South By Southwest

SXSW Review: The Whip, Cedar St. Courtyard, March 20, 2009

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | 1 Comment

The Whip, SXSW, Cedar St. Courtyard, March 20

Austin – It was the third day of SXSW when we headed over to the Cedar Courtyard to watch Filter Magazine‘s showcase of UK bands. Having been on a high alcohol, low sleep diet, most of the people at the Cedar Courtyard were tired and just barely waking up when Manchester’s The Whip took to the stage. With tired hipsters standing out in the Texas heat in the middle of the afternoon, it would seem like a daunting challenge for the band to sell their dance rock music to the crowd. However, from the opening beats of Lil Fee’s drums, it was pretty clear that the Whip was here to wake us the fuck up.

With a massive drum beat, larger synth sounds and Danny Saville’s snarling deliver, The Whip rounded the tired Rayban-wearing crowd up and turned the courtyard into one large messy dance pit. Highlights from the set included an extended version of the song ‘Divebomb’ – the second song of the setlist, which probably gave everyone in the crowd this mindset:

‘wow these guys are going to be awesome – who cares if its 90 degrees outside, the sun is burning a hole in my skin and I am on four hours sleep… I am f’n dancing!’

So basically, for the next 35 minutes, the crowd at the Whip was bouncing up and down, clapping, arms in the air, all while working on what was probably second wind adrenaline. Good times. The set ended off with their big hit – Trash. I quite like this song, but I had totally underestimated how good this song is live. If you listen to it, you can hear a slight build up coming – ‘I wanna…..I wanna…I wanna..I wanna BE TRASH!’ The buildup for this song at a live show is tense, the tempo increases, everyone can sense the chorus coming and when finally, when the ‘I wanna be trash’ part arrives, everyone is just dying to jump up and down. Simply, a good live song. For those who want to know, there are only two lines of lyrics to this song:

I wanna be trash
And I have the gun that try you for your gun

Great example of the KISS theory.

Great show for the band, I am sure the buzz was strong because their show the next day at Latitude drew quite a crowd. I also think Lil Fee has taken over from Meg White as my female drummer crush. She was crazy behind the drum set, and probably the driving force behind the crazy beats that the Whip has. Here she is.

The Whip, SXSW, Cedar Courtyard, March 20

The Whip plays The Kool Haus with Late of the Pier in Toronto at April 10. Highly recommended.

SXSW Review – Flosstradamus at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 21

Posted on by Alli in Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Austin – Saturday was a weird and different day for the Panic Manual team. It was our last day of SXSW and we kind of went into the day feeling a bit tired and I personally didn’t really make much of a plan for my day. Obviously with such a large scale event as SXSW planning winds up being pointless a lot of the time anyway, but on Saturday I didn’t really have any bands left that were on my must-see list. So I decided to just go with the flow. Which isn’t always easy for me, because I am a spaz. Anyway.

Ricky and I split up from Gary upon arrival downtown, hit up a party that turned out to be lame, got a bratwurst, and decided to head back to Filter’s ongoing party on 4th since we thoroughly enjoyed it there the day before. We got a beer and relaxed in the comfy chairs in the bar while Asobi Seksu finished their set. We had intended to see the hip hop supergroup N.A.S.A., but unsurprisingly things were running behind and Flosstradamus were next.

Flosstradamus are a DJ duo that hail from Chicago. What took place during their set was one of those unexpected awesome times that you only get when you least expect it. We got up from our chairs when they started and walked outside to a massive, sweaty dance party that only took a few moments to get started. The crowd had joined them onstage and everyone was having a blast, and to add to the fun a circle opened up and some guys started break dancing.

This went on for the entire set and I couldn’t have cared less how sweaty and gross I was afterward. Moments of musical pleasure like that must be taken advantage of! Unfortunately we had to head out and miss N.A.S.A. The night that was to come was worth it though – stay tuned!

SXSW Review: Gomez, March 19, Stubb’s BBQ

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Gomez, March 18, Stubbs, SXSW

Austin – Having ignored Gomez for the past few albums, I went into the concert on Thursday night with mild expectations. Most of my Gomez experience has been with the albums ‘Bring it On’ and ‘Liquid Skin’ so I was expecting a folksy – bluesy kind of show. Little did I know that in the decade since ‘Bring it on’, the Southport 5-some has transformed themselves from a folksy/bluesy band to an adult contemporary rock band. I should have known that this was not the Gomez I listened to when I saw the band setting up and there was a laptop with a synth there.

Arriving on to the stage, Ian Ball immediately asked if the crowd’s feet were ‘glued to the floor’ and urged them to start dancing. I was like, what? Apparently this new version of Gomez features a steady diet of guitar rock mixed with some synth action. This is the new Gomez. They were good. Ben Ottewell’s voice is so unique in that sandy sounding bluesy way. Having three vocalists, you can really see the band use each persons voice to great effect. They played a bunch of songs I didn’t know, but all of them sounded pretty good. One of the songs I knew – Girlshapedlovedrug had a great reaction from the packed crowd at Stubbs. “See the World” also got a good response. It is also nice to see a band completely in their element on stage. At SXSW, a lot of times you see bands who only have been around a year or two or less, and are visibly nervous on stage when there is a large crowd. Gomez, being festival veterans, strolled out like superstars, engaged with their audience and created a good festival vibe during their set, either with witty banter, call and response and just all in all a very crisp performance.

Despite not playing ‘get myself arrested’, ’78 stone wobble’ or ‘we haven’t turned around’, I was pretty damn pleased with the show.

SXSW Review: Chairlift, Red Eyes Fly, March 21 2009

Posted on by Gary in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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Austin TX – Brooklyn’s Chairlift gained instant celebrity through ipod’s nanochromatic campaign, indeed that’s how I heard them first. The super flighty and infectious “Bruises” has had 3.7 million hits on myspace alone and I have to say, it’s very different from what’s on the rest of the album, which are placidly mood-setting. Because of this difference, for the longest time I had them mixed up with another 3 person boy-boy-girl band called Headlights from Illinois and actually thought I was going to see the latter instead… My bad.

This set was extremely short. But my guess is when the vocal came on stage with her blue workshirt and lace stocking half of everyone else became longer to compensate. There weren’t that big of a crowd, though. They played only 4 songs (Planet Health, Bruises and 2 others…) I think all from the first album. The singing was dead-on, but always a bit flat and not as flighty as the recordings. A few people were dancing, the general crowd reaction was respectable but a bit withdrawn, which could be why they didn’t play much… or maybe they have to wrap and head to the next show at Dallas.

I can’t really write a fair review on a short show like this… guess there’s always next time. I just found out they’re playing with PBJ in April at Phenix Theater (Toronto). Would that I didn’t wait 1.5 hr for PBJ to warrant an almost permanent No-No…