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.

SXSW Review: The Whip, Cedar St. Courtyard, March 20, 2009

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

The Whip, SXSW, Cedar St. Courtyard, March 20

Austin – It was the third day of SXSW when we headed over to the Cedar Courtyard to watch Filter Magazine‘s showcase of UK bands. Having been on a high alcohol, low sleep diet, most of the people at the Cedar Courtyard were tired and just barely waking up when Manchester’s The Whip took to the stage. With tired hipsters standing out in the Texas heat in the middle of the afternoon, it would seem like a daunting challenge for the band to sell their dance rock music to the crowd. However, from the opening beats of Lil Fee’s drums, it was pretty clear that the Whip was here to wake us the fuck up.

With a massive drum beat, larger synth sounds and Danny Saville’s snarling deliver, The Whip rounded the tired Rayban-wearing crowd up and turned the courtyard into one large messy dance pit. Highlights from the set included an extended version of the song ‘Divebomb’ – the second song of the setlist, which probably gave everyone in the crowd this mindset:

‘wow these guys are going to be awesome – who cares if its 90 degrees outside, the sun is burning a hole in my skin and I am on four hours sleep… I am f’n dancing!’

So basically, for the next 35 minutes, the crowd at the Whip was bouncing up and down, clapping, arms in the air, all while working on what was probably second wind adrenaline. Good times. The set ended off with their big hit – Trash. I quite like this song, but I had totally underestimated how good this song is live. If you listen to it, you can hear a slight build up coming – ‘I wanna…..I wanna…I wanna..I wanna BE TRASH!’ The buildup for this song at a live show is tense, the tempo increases, everyone can sense the chorus coming and when finally, when the ‘I wanna be trash’ part arrives, everyone is just dying to jump up and down. Simply, a good live song. For those who want to know, there are only two lines of lyrics to this song:

I wanna be trash
And I have the gun that try you for your gun

Great example of the KISS theory.

Great show for the band, I am sure the buzz was strong because their show the next day at Latitude drew quite a crowd. I also think Lil Fee has taken over from Meg White as my female drummer crush. She was crazy behind the drum set, and probably the driving force behind the crazy beats that the Whip has. Here she is.

The Whip, SXSW, Cedar Courtyard, March 20

The Whip plays The Kool Haus with Late of the Pier in Toronto at April 10. Highly recommended.

SXSW Review – Flosstradamus at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 21

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

Austin – Saturday was a weird and different day for the Panic Manual team. It was our last day of SXSW and we kind of went into the day feeling a bit tired and I personally didn’t really make much of a plan for my day. Obviously with such a large scale event as SXSW planning winds up being pointless a lot of the time anyway, but on Saturday I didn’t really have any bands left that were on my must-see list. So I decided to just go with the flow. Which isn’t always easy for me, because I am a spaz. Anyway.

Ricky and I split up from Gary upon arrival downtown, hit up a party that turned out to be lame, got a bratwurst, and decided to head back to Filter’s ongoing party on 4th since we thoroughly enjoyed it there the day before. We got a beer and relaxed in the comfy chairs in the bar while Asobi Seksu finished their set. We had intended to see the hip hop supergroup N.A.S.A., but unsurprisingly things were running behind and Flosstradamus were next.

Flosstradamus are a DJ duo that hail from Chicago. What took place during their set was one of those unexpected awesome times that you only get when you least expect it. We got up from our chairs when they started and walked outside to a massive, sweaty dance party that only took a few moments to get started. The crowd had joined them onstage and everyone was having a blast, and to add to the fun a circle opened up and some guys started break dancing.

This went on for the entire set and I couldn’t have cared less how sweaty and gross I was afterward. Moments of musical pleasure like that must be taken advantage of! Unfortunately we had to head out and miss N.A.S.A. The night that was to come was worth it though – stay tuned!

SXSW Review: Gomez, March 19, Stubb’s BBQ

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

Gomez, March 18, Stubbs, SXSW

Austin – Having ignored Gomez for the past few albums, I went into the concert on Thursday night with mild expectations. Most of my Gomez experience has been with the albums ‘Bring it On’ and ‘Liquid Skin’ so I was expecting a folksy – bluesy kind of show. Little did I know that in the decade since ‘Bring it on’, the Southport 5-some has transformed themselves from a folksy/bluesy band to an adult contemporary rock band. I should have known that this was not the Gomez I listened to when I saw the band setting up and there was a laptop with a synth there.

Arriving on to the stage, Ian Ball immediately asked if the crowd’s feet were ‘glued to the floor’ and urged them to start dancing. I was like, what? Apparently this new version of Gomez features a steady diet of guitar rock mixed with some synth action. This is the new Gomez. They were good. Ben Ottewell’s voice is so unique in that sandy sounding bluesy way. Having three vocalists, you can really see the band use each persons voice to great effect. They played a bunch of songs I didn’t know, but all of them sounded pretty good. One of the songs I knew – Girlshapedlovedrug had a great reaction from the packed crowd at Stubbs. “See the World” also got a good response. It is also nice to see a band completely in their element on stage. At SXSW, a lot of times you see bands who only have been around a year or two or less, and are visibly nervous on stage when there is a large crowd. Gomez, being festival veterans, strolled out like superstars, engaged with their audience and created a good festival vibe during their set, either with witty banter, call and response and just all in all a very crisp performance.

Despite not playing ‘get myself arrested’, ’78 stone wobble’ or ‘we haven’t turned around’, I was pretty damn pleased with the show.