South By Southwest

SXSW Quick Reviews: Lemonade, Janelle Monae, 3Oh!3, Echo and the Bunnymen, Ed Harcourt, Sofia Talvik

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

Austin – Here are some quick reviews of some shows I went to.

Lemonade, SXSW, March 18, Beauty Bar

Lemonade, Beauty Bar, March 18 – According to Pitchfork, San Francisco based eclectic electro band was a very worthy band to see during SXSW, so we went to BreakThruRadio showcase to see them, Hot Panda and Project Jenny, Project Jan. First of all, props to breakthruradio.com for throwing together a good party. I was a bit distraught during the set of Lemonade because there was an Ipod Touch giveaway right before the set and I didn’t win. Seriously, there was like 30 people in the crowd. So the odds were good. We weren’t really feeling this band’s blend of music so we moved on for some high quality BBQ ribs at Ironworks.

Janelle Monae, SXSW, March 18, Stubbs BBQ

Janelle Monae, Stubbs BBQ, March 18 – I had never heard of this person before her set at Stubbs. After seeing her show, I am pretty sure I will hear more and more about Janelle Monae before it’s all said and done. Looking at her wiki page, I guess she has been around for awhile and even has a Grammy nod. Shows you how much I know. Janelle’s show was strong, they were dressed up like Andre 3000’s backing band and gave an enthusiastic show. This girl knows how to perform, she danced, posed, screamed and even did a crowd surf at the end of the show. I would classify her music as eclectic/retro sounding hip hop, not much unlike some of Outkast’s better stuff. Definitely worth looking into.

303, March 18, Stubbs, SXSW

3oh!3, Stubbs BBQ, March 19 – Maybe I deserved it. For some reason, I got it in me that I wanted to see Katy Perry at SXSW. I don’t know why, I only like one of her songs, but I guess seeing a pop act is something I wouldn’t otherwise do. Anyways, either she canceled or I misread my SXSW guide, because once 8:00 hit, there was no Katy Perry. What replaced her was this band called 3Oh!3, a rock/rap hybrid from Colorado. For a second there, I thought I wasn’t at SXSW but at popped-collar-frosted-tip-tribal-tattoopalooza as all the douche bags I try hard to avoid all showed up for this devil child of Linkin Park and Good Charlotte. How incredibly creative of them to name their band after their area code. 3Oh!3? more like POS. This is not my type of music, so I shouldn’t be too harsh on it. I did not enjoy it, but I’m pretty sure if I was a 19 year white kid who drives his daddy’s SUV and has pool keg parties every weekend, I would like it. They were pretty energetic on stage, so props for that.

Echo and the Bunnymen, EMO’s, March 18 – Not surprisingly, the Echo and the Bunnymen showcase started rather late at Emo’s. Everything was running late on day 1. Clearly a bit under the influence, Ian McCulloch took to the stage and sorta sang some newer material as well as classics. However, the concert was a bit hit or miss, as McCulloch at one point forgot the lyrics to one song (Rust) and stopped it halfway through. He did please the crowd with satisfactory versions of the Killing Moon and The Cutter. However, a long ten minute version of Lips Like Sugar as an encore was more then enough to clear the crowd out. Seeing how they had about eighteen other showcases at the festival, I guess they had a chance to make it up.

Ed Harcourt, Friends, March 20, SXSW

Ed Harcourt, Friends, March 20 – I guess Ed Harcourt is a partier. The second he hit the stage at the bar Friends, he announced that he has not slept for two days and looked the part. Then one minute later, he broke the string on his guitar and had to borrow someone else’s. Obviously a bit out of it, the British singer songwriter sang a short 3 or 4 song set, including ‘Born in the 70s’. I hope his set the following days were better then this one, as most people who packed the bar came away a bit disappointed.

Sofia Talvik, SXSW, March 21, Sheraton Lobby

Sofia Talvik – We happened upon Sofia Talvik‘s showcase at SXSW by accident. Once it became evident that we arrived a bit too early for Perez Hilton’s party, me and Allison decided we needed a place to chill. The Sheraton was our closest option so we went there for a pint (a cheap one too, to my surprise). I was actually quite pleased with the Sheraton bar. The beer was cheap and also they had free wasabi peas. Much to our surprise, there was this blond singer and a band playing there for SXSW. The singer was Sofia Talvik and she played a solid blend of acoustic folk music much to the delight of the people at the bar. I felt compelled to at least make a note of this performance since it must be hella tough to come all the way from Ikealand to play in a hotel lobby in Texas.

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.