South By Southwest

SXSW Review: Von Blondies, Vice Lounge, March 18, 2009

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

Austin – Heading into SXSW, one of the bands that were really high on the list in terms of ‘must see’ was Scottish band ‘Glasvegas’. I had missed them when they toured Toronto previously, and the tickets for their show on April 1st had sold out quickly. In order to ensure that I was going to be able to see Glasvegas, the Panic Manual team decided to get to the Vice Lounge quickly. This meant seeing both Von Blondies and PBJ before they came on.

First, a little bit about Von Blondies – They are a garage rock outfit from Detroit best known for their association with Jack White. By association, I mean lead singer Jason Stollsteimer’s face made love to Jack White’s fist over and over again. I am sure you have seen the pictures on TMZ or Smoking Gun by now so no need to post it. It was a pretty brutal beating, not like Mankind – Undertaker Hell in the Cell beating, but pretty close. The Von Blondies have been pretty silent since the Motown Music Mayhem, but in 2009, they finally released their follow up LP to their hit album Pawn Shoppe Hearts, It’s called Love, Hate and then There’s You. With a new album in tow, the Detroit band naturally hit up SXSW.

The Vice Lounge was packed when we arrived for the show. I mean fire alarm hazard packed. I don’t want to blow any whistles but I am pretty sure violated many fire regulation codes during the time I was there. However, this is the Wild Wild West and I guess anything goes. There was very little room to spare when we got in about 10 minutes into the set. To be entirely honest, I was very busy finding a seat to really pay attention to the concert I do know this – they were pretty good. Their honest blend of guitar rock layered with Jason’s solid yelling type vocal delivery was a perfect fit for this crowd, which was peppered with people wearing many, many combinations of plaid shirts. I had no idea that there were so many kinds of plaid shirts, but now…I know. I guess this wasn’t much of a review, the new material sounded similar to the old material and the crowd went pretty nuts when the opening riff of ‘C’mon C’mon’ went on. I was instantly transported back to a time when I was five years younger and remembered ‘hmm that song was pretty good’.

I haven’t heard much of their new album, but my fond memories of pushing through the crowd and finding a sitting spot besides two really old people will definitely inspire me to check out how the new album is.

SXSW Review: Ladyhawke, March 18, Stubbs BBQ

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

Austin – New Zealanders are starting to rule the world. First of all, you had Xena, Warrior Princess. Then you had Lord of the Rings. Now, there is the Flight of the Conchords. Enter Ladyhawke. Exploding into the scene last summer with the sensational summer dance floor romper ‘Paris is Burning’, Ladyhawke has been all over the internets in the past eight months, including endorsements from famous blogs such as Perez Hilton and of course, Indie Kid vs Dance Kid. I was quite excited to discover that Ladyhawke would be playing SXSW and had marked this down as one of the shows I needed to see here in Austin.

Having an early slot at the SXSW can be a curse or a blessing. On one hand, it’s early, and a lot of people are still getting their wristbands, hotels and just generally, getting their shit together. It runs a risk of being a semi empty show. On the other hand, it’s early in the festival, and you have the crowd’s undivided attention . It’s the first show and people haven’t ingested the liters and liters of alcohol that they will have over the next four days.

Having seen another blond girl with dancey electro music (Lykke Li) put on a rather crap show just about a month ago, I was a bit skeptical of what kind of show Ladyhawke would put on. All my skepticisms were put aside when the band arrived on stage and lead singer Pip Brown walked on with a guitar and looked like a musician instead of a pagan Swedish version of Mary Kate Olson. The modest New Zealander (aren’t they all?) said a quick hello and launched us into a world of bright lights and disco beats. The band was a lot more funkier then I expected, the band’s drummer and bassist provided semi packed crowd at Stubb’s BBQ more then enough reasons to get dancing. Playing material from her full length debut album, Ladyhawke quickly ripped thru each song, whipping the enthusiastic fan base into a dancing frenzy (the ones at the front anyway). With a full band, a pulsating drumbeat and hair raising bass lines, the album’s material definitely translates better live. Ending off the set with an extended version of Paris is Burning and My Delerium, Ladyhawke left the stage with crowd cheering for more, a sign of a job well done.

Good show.

SXSW Review: Meat Puppets [Stubbs; March 19 2009]

Posted on by Gary in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | 3 Comments

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Austin TX – Cris Kirkwood. Nuf said.

SXSW Review: Peter, Bjorn and John, March 18, Vice Lounge

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | 2 Comments

Austin – Before going to Vice Lounge on Wednesday, I had associated the letters PBJ with all things pleasant – Peanut Butter and Jam and Peter Bjorn and John. However, as of Wednesday night, one of those things is no longer pleasant, and lemme tell you – it’s not the one you eat. Peter, Bjorn and John as you might know, is a Swedish indie pop band that exploded a few years ago with the whistling super pop hit ‘Young Folks‘. That song was everywhere, your grandma knew it. Since that time, they have been dormant ..until now.

With their fifth album “Living Thing” being released on March 31st, the Swedish trio went into SXSW to once again impress the hipsters with their blend of soft melodious indie pop. It was a great opportunity to remind the people just who they are. This is an ADD generation that forgets who jumps from one band to the next as quickly as bands jump from one groupie to the next. I talked to a few fellow SXSWers about PBJ before the festival and they didn’t seem that excited. You talk to the same person three years ago and they probably would have given their first born rabies to get into the show.

Luckily for PBJ, they were nicely set up on the first night – following rockers Von Blondie and leading up to the nights big show – Glasvegas (which Allison reviewed). This was the perfect opportunity to impress some folks (some…young folks muhaha). Like Matthew Fox, the opportunity was Lost (lame). SXSW runs on moderately tight time schedules, each band has about 40 minutes to play and 20 minutes to set up. PBJ took a long time to setup. A really long time, maybe 45 minutes. When something like this happens, people get a bit worked up – everyone goes on tight schedules here and when something goes off, well, this screws things up. After what seemed like an eternity, PBJ took the stage…and sucked.

How is it they sucked? First of all, they had sound problems thru out the whole show, disrupting any kind of flow they may have. Sing a bit, stop a bit, sing a bit..stop a bit. Bad for the crowd. Secondly, the music, for some reason, was dry and awkwardly paced. The band didn’t seem to know what they were doing and when you have to wait 45 minutes for a band to set up and then the band goes on stage and looks all confused, it results in a high level of suckitude. We also suspect the band had their fair of drinks before the show. At one point, they attempted to whistle (maybe to start off Young Folks?) however, they failed at that attempt and just went into another song. It didn’t help that when they did get everything working, the new material did not seem to hold up to the old stuff (especially the Justice influence children singing sampled filled single “Nothing to Worry About”. All these factors resulted in the crowd turning on the band halfway thru the set and well, lets just say, most people were glad when it was over.

Having said all that, they are playing two more shows at SXSW, I wonder how they were.

heres a song from happier PBJ times.