South By Southwest

SXSW Final Recap

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

The Temper Trap

Austin – It’s been a week since we’ve all returned from our journey to Austin. With some time to reflect, here are our final thoughts.

Best Show

Gary – Fanfarlo at Galaxy Room, March 18; crowd response AND the general way it was carried were both an experience.

Derek – The Temper Trap

Allison – We Were Promised Jetpacks; basically the entire Showcasing Scotland show on Wednesday

Ricky – Marina and the Diamonds..great energy and good crowd response.

Best Show from a band you have never heard before:

Gary – Local Natives and Temper Trap; Temper Trap destroyed their filler expectation, and I’m an ignorant dumbass so I’ve never heard Local Native before this trip.

Derek – That would be most of the shows I saw. The Temper Trap, Local Natives and The Boxer Rebellion definitely stood out.

Allison – Unicorn Kid

Ricky – Definitely the Temper Trap. I guess they were popular already, the dude can sing.

Worse Show

Gary – Galaxy Room backyard, March 17 – the stage management was horrible – bands were playing 3-4 songs a piece and things were constantly delayed because their sound guy would go missing mid-play.

Derek – Steel Train, that and every metal band that was playing whenever I walked by the stage at 8th and Red River

Allison – Whoever that awful industrial band at the Hype Machine party was on Saturday. mosh pit? come on.

Ricky – Street Sweeper Social Club. Bringing back hard rock + rap combo is not a good idea.

Best SXSW Moment

Gary – When we weaseled our way into the Filter party at cedar street courtyard, skipping a 100 ppl line directly to the front of the house… power of the RICKY on full display.

Derek – Filter Party VIP lounge. Temper Trap blew me away and 8 Jack and cokes later I was good to go.

Allison – Seeing Boxer Rebellion despite being sick, or anytime I got free drinks without waiting in a line

Ricky – Climbing over the fence at the French Legation center to see the XX, and then finding out the place where I climbed over was right behind the main stage, allowing me to scoot myself nicely to the side of the stage.

Worse SXSW Moment

Gary – When Stubb’s AND Mohawk both ran out of wristband admission on the same night after 3 hrs of combined waiting and I walked around with a stranger to unheard-of bands but discovered only teensy pop… designs of the RICKY hidden from us.

Derek – Waiting in line in cold for stupid Perez Hilton party

Allison – The ridiculous cold Saturday

Ricky -Stupid lineup at Perez Hilton Party.

There you have it. SXSW, we love ya and we’ll see you next year!

SXSW review: Maps and Atlases, March 17, Peckerheads

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

Maps and atlases, SXSW, March 17
Austin, TX – Peckerheads was relatively empty when I strolled in after a hectic Morning Benders set in the always crowded Emo’s Jr. A rock trio was on stage. And after they’ve finished I wondered why no one was preparing for the next gig. It turns out that they have 2 parallel stages, and I had almost missed Maps and Atlases‘ opener when I found out. They drew out a good number of folks considering it’s a Wednesday afternoon. Easily 150 people packed into a room 25’x60’ to see Dave, the furry frontman (our nickname for him is now teddybearman) and the rest of the band play. Similar to (maybe even more so than) Ra Ra Riot, Maps and Atlases hardly follows a lead-in, chorus, repeat recipe. Instead their tunes consist of small guitar/bass and vocal pieces that you might arrange as you like. They follow into each other nicely, but doesn’t sound like any order is necessary. The melody is also not in accord with your expectation, which is very cool to listen to… but being the choir boy I’m at a loss of what to hum when I’m listening to them… it creates a little frustration. My labmate’s favorite from them, the Ongoing Horrible, can literally be played on repeat forever (and is actually the only one I could sing to). Live, they sounded very clear and crisp. I think their strong suit must be the guitar scores. Witch might be everyone’s choice. Their CDs, however, can be difficult to track down. I tried twice to find it without success. Apparently way too few were made in the first pressing – this is from teddybearman’s manager who took a break from dancing vigorously to speak to me. Always a good sign to see that people are into their work! Go and see Maps and Atlases – they are coming to Toronto again in May. Let’s hope they bring that CD pressing machine with them.

Maps and atlases, SXSW, March 17

SXSW review: Temper Trap, Dr. Dog, March 19, Cedar street courtyard

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

Temper Trap, SXSW, March 19, Cedar Courtyard
Austin, TX – Ricky has already mentioned how the panicmanual crew are consistently impressed by Cedar street’s ability to host awesome parties. We saw some of the best shows there last year, including White Lies. Obviously that’s not solely our opinion, so when we reached the tree-lined courtyard, the lineup was 150 strong, past the Truluck restaurant – which really make one wish he/she made reservations for seafood and can just drop into the courtyard afterward. After some baking in the sun, we were ushered in via the backdoor (thank you Filter!) and directly to the front of the house. Delta Spirits had almost finished and the set went quiet for awhile. It erupted again when a Philippino-dude strutted down the side-stairs. I had no idea, initially, who these guys are. And they started playing Sweet Disposition:

sweet disposition,
never too soon
oh reckless abandon like no one’s watching you

a moment, a love,
a dream, a laugh,
a kiss, a cry,
our rights, our wrongs

The Temper Trap, Filter Party, March 19, Cedar street courtyard, SXSW 2010

I might add that you can clearly hear these lyrics – which is rare at a rock concert. I think the crowd melted on the spot, and the rest was really history. Temper trap displayed all the right characteristics of a larger-than-life rock band, including just enough theatrics and attitude. The Australian group had already been well-received – 500 days of summer featured the song above, and their songs have had more plays than a lot of the indie bands featured here, also evident by the fact that they’ve sold out at an upcoming show (Mod Club) in Toronto. I guess they’re a Killers kind of band? Their myspace mentioned they are melodramatic – I don’t know about that, but they’re definitely catchy and can be mood-building. Drums are a clear constant in their tunes – the intermissions are often just solo vocal/guitar with drums. In fact there’s a number called “drum song” – which the vocal (who, btw, has a thin falsetto that’s quite good) used as a showcase to wow the crowd – dumping water on the drums and creating something of a taiko moment. When I listened to the album afterward there were a few snippets here and there that I could link to other famous songs – there’s one riff that I can swear is from Hotel California, and I kept wanting to compare their hooks to Thievery Corp., although I don’t know if that’s really appropriate. Also showcased at SXSW was: Love Lost, Down River, and Resurrection. Overall, Temper trap was definitely the surprise hit of SXSW this year for me.

Dr. Dog, Filter Party, March 19, Cedar street courtyard, SXSW 2010
Dr. Dog came on after Local Natives, as the anchor of the Filter party. I had listened to them prior to SXSW and expected them to a bit mellow – obviously I was mistaken. The guitars and the bass were constantly wriggling on the stage! Many of their songs actually have a heavy Beatles feel. The Breeze, and Hang on, for example, for me draws parallel with  and Mother Nature’s son and Hey Jude. Far from being unoriginal, however, Dr. Dog has their own brand of lifestyle rock; you’d want to: first sing along, then change your outlook on life (regret, break-down, and cry optional) and then go live on the Californian coast with copious amounts of mushrooms. Ok, maybe only I do and I’m projecting. I had doubts that some of the songs can be played while totally rocking out instead of the polite proper rock of Beatles. I guess it works fine. The crowd really enjoyed their energy – evident from the number of people who streamed in to see them. But my pet-peeve is an incongruity between their song and stage presence. Their music deserves a listen aside – there are suppressed tones that suggest good o’times passed, and other quirks that just didn’t come to me while live. Their myspace will give you a very good idea of what I’m talking about. I’m looking forward to Dr. Dog recreating their album’s feeling on stage. That will be very good times indeed.

Dr. Dog, Filter Party, March 19, Cedar street courtyard, SXSW 2010

SXSW Mini Review: Casiokids, March 16, Creekside Lounge

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

Casiokids

My first SXSW show was Casiokids at Creekside Lounge. I hadn’t heard of them before, but  figured if they had the word “Casio” in their name that I would be in for some dancing. They did not disappoint.

Casiokids
These 5 norwegians ply a potent, airy,  dancy electro-pop that had the crowd dancing, even if we didn’t understand a word they were singing. With multiple vintage Casio keyboards, a cowbell and guitar pedals labeled: “Rock, World, Jazz, Sweden &  Grunge” how can you go wrong?