SXSW Review: Asobi Seksu [Parish, March 19, 2011]

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Baltimore – Every year at SXSW, things occur at the Parish that should stay at the Parish. It is one of those magic space, a simultaneously synchronized spacetime between this an another universe that inherits the properties of neither. It happened again this year. But first let me set the scene. Casiokids were playing as I mounted the stairs at Parish. There was no visible way of getting past the sound desk as the funnel between it and the bar was already crowded with people taller than me on stilts. I grudgingly sat down on the stupid incline – like an extended version of those intermediate areas on the TTC streetcar. I grew impatient waiting for casual sex (“Asobi Seksu”), and decided to try my luck on pushing to the front. When I came back, someone has taken my portion of the incline. It’s not even a seat! And it’s taken. What’s weirder: I was offered it back! I stood there and watched as the girl silently slid herself down, took her seat on the floor immediately adjacent to the incline and thought, “Do I look disabled, elderly, unbalanced, or all of the above?” No matter. I moved right up to the stage during intermission. The band is setting up, Yuki Chikudate came out amidst some yelps and whistles.

And then it began. I felt something push against my back. It was a girl in an over-sized T-shirt and tights, with a huge backpack. Just as I was moving my camera bag around so it wouldn’t be in her way again, I got another nudge. Same person. O-Kay. What I didn’t know, was that for the next 40 minutes I would be waltzing with this person, dancing to keep myself diagonally opposite in order to avoid her bouncing backpack and waving bushel of long hair while she rocked out, screaming “play Citrus!”. That’s not even a song title! It’s like asking Pink Floyd to play the Dark Side of the Moon… they can, but that just doesn’t make sense when they can play other albums. The bizarre chain didn’t end there. As I stepped further and further back, apparently I touched a girl’s toe. So I did the Canadian “soury”. 2 seconds later because his brain works like dinosaurs’, lo and behold, her guardian angel came lumbering forth, tapped my shoulder and said: “Hey! You stepped on my girl friend there.” Nice. All I needed after being pushed around by a mixture of hair and backpack, was a bald-headed douche with half a follicle covering his single-digit IQ reminding me that I have sinned against the opposite sex. I ignore him. And then was tagged again. I turned to see that another concert goer leaned forth and said, “you should punch the guy”. WHAT?! Where am I?

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Anyway. That’s enough of that. Asobi Seksu was everything that I expected them to be from the records. Like more popular bands, they don’t deviate much because so much is integral to the music that it’s difficult to adapt on the fly. And they only chose the good numbers. They started with two new songs, “Coming up” and “Trails”, the latter I like quite a lot. I could still identify a clear Japanese stamp. Although I won’t be able to say who wrote what, there is always an “opening up” in the later half of each song. It applies to “Trails”. Also “Thursday”, “Strawberries”, both of which were performed. And it was always in these dance-dream pop moments that my nemesis the backpacker waved her fanny around. Ugh. Oddly, Asobi Seksu finished with a Jesus and Mary Chain cover, Never understand. As usual, I like the acoustic version a lot more – you can hear Yuki more, too. That’s something which did not translate completely at the Parish. But it didn’t deter anyone in the audience from enjoying the set. Although I’m not so sure about that backpack girl, who left a shoe during the frantic dancing… and no one told her about it.

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Posted on by Gary in Concerts, Everything, Reviews, South By Southwest

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