improved.

Slaves A- (Latitude 30) - Sometimes, a band completely defies expectations. During set up, there were several guys adjusting the cables and re-arranging things, while a guy wearing slacks and an office work shirt hit the drums (two snares, no kick drum) a couple of times, then wandered off stage. "Must be a "special' corporate sponsor", I said to myself. Turns out that was the drummer, and the remaining guys were sound techs. The drummer/singer jumped and pounded on the snares with all the attitude you'd expect of a British punk band. Some 2-person bands need more members. Slaves would be ruined by adding another.

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Temples A- ( Latitude 30) - Had the misfortune of following Bo Ningin, but they still put on a great show. The lead singer looks like Marc Bolan and had good charisma. A lot of psychedelic pop here, and they're better live than recorded.

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September Girls A- (El Sapo) - How can an all-girl band have 4 singers, and most of the songs sound alike? It's a sound I like, obviously, but I think one of the guitarists needs to step up and take the songs somewhere, rather just be background fuzz.

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Dum Dum Girls A- (Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop) - Unless Dee Dee comes out in a particularly skimpy outfit, or Debbie Harry wanders onstage, there are no surprises at a Dum Dum Girls show. Neither happened at this show. So, we're left with a bunch of good songs that sound exactly the same live and recorded. Loved the show, just thought there could be more.

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Ume A- (Cheer Up Charlie's) - I'll be honest here. Guys just love a girl who can really sling a guitar.

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Weeknight B+ (The Parish) - I really love this band's dark, gloomy, and occasionally dirge-like sound. However, they need to add a couple of instruments to fill the room. The slower songs don't hold up that well live.

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PINS B+ (Central Presbyterian) - Watched this show from the balcony of the church. They were never going to get the acoustics they're used to from a pub or concert hall, so they shouldn't have fussed over it so much. They were great, but I As I watched them, I thought they might be this year's buzz band, like Savages were last year, But no, that honor went to Perfect Pussy.

Blacklist Royals B+ (Headhunters Patio) - The first couple of songs, I thought they were going to segue into a "Somewhere between Heaven and Hell"-era Social Distortion song, but they settled into a more anthemic pop/rock vibe. Maybe not far off from The Alarm.

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David J. B (Valhalla) - "Hi, I'm David J, and this is my new large folk/country band, and we're going to play a lot of songs from our new album." They were charming, especially The Vasectomy Song, but the final 4 Love & Rockets songs were a welcome relief. The songs were countrified, though.

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Psychic Wheels B (El Sapo) - There are always dead spots in your SXSW schedule, and sometimes you have to take a guess whether to stay for one more band or get to the next venue early. I saw some of the members of Monokino, and made the call to go to the next venue. Good call. This band plays some good psychedelic-tinged rock.

Alvvays B (The Main) - C86 lives! Dance and pogo through the upbeat songs. Wonder what shows I'm missing during the rest.

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Blondie B (Brazos Hall) - I have no idea who the bassist was, but he was as old as the original members, and wasn't Gary Valentine or Nigel Harrison. He looked like a deranged spider while playing and was the reason the grade didn't slip further. Loved him. The gig suffered from the "we've got a new album" disease.

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Honeyblood B (El Sapo) - I didn't realize they were a duo. "Bud" is such a lovely song, but they need a little more depth to their sound.

Fresh and Onlys B (Swan Dive) - Every detail about this gig escapes me, other than the pretty blue lights. (Streaks in the photo below) I rated the show right away, so it must have been pleasant enough.

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Weekend B (The Grackle) - I was really looking forward to seeing this band again, but the sound at this venue was just way too muddy. The grade is this high because I know what they can do.

Splashh B (Wonderland) - We walked by this venue en route central downtown, I saw this and said "ooh, I'm in." Like all the other shows on Saturday afternoon, the sound was awful. However, I was there in time for "All I Wanna Do", and the other songs had promise, so I was quite happy.

San Fermin B (Latitude 30) - Of all the bands I saw, this is the one most likely to have commercial success. Energetic show, wide range of songs, and a horn section. Good fun.

Casket Girls B- (The Parish) - Their gimmick of big sunglasses and trashy, semi-matching clothes is just that. Either play up the implied gothiness of the band's name, or ditch the gimmick altogether. There's some good pop under the kitsch.

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Horse Thief B- (Central Presbyterian) - Country tinged pop band whose music was well suited for the cathedral. I doubt I'd ever pick up a free CD from them, but it was a good show just the same.

Cymbals B- (Maggie Mae's) - They've got a good beat, and you can dance to them. The singer's voice could be better.

Triptides B- (El Sapo) - The band name says it all. Psychedelic pop with a little surf thrown in. The only surprise is that they're from Indiana, not California.

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Dead Leaf Echo B- (Headhunters Patio) - Lovely shoegaze undermined by perpetually off-key voals. It was better than last year, but that's damning with faint praise.

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Lost Tapes B- (B.D. Riley's) - Pleasant background music and a welcome respite from Fat White Family.

Dead Gaze C+ (El Sapo) - Not what I was expecting. Their song "Running on the Moon" narrowly missed my 2013 mixtape. I'm not sure if they played it, and if they did, they buried it under heavy guitars. They probably don't deserve this low of a grade, but it felt like a bait-and-switch.

Starlight Girls C+ (Ester's Follies) - I've got to stop going to Ester's Follies to see bands. It's a comedy club, so everyone's seated, and that seems to drain the energy out of everyone. This was a must-see band for me. Some of the songs I sampled had a good edge, but their set sounded like we were at a cocktail party.

Palehound C (Headhunters Patio) - Disappointed with this gig. What I sampled was perhaps reminiscent of Velocity Girl or Blake Babies. Didn't hear any of that live.

Cherry Glazerr C (Scoot Inn) - The parking situation at SXSW had me driving east of downtown. Cherry Glazerr wasn't first on my list, but circumstanes dictated the choice. They were on my radar, so OK. You can hear on their recorded songs that the female lead's voice is thin, and it's even thinner live. I thought the drumming was rather weak as well. They have some catchy songs, and that's what prevents this from having a lower grade.

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Mary Onettes C (The Majestic) - They've been passed by many other bands with this general sound, and now they just sound mediocre.

Eros & the Eschaton C (El Sapo) - The recorded songs that I sampled from this band were pretty. This group is a duo, and they really need more members for live performances. I tuned them out at some point.

Gary Numan C (Elysium) - I bailed on Baby in Vain and Drenge before winding up here to close out SXSW. The sound from the back of the venue was very muddy, as bad as some of the Saturday day shows. He played Cars, and I decided to go out on a happy note.

Leverage Models C- (Old School) - I have no idea what this band wants to be when it grows up. Dance? Rock? Better? I didn't stay long here for 3 reasons. 1) The band was all over the place. 2) Frau texted and said the church had cleared out and that I would be able to get into the PINS show. 3) I was having something like an asthma attack, and I couldn't breathe. I made it a point not to go back into that venue.

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La Luz C- (The Grackle) - I like this band's lo-fi surf, but I doubt it sounds good under the best of circumstances. Add a bad soundsystem, and you just get bad.

Odonis Odonis and Solids C- (Farewell Books) - Lesson learned: Don't go to some weird used bookstore you've never heard of to hear some music. It's just not going to work out. Stick with established venues and bars. I've seen Odonis Odonis before. This should have been a much higher grade.

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HighasaKite D+ (The Parish) - Epic Norwegian folk music sung by a woman most definitely in touch with her inner goddess. Points for being unique, but I dislike epic folk music.

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Ephrata D (Cheer Up Charlie's) - This band from Seattle did absolutely nothing to distinguish themselves live. They gave out cards for a free download. I gave it a listen. This band from Seattle did absolutely nothing to distinguish themselves recorded.

Mars Argo D (Stephen F Lounge) - I was waiting in line to see the Tontons. The SXSW volunteers for the venue had no idea how to organize lines, and when I asked a volunteer for info, it was clear I was standing in the wrong line. The proper line was now very long, and so I bailed. Mars Argo was my plan B. What a mistake. The singer simply disappeared at the last minute, so the band started without her. That first song was the only tolerable one, because the guitarist did the singing. The lead singer sounds like the singer from Cranes. I like Cranes in small doses, but 3 songs was all I could take.

Vertical Scratchers D (The Parish) - One of Merge Records' newest signings, and they turned out to be a lousy bar band. I expected more from Merge.

Nothing F (Dirty Dog) - My biggest disappointment of SXSW. Recorded, they're an excellent shoegaze and occasionally dreampop group. Live, it's all heavy sludge. A demerit for taking so long to get through their sound check that they made getting to another show at that time slot impossible.

St. Pepsi F (The Parish Underground) - Out of the Vertical Scratchers proverbial frying pan and into the fires of hell. This is a guy (insert the woo from "Blurred Lines" here) with a Macbook Pro (wooo) and a penchant for dance cliches (wooo). Winner of the worst show award. (wooo)

White Sea F (Brazos Hall) - We really took one for the team here, folks. All the excess of Kate Bush, without any of that pesky thing called talent.

Purapharm F (Guero's Tacos) - I spilled my friend's glass of expensive tequila, and I feel worse that I drove everyone out to this place to see this train wreck open for The Foreign Resort. As an extra bonus, the kid of one of the performers gives me their CD. Maybe I can foist it on one of my local friends who's not into music. I'd hate for it to go straight to the landfill.

Fat White Family F (Latitude 30) - The singer removed his pants the first or second song. Then reached in and fondled himself the next 2 songs. That's it. I don't need to see any more.

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Timber Timbre Incomplete (Swan Dive Patio) - I saw more than enough songs to give this show a grade, but the band seemed discombobulated. The hit-and-run tragedy happened during this set. Maybe they heard about it before I did. I'll grant them a mulligan.

Perfect Pussy WTF (Red 7 Patio) - What's this? A band wants to start early. Sounds like they really want to play. They wait till the schedule starting time, but quit after 4 songs (call it 20 minutes) with no explanation. And yay, I get to see the fat drummer change his socks, so I knew the show was over. Well, that was special. I later searched for an explanation, and it seems the band was close to the hit-and-run site when it happened, and the frustration and anxiety was setting in.

Bands I've never seen that I missed (in no particular order):

together PANGEA
Pack A.D.
Wye Oak
Speedy Ortiz
Ex Hex
Withered Hand
California Wives

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:02 am
by i_like_lectric_motors
Great reports and pictures, guys. Always the thread of the year, especially now that we don't have epic arguments in the NNNW.

Plag, checked out Pagiins. Killer stuff.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:08 pm
by edwardnky
[quote][i]Originally posted by Frau_Blucher[/i]
<br>Do publication deadlines mean nothing to Coop and Plag? [}:)]

And Ed, we need to talk Casket Girls intervention!

Hottest chicks ever!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:29 pm
by wherewereuin82
[quote][i]Originally posted by plagiarism[/i]

Casual Sex does not have an album out yet. Just an EP.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:30 pm
by wherewereuin82
[quote][i]Originally posted by i_like_lectric_motors[/i]
<br>Great reports and pictures, guys. Always the thread of the year, especially now that we don't have epic arguments in the NNNW.

Plag, checked out Pagiins. Killer stuff.

Yeah. I don't know how he missed that boat. We played it enough on [:p]

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:37 pm
by wherewereuin82
Very good review Plag. Always love the humour [:)]

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:39 pm
by edwardnky
[quote][i]Originally posted by wherewereuin82[/i]
<br>Very good review Plag. Always love the humour [:)]

Yes. So proud to call him my bro.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:55 am
by Frau_Blucher
GREAT reviews. Finally coming up for air to see these. As always, you wish you had a time machine to go back and see the stuff you missed.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:28 am
by Frau_Blucher
And Eddie Munoz plus the Red Sox organist! Where else ya gonna see that?!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:25 am
by tileboy
Glad to hear Pagiins and Chain Gang of 1974 are as good live as their recordings. How does a band with Leila Moss get a D though? Great reviews from everyone.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:28 am
by Frau_Blucher
[quote][i]Originally posted by tileboy[/i]
<br>How does a band with Leila Moss get a D though?
Look, Leila and I may both have duetted "Jackson" with BrakesBrakesBrakes" and she's a goddess with the Duke Spirit, but this was heinously annoying. Not sure how.