South By Southwest

SXSW Review: Primal Scream, March 19, Cedar Courtyard

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

Austin – One of the bands I had marked on my ‘must see’ list was Scotland’s Primal Scream. So imagine my disappointment Thursday night when I arrived to the Cedar Courtyard to find it completely packed. First of all, let me set up the Cedar Street Courtyard for you. It is basically an alleyway in between two buildings, there are steps that lead down to it from the main street and then on the other side, there are steps that lead back up. The whole alley is about 40 feet wide and not too long. Actually, here’s a picture:

thecourtyard

I guess in hindsight, I should have known better that the show would be packed. Luckily for me, I was able to find a place just on top of the stairs to watch the show. I guess it would be similar to the back of the kool haus or something. Primal Scream were slotted to play at 12:45 am, but I am pretty sure they started their set about 5 minutes early. Like every other review, I do not know the set list. I just know that they played a lot of later material. The crowd was pretty hot for the band, considering it was almost one and everyone was probably running on fumes. Bobby Gillespie was quite a showman, encouraging the band to clap, put their hands in the air, getting right into their faces and belting out the songs with his trademark delivery. Here are some songs I remember being played

Accelerator
Miss Lucifer
Beautiful Future
Some song off Screamdelica (not come together or loaded or movin on up or higher then the sun)

and of course, to end off the night, the massive song “Rocks”. It was a great song to end off a pretty stellar show, I just wish I was a bit closer. Also, I wish they played Kill All Hippies, and those Screamdelica songs.

Primal Scream play the Phoenix on March 24, I wish my flight was earlier so I could go.

I feel like Skee Lo, wishing for so many things.

skee-lo

SXSW Review – Part 2: Perez Hilton’s One Night in Austin – Little Boots, Rye Rye, Kanye West, Ida Maria, Yelle

Posted on by Alli in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | 4 Comments

Austin – The party continued – you’ll have to forgive me if my details are a little out of order. It was a crazy night!

I’ll admit it, I really had no interest in watching Solange. I spent her set drinking and socializing with a new friend I met in the line for the bathroom, sprawled on a pile of beanbag chairs near one of the bars. From where I sat I actually enjoyed her songs more than I expected but it wasn’t really enough to get me to pay close attention. Hey, my feet were hurting and I was not about to miss out on the free vodka.

During the week one of my top priorities was to check out Victoria Hesketh a.k.a. Little Boots, who is so new to the scene she hasn’t even released an album yet. Originally from Blackpool, she puts to use a couple of fun musical gadgets in her shows – the stylophone, and a Tenori-on, which is a Japanese “digital musical instrument” that creates light and sound. I kept missing her and was so glad when we got the invite to Perez’s party, because it was my last chance to see her. Expectations met. She was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I could not get anywhere near the stage for a usable photo.

Ryeisha “Rye Rye” Berrain played next. She is an up and coming rapper from Baltimore, discovered by fellow female alterna-whatever-awesome-hip-hop artist M.I.A. This is where a portion of the evening was a bit of a blur to me – I got a bit distracted but I remember enjoying her set! No photo of her so here’s a pic of the swing set sitting on astroturf that was in the back corner of the venue

Lady Sovereign was scheduled to be up next. When Perez came out to introduce her, he announced she had canceled at the last minute. Lame! So he asked us to hang on, and none other than Kanye West wound up taking the stage instead. He had been strongly rumored as the secret special guest earlier on in the show, so it really was an awesome surprise to have him show up and play a few hits. Since the crowd went insane when he went on and I couldn’t get anywhere near the stage, this is the only photo I have to post:

Oh well.

After Kanye tore it up, the crowd (including myself) was even more excited for what was to come. More people than ever were dancing to the DJ’s tunes while the next band, Ida Maria, set up.

Ida Maria is actually a solo act, a kick ass singer who hails from Norway. I had only heard one song by her, the single “Oh My God” and was definitely interested in seeing her perform. She was all over the stage every minute of the set, teasing the audience and infecting them with her energy, as well as pouring a water bottle all over herself and band members, hence the wet hair. I’m excited to hear more of her over the coming months, I have a feeling I will.

By the time Ida Maria finished I couldn’t believe I was still up and partying as it was nearing 3am. The events of the evening had me super pumped for the final performer, French electropop singer Julie Budet, stage name Yelle. Her 2007 album Pop-Up is one of my favorite dance albums and she has been touring almost nonstop since its release. Songs from the album have been featured in several video games and in tv commercials, so you may know who she is without realizing it.

She took the stage and you’d have no idea it was so late (early??) – the crowd went nuts and a giant dance party erupted. Yelle connected with the audience immediately and we fed off of her never ending enthusiasm and vice versa. My arm is sore from holding up my camera trying to keep up with her, there were just so many photo ops that I must have shot a few hundred. I couldn’t resist including more than one in this portion of the review. I walked away from her set with more energy that I had the entire week, and was awake until 6:30 in the morning thanks to pure adrenaline, even after a full day of dancing and booze. If you hear of Yelle coming to your town, don’t be discouraged by the fact she sings in French – the infectious beats and melodies of her music transcend the language barrier.

SXSW Review – Perez Hilton’s One Night in Austin – Indigo Girls, Ladyhawke, Thunderheist, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, 2009

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | 6 Comments

Austin – The last day of SXSW started off kind of meh – I had been in Austin for a total of 8 days now and was totally feeling all the late nites of partying. It was originally going to an easy nite at the Parish, checking out Lou Barlow, Say Hi To Your Mom, The Rosebuds and Ra Ra Riot (which Gary did anyway). However, as we were sitting in the Filter lounge at the Cedar Courtyard listening to Asobi Seksu, I checked the crappy Iphone to find that we got an invitation to Perez Hilton‘s “One Night in Austin” party. Now, I will have to admit, Allison was the party organizer for this whole trip so I had no idea how big this was. Apparently, it’s a big thing. It was a easy decision to go to the party after checking out the excellent acts playing it. Unfortunately, it was only an invite + 1 so we had to leave Gary to fend for himself in Austin.

The event took place at an abandoned Safeway just off I35. I think Allison wrote more about the party in her part of the post, so I will spare you the details. I just have to say, it was easily the best party at SXSW, and that the dude and his peeps definitely know how to throw a party – free booze, efficient timings, laptops for you to check your email/tweets, swing sets, bean bags on the side, pretty much everything was great. Even the capacity level was just about right – enough room to move around, but still crowded.

On to the acts

Indigo Girls, Perez's Party, SXSW, March 21, 2009

Indigo Girls
The surprise act of the night, the Indigo Girls came out to a better then expected response and delivered a mostly acoustic set of songs I didn’t know. Actually, I don’t know any Indigo Girl songs, but I have heard of them many times over. It was pleasant.

Ladyhawke, Perez's Party, SXSW, March 21, 2009

Ladyhawke
Playing a shorter set then her showcase at Stubb’s, Ladyhawke just reaffirmed what I thought at her show on Wednesday – her album really translates well live. The crowd was definitely a fan of the New Zealand group and there was much dancing going on during ‘Paris is Burning’. Once again, she closed off her set with ‘My Delirium’. Good showing once again.

Thunderheist, Perez's Party, SXSW, March 21, 2009

Thunderheist
Following the likes of Crystal Castles and Chromeo, Thunderheist is Canada’s new hip dance force du jour. I’ve had my fair share of beers by now, but I am pretty sure they rocked the house pretty good. I think they also played homage to Chromeo with Tenderoni sample. I think the first song was some vocals layered over a Eurythmic track. Maybe that’s off the album, I am not sure. I do know that I will check out the album once again. Halfway thru the set, some band came on stage and burnt some dollars. I don’t know why.

Natalie Portman's Shaved Head, Perez's Party, SXSW, March 21, 2009

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
Seattle’s hipster outfit with the best band name ever came on stage wearing all things shiny and 80s. I have never heard them before. I guess I would classify them as synthy 80s dance rock band. By this time, I’ve had way too much to drink so I can’t really comment on songs. They were good. That’s all I am saying. I like how they had three singers.

Allison will take care of part 2 of this post. All in all, I thought all the acts were well chosen and they were there to make you do one thing – party. I just wished I hadn’t drank so much so I didn’t miss the most awesome parts of the night.

Apologies for the vagueness of the post, but yeah, open bar, last nite of SXSW…means trouble.

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.