South By Southwest

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


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.

SXSW Review: Glasvegas and School of Seven Bells, March 18-19, Vice and Mohawk lounge

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

Austin – Hello from the panicmanual’s ‘American Correspondent’ – I’m Alli, and I’ll be writing from time to time when I make it out to gigs down here in Texas.

I’m along for the ride at SXSW 2009, and here I sit in our hotel room at 11:30pm on the second night of the music portion of the festival. Crazy, right? What am I doing in so early? I’ll admit it, I can’t hang. I’m not used to all this excitement. So I’m gonna attempt to write a bit about my favorite parts so far.

The main draw for me to this fest, aside from the option of seeing any of the 1800 bands playing in less than a week and tons of free booze, was the Scottish band Glasvegas. Of all people, Tim Booth of James recommended them to me – first through a blog he wrote on James’ website, then personally when I met him last fall. I downloaded their self-titled album and fell in love with it quickly. Many people compare them to Jesus and Mary Chain, which I guess I get, as they are both Scottish and both have a knack for that “wall of sound” technique first perfected by Phil Spector in America almost 50 years ago. Comprised of four members (three male and a female drummer), Glasvegas recreate said wall of sound perfectly in a live setting, which is exactly what I was hoping for. We arrived at Vice, the club here in Austin where they headlined last night, a few hours early so as not to miss them and the place was absolutely jammed. They have quite the buzz following them around town this week and rightly so. More comparisons fly when singer James Allan takes the stage; with his wayfarers, pompadour and swagger he reminds you of Joe Strummer, almost exactly. He sings his heart out through every note and you feel it, especially during the personal “Daddy’s Gone”, a great set closer. Personally I had a lovely time singing along at the top of my lungs with every song; as best I could anyway as the Scots lyrics are nearly unintelligible (but nonetheless irresistible) upon first listen.

After seeing Glasvegas I felt like I could turn around and go home happy, even though I had just arrived at SXSW that evening. I made it my mission to see them at least once more during the festival. Lo and behold they had another gig this afternoon at Mohawk, where a party for Rhapsody was being held. Also on the bill were School of Seven Bells, whom I was very impressed with. The two female members of the 3-piece are actually identical twins, whose voices are also equally beautiful and mysterious. It was difficult to get a lot out of their set with the whole party atmosphere going on but I really enjoyed their set. Glasvegas played after them and once again packed the venue and did not disappoint. I think they may have been suffering a bit from the events of the previous night, their sunglasses stayed on and several swigs of beer were taken which only added to the charm of a daytime performance. I talked to several attendees who were there to see them simply because they kept hearing their name, even though they knew nothing about them. Awesome few hours out of the very long day that was day 2 of SXSW..