South By Southwest

SXSW review: Gary’s unplanned day

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

Austin, TX – I guess not everything at SXSW should be the rosy picture that we paint for you: 4 people going to shows non-stop with a hyperactive critical attitude, analyzing everything from set decor, lighting, to the band’s performance and antics, and of course, whether we got into the shows without delay or with viscous resistance. In this case, the afternoon and evening of March 18 was completely molasses for me.

Shearwater has been on the iphone since day one with Rooks, a moody ballade that immediately caught my attention (although because of how sad it is, I rarely need it to remind me how sad my life is…). They also have a new album out, The Golden Archipelago, I believe. Coupled with the fact that Fanfarlo was next, of course I went to see them. The vocal is perhaps even more booming and mind-boggling in person.

After listening to more bands, I decided to head out of Galaxy room. Bad decision. I wondered the 20C Austin for the next hour in hopes of finding something interesting without success. I then headed to Fader Fort (courtesy of Levi’s). Just because they don’t make jeans in Canada anymore doesn’t mean they have no presence – in fact the security at their fort had a bit too much presence, and took the word FORT literally – wouldn’t let me into the line while my colleagued waved lackadaisically. Sigh. And this was after walking 20 min out to the highway. And then as I looked dejectedly at my plan, I found that I had missed Lou Barlow, at the Galaxy room no less…

So I headed back. And listened to The Low Anthem, American folk/rock’ers from Rhode Island. I did find them enjoyable. Their also resonated well with the audience – you might be surprised to find that it doesn’t always happen that way – a lot of people end up seeing shows that they never planned to. Keep reading and you’ll see…

And then the Middle East, from Australia. They were quite energetic. I’ll save my breath because I think Cheryl has already written much about them.

And now for the grande finale of this day. Since Broken Social Scene and Band of Horses were going to play at Stubb’s, I took to lining up. About 20 min after, the 100 people line was told that the show was now only open to badge holders. OK. It happens. Along with another fellow poor sucker, I joined another lineup for the XX. 1 hour and some later, we were again told the same thing… OK. Now what? We decided to hit The Toxic Avengers. But then this fellow Southby’er got the venue completely mixed up. So we ended up listening to teeny rock. She then bolted for Toxic Avengers, and I stayed for Deer Ticks. And to add insult to injury: Ricky had to tell me that he got into Stubb’s while Broken Social Scene was playing. Sigh. I miss toronto?

SXSW Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Parish, March 17

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


The final band (that I saw, anyway) from Wednesday’s Showcasing Scotland gig just so happens be one of my favorite bands of last year. Their album “These Four Walls” was in my top five and I didn’t get to see them last year so I was pretty excited.

The first thing you realize upon seeing this band live is that the reach of singer Adam Thompson’s voice knows no bounds. He’d step a few feet back from his microphone and singing at the top of his lungs, you couldn’t even tell he wasn’t mic’d. Actually, I walked past a patio they were playing at on the way to our hotel to write this just now and I could hear him from over a block away, over everything else happening on Red River Street. I was thinking that people he goes drinking with are probably deaf, I can imagine him standing on a table in a pub singing his heart out after a few beers.

Highlights that got the crowd bouncing and dancing were “Quiet Little Voices” and “Short Bursts”, but every song was basically a singalong. Good times, hope they get working on a new album before too long because I think they can only get better.

SXSW Review: Codeine Velvet Club, The Parish, March 17

Posted on by Alli in South By Southwest | 1 Comment

codeine velvet club

Continuing the evening of Scottish music at the Parish was Codeine Velvet Club, a group formed by singer Jon Lawler aka Jon Fratelli of .. wait for it.. The Fratellis. Their self-titled album came out in December 2008 in the UK and is slated for release next month on Dangerbird here in the states.

This band is pretty well put together; all male members in classy suits, and the group contains a horn section. Their sound would easily fit in at a swanky club scene from a 1940’s movie. Very smooth but still rockin’ at the same time. Female singer and co-writer Lou Hickey reminded me of Dita Von Teese and had a strong stage presence whenever she sang solo. Lawler said work has begun on a second album and it should be interesting to hear more of this band.

codeine velvet club

SXSW Review: Marina & The Diamonds, March 18, Lamberts

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

panic manual marina and the diamonds

Austin – Shows like Marina & The Diamonds on Thursday nights are the reason why SXSW is so damn fun. Playing in front of a packed crowd on the second floor of the bbq restaurant Lamberts, Marina Lambrini Diamandis absolutely enlighten and enthralled everyone with her show. It was completely awesome.

For some introduction, Marina and The Diamonds is basically Marina, a 25 year old Greek-Welsh singer songwriter and her backing band. They play extremely catchy, dare I say, anthem-ish songs that range from pop ballads to electro-pop numbers. Her album The Family Jewels will be out in the US in May.

Wearing a Planet Hollywood jumpsuit, Marina and the Diamonds took the stage after a lengthy soundcheck session and proceeded to deliver one of the best shows I’ve seen at SXSW. This girl can absolutely sing. She hit all her notes and delivered each song with great authority…yet there was a lot of playfulness to her stage presence. She would dance, pose, wink at people and just looked like she was having a blast. As a result, everyone was also having a blast. The setlist was what you expected, a collection of songs off her EPs and LPs, including sing-alongs to many of her hits including I Am Not A Robot and Hollywood. I was surprised how much better the songs sounded better live then on album, which is always a great sign.

What a show.

Marina and the Diamonds will be playing Fader Fort today and Perez Hilton’s party tomorrow.