SXSW Review: Cumstain, Big White, March 19, Hotel Vegas


When you give your band a name like Cumstain, you’re bound to get a bit of notoriety, sure, but you’ve also got to figure that a name like that is likely to only take you so far. Neverthless, the members of the Oakland garage punk band seemed ready and willing to consider any and all cross promotional marketing possibilities, cheekily announcing that their show at Hotel Vegas would be sponsored by Guitar Center, Wendy’s and a few others. “What else can we push?” asked singer/guitarist Sean Starling to which one of his bandmates responded, “Cocaine!” Starling already had the slogan ready: “Cocaine: blow it up your nose, don’t get it on your clothes!” They followed up that bit of stage banter by launching into “Rock and Roll Don’t Pay My Bills.”

The band continued on with their satirical piss-take on corporate sponsorship a bit later in their set and while it’s a bit of an obvious target during SXSW, it was still quite amusing and entertaining, as was their set. With their fun, high energy “California Rock ‘n’ roll” (as their banner put it) driven by a crude sense of humour, Cumstain put on a memorable performance to one of the most hyped up crowds I’d seen all week inside the packed indoor room at Hotel Vegas. Perhaps not quite hyped up enough for Starling, who encouraged the crowd to “Start shoving each other, stop being so jaded.”


Following them on the outdoor stage were Australia’s Big White, who offered up something a bit less intense, but no less enjoyable in it’s own way. Jangly at times, a bit shoegazey at others, their sound was reminiscent of a lot of British music from the 1980s – there was a heavy Cure influence on some of their stuff. The Sydney based band offered up lots of catchy melodies delivered by multiple vocalists, which added a nice bit of variety to their set. Their latest release, Teenage Dreams, is out now on Caroline Records in Australia and available on cassette via Burger Records, who were responsible for the top notch lineup at Hotel Vegas that on this day also included Hinds, Death Valley Girls, Dressy Bessy, and many more. Well done, Burger Records!

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest