Austin – Technically not a SXSW showcase, Voxtrot played at the SXSW Interactive closing party (hosted by Media Temple) on Tuesday night. For me, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the music portion of my trip then to check out Austin’s favorite Smiths influenced band on their home turf. For those not in the know, Voxtrot became Panic Manual favorites a few years ago with their bouncy pop tune ‘The Start of Something’. Their music can be considered a brand of jangly indie pop.
I would figure that Voxtrot’s showcases at SXSW was because of a new album coming out, but i guess they only have a new song to promote (you can download it for free here ).
The band came on at ten and there was a rather sparse crowd watching them. Most of the people at the party were too busy watching drunk nerds fall off the mechanical bull to catch Ramesh Srivastava’s take on good well crafted pop music. Did I mention this party was an open bar? Anyways, Not having much new material, Voxtrot played a set consisting of tracks from the Raised By Wolves EP , Mothers Daughters Sons and Wives Ep and the self title LP. Despite what I thought was some muffled guitar sounds, the rest of the music was crisp. I don’t know if it’s a curse or not, but it seems like songs off the Raised by Wolves EP are STILL the most popular tracks from the band. Sad to say, they did not play ‘The Start of Something’, but I guess this was realistically just a crowd who was just there for free booze and good tunes. Well, mission accomplished for them.
Toronto – As many of you know, aside from attending the music portion of South By Southwest, I am also attending the Interactive portion as well. I guess being a web developer has it’s perks. Here are some random notes about the interactive weekend so far:
- Everyone bloody twitters. I had no idea this twitter thing was so hot before I came here. I think it’s way more popular then facebook. Everyone tweets each other. I do have to say, once I got a hang of it, twitter is ridiculously addictive. We are #panicmanual on twitter. Follow us.
- Everyone has an iphone.
- If you were a girl who likes pale guys with pony tail, glasses and a goatee, then boy, is SXSW a wet dream for you. I think one out of every 7 guys has this look.
- If you were a girl who likes overweight guys, then honey, this is REALLY the place for you.
- Apple dominates the laptop market. I would say about 60% of people attending talks has a laptop in the room, blogging or tweeting away as the talk goes on. A.D.D is at an all time high here. I am old school, so I went to the panels with a good ole notebook and a pen. Until I won a moleskin at the Adobe stage, then I used the moleskin with the pen.
- “Social Media” is the new hot word at this festival. Everyone talks about the Social Media here, you would think we are all part of some revolution or something.
- I feel a bit out of my element here, despite being a software/web developer, I pay almosts no attention to tech sites on the internet, so when people are laughing it up when a speaker makes fun of techcrunch, or when panelist refer to other internet celebrities by name (some guy named zeldman..or the people who run digg), I feel like a stranger in another world. Maybe I should look into sites that aren’t music or sports or shopping deals or celeb gossip or style related…
- Everyone here is ridiculously nice and easy to talk to. All the free alcohol probably helps.
Here are some random thoughts from the parties. Read more
Toronto – Canadian Music week is in full swing in the heart of the city this weekend.Although sparse in the early part of the evening, the Elmo soon filled up on Thursday night for a French Canadian extravaganza hosted by Sirius Satellite Radio.
We arrived in the midst of the cacophony of Duchess Says, where singer Annie-Claude was serenading the crowd with her unique brand of intense scream-singing metal and dance punk. Thankfully the set was a mix of anger metal and dance-punk, which was a much more head-boppably well received. Extra points for her stage presence, but this girl is one crazy version of Peaches. Instead of hurling obscenities, she spits a melange of beer and gum.
This girl is one crazy version of Peaches. Instead of hurling osbcenities, she spits a melange of beer and gum.
Extra points for her over-the-top stage presence.At one point we thought there was some crazy drunk in the midst of the crowd causing a ruckus by hurling beer with abandon.We were expecting the bouncers to come in and deal, but then realized it was little wrath-of-Annie herself; dancing and rolling on the floor, grabbing innocent bystanders and showering them with dance punk and beer.Well done. There were no chewing-gum-hair casualties during the making of this set.
Next up was Radio Radio—an electronic rapping foursome from New Brunswick, recently coming of a performance at the East Coast Music Awards.This Acadian troupe sang in Chiac, a uniquely Canadian dialect of English and French—a little something we’d like to call Franglais. Although full of energy, we found the whole enchilada to be frat-boyish.One of the pledglings, Timo, sported a handlebar moustache and regaled us with stories in French about birthday parties at strip clubs.This Little man was not unlike a small horny Chihuahua that’s humping your leg that you just can’t shake off.The thought occurred to us even before he fulfilled prophecy by humping the stage. Timo, small doses only please.
We Are Wolves
From hip-hop, we moved to the music of Montreal based We Are Wolves.This band appeared on the very same stage last summer for NXNE where they were plagued with technical difficulties that caused several false starts. Thankfully this time around the absence of sound issues allow them to bring their A-game.
It was minimalist electron-rock at its best.Judging from their albums, you’d never guess that this completesound was emanating from a three-piece.They keep it real with a simple setup: a sparse drum-set with a nary a stool to sit on, a lone guitarist/bassist, and keys. The band’s happier mood definitely made for a better performance. However, not much else seemed to be different between this and their NXNE showcase. There hasn’t been much new material since then, but that didn’t detract from a solid set.
It was minimalist Electron-rock at its best.
Closing out the night was French Indie starlings Malajube. This band has garnered a lot of attention since their debut album, Trompe-L’oeil. There was a musical lyricism that was missing from the night until the opening of this set.Their sound was reminiscent of a blend of Quebecois Trucker meets 80’s progrock reborn into these little indie adorables.
Big thumbs up on the grandiose sound, however thumbs down on the epileptic light-show. It was out of place for this intimate venue.Their sound and musicianship was all that was needed to attract the attention of the media and music aficionados looking for the next up and coming Canadian darlings.
Overall the showcase was strong, diverse, and well-assembled.
Thursday March 12th Clintons – 9:00 – Laura Peek And The Winning Hearts.
This is a no brainer. We reviewed Lauras album here and we played one of her songs on our latest podcast. Can’t wait to see her live.
El Mocambo – All night.
You can’t go wrong with any of the acts at the ElMo on Thursday. Go, plop yourself down and enjoy some Pas Chic Chic (8:00), Dutchess Says (9:00), Radio Radio (10:00), We Are Wolves (11:00) and Malijube (12:00).
If you are not at the ElMo, then chances are you are at the Horseshoe. ‘Shoe – 8:30 – Lovely Feathers (They rock it)
‘Shoe – 9:20 – $100 (local band, worth seeing)
‘Shoe – 11:10 – Gentleman Reg (new CD, yahhhhh!)
‘Shoe – 12:10 – Chad VanGaalen
Rancho Relaxo – 11:00 – Megan Hamilton and the Volunteer Canola
Mix it up a bit with Megan Hamilton
Friday March 13th Cameron House -11:00 – Hannah Georgas
Hannah is a darling with a strong voice
C’est What – 10:00 – Tin Star Orphans
New band we will be hearing about in 2009
El Mocambo – 9:00 -Will Currie & The Country French
If you missed them opening for Sloan, check em out now.
Gladstone – 9:00 – Hooded Fang
They put on a great show at the Steam Whistle Brewery last month.
HorseShoe – all night ‘Shoe – 8:30 – Dinosaur Bones
‘Shoe – 10:10 – The Bicycles (twee as fuck hipsters)
‘Shoe – 11:10 – Human Highway (people will likely talk all through their set)
‘Shoe – 12:10 Handsome Furs (yeahhhhh)
‘Shoe – 1:10 – Hot Panda
If you are looking for a late night, finish it all off at the Silver Dollar
Silver Dollar – 1:00 – D’Ubervilles
Silver Dollar – 2:00 – The Ghost Is Dancing
Saturday March 14 Drake – 10:00 – Parlovr (Pop Montreal show)
Their song Pen To Paper is in my head right now and it will not go away. These guys are worth checking out.