SXSW Review: Matt & Kim, March 18, Fader Fort

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matt and kim

Austin – Wow.  What can I even say about this show?  It’s a little hard to be objective about it.  In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to say anything negative about this show unless you’re a dick who hates awesome fun.  Matt & Kim are the happiest band on the planet and they want you to be as happy as they are.  And they work hard to make you happy.  This is the service they provide.

This was my first time seeing Matt & Kim live.  from what I hear, they always put on a hugely energetic set, but due to the fact that this was SXSW and Matt & Kim were really amped up after seeing Odd Future play sometime before them, it might have been even more high energy.  Ridiculous stage banter, Kim bootie dancing while being held up by the crowd, tons of balloons with Matt & Kim’s face on them, and the duo playing snippets of big, dumb pop songs such as “Apache” and “Do You Think You’re Better Off Alone.”These are just a few of the crowd pleasing tricks Matt & Kim have in their repertoire.  For added star power, they were even joined by Erykah Badu  for one song, although I totally didn’t recognize her until after the fact, wondering who that woman banging nonchalantly on a cymbal was. 

At one point during their set, Matt dedicated a song to everyone who’s ever seen them before and come back again.  After seeing them for the first time, I’d say that list would pretty much include everyone who’s ever seen them live before.  Unless they hate awesome fun.

Daylight by mattandkim

SXSW Review: Foster The People, March 17, Cedar Courtyard

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Austin – Already armed with hit single Pumped Up Kicks, Los Angeles band Foster The People was all over Austin this year hoping to further their profile with a host of shows at SXSW. I was at their showcase at Filter’s Culture Collide party, a series of concerts that in recent years have been a launching pad for bands such as the Temper Trap, White Lies and Late of the Piers. Taking the stage at 3:00pm, the three piece band spent the next 40 minutes playing rather radio friendly tracks to the packed crowd at the Cedar Courtyard.

With lead singer Mark Foster manning a series of synthesizers, I initially could not place my finger on who Foster The People sounded like, then after hearing tracks such as Houdini, it hit me – Foster the People reminded me a lot of Passion Pit, if Passion Pit was in love with Billy Joel. Summery melodies laid over electro beats, it became pretty apparent that this band will be headed for popularity shortly. Hit single Pumped Up Kicks had the crowd moving and while the bands music wasn’t as large a revelation as say, Temper Trap were last year in terms of blowing the fans out of the water, the band definitely delivered on their hype and I expect more catchy things when their debut album Torches hits the stands in May.

Here are some other shows
3/25 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
3/26 Seattle WA High Dive *SOLD OUT
3/27 Boise, ID Reef
3/29 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
3/30 Denver, CO Walnut Room
3/31 Kansas City, MO The Record Bar
4/1 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
4/2 Chicago, IL Schuba’s *SOLD OUT
4/3 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
4/5 Montreal, QC Petit Campus
4/7 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
4/8 New York, NY Mercury Lounge *SOLD OUT
4/9 Brooklyn, NY Knitting Factory *SOLD OUT
4/10 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
4/11 Washington DC Red Palace
4/17 Indio, CA Coachella
5/30 George, WA Sasquatch

Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks by MusicForBears

SXSW Review: The Rural Alberta Advantage, March 17, The Stage On Sixth

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Austin – It’s been quite a while since the last time I saw The Rural Alberta Advantage live, almost 2 years I think.  In that time, they have grown exponentially in popularity, selling out venues like Lee’s and getting booked to play the Coachella festival. 

The success is all well deserved, of course, and it’s great to see a band getting the recognition they deserve.  As I watched them play to a packed Austin crowd, I thought to myself, “Is this really the same band I saw playing a free show at Dufferin Grove Park all those years ago?”  They’ve come a long way since then (though technically, they were still playing a free show here in Austin, just for a much larger crowd) but all of the elements that make the band what they are were already more or less in place then, they’ve just been refined. 

 They delivered a rousing set.  Nils Edenloff’s powerful, earnest vocals drove the set forward, powered by Paul Banwatt’s crazy, powerhouse drumming.  Keyboard player/vocalist/percussionist Amy Cole added one more instrument to her arsenal with the bass pedal.  She may have had this setup for awhile, but not since I last saw them.  It was kind of fitting that I saw a Toronto based band whose first album was called Hometowns in Austin, as this show felt a little bit like a piece of home away from home.

SXSW Review: OFF!, March 17, East Side Drive-In

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Austin – I seem to be seeing a lot of supergroups at SXSW.  First Mister Heavenly, then Wild Flag, and now OFF!  Of all of those bands, OFF! has the players with the the longest pedigree.  Singer Keith Morris has been playing since the ’70s, first as the original singer for Black Flag, then as the frontman for seminal hardcore band The Circle Jerks.  The rest of the band is made up of Steve McDonald of Redd Kross (McDonald started that band way back in 1980, when he was 13), Dmitri Coats of Burning Brides, and Mario Rubalcaba of Hot Snakes/Rocket From The Crypt fame.  The band was playing as part of Pitchfork’s #Offline festival, which I just stumbled across as I was heading in the direction of Fader Fort to see what was going on there. 

The band was pretty intense.  Morris is a wild man onstage, with more energy at 55 than some singers half his age.  They blasted through a fairly brief set that lasted maybe 20 minutes, but with pretty much all of their songs clocking in at under two minutes, they still fit in a lot of songs.  Their sound is pretty much old school hardcore punk, but despite the retro nature of their sound, Morris demonstrated that he’s not just living in the past by wearing a No Age shirt onstage and giving a shout out to John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, who was watching from sidestage. “That guy fucking rocks!” said Morris.  Many in the crowd were probably saying the same of Morris after this show.