Why dare to dream away the morning when there were spicy Bloody Marys, PBR tallboys and bands to be had just past noon at the Little Radio Party at Red Eyed Fly?  We entered to hear the sunny, synth sounds of a New Wave act with hair (both bleached and unbleached) that was, admittedly, more memorable than their tunes.  Next up was the incomparable Imaad Wasif, one of the few singer/songwriters who we saw and who wasn’t miscategorized as such.  He was enchantingly dark and mysterious, albeit also a bit lully, but that didn’t stop us from being captivated for much of his set.

Another hour, another party, so we left Red River and headed to the heat of Sixth Street, where we came upon these shiny, well-endowed aliens who gave us their best salute.


Next stop was the Kerrang! Magazine Party at the Wave Rooftop, where we were early enough to catch the sound check of Isop Lovelies, our pet name for the Sheffield youths known as Rolo Tomassi (who took their name from a character in the film L.A. Confidential).


You can bet their moms are proud since these kids appear sweet, innocent and not much older than eighteen until the juggernaut of their punk-prog-metal set kicks in, complete with masterful guitar licks and blood-curdling screams.  Banshee singer Eva Spence, with her bouncy, Dorothy Hamill haircut, is the most unassuming angel of all, that is, until she lets loose with her twists, turns and spazztastic voice, all limbs and vocal chords flying.

Rolo wins hands down as the band with the greatest energy at SXSW 2009, with blazing guitar, cyber keyboards and gutteral screeches in the blazing sun.


It was a hard act to follow, but we had to rush to catch Great Northern at the Filter Party at Cedar Street Courtyard.  We got there just as Great Northern began their spot-on set in the open air, setting the mood with a couple of stirring, older hits until gravitating towards the more radio-friendly material from their forthcoming album, Remind Me Where the Light Is.

At one point, singer/guitarist Rachel Stolte joked about the intense sun by asking the audience if we’ve any coats to lend the band, laughing, “We aren’t quite feeling hot enough.”


Meanwhile, some of our posse made it to the New Music from Northern Ireland Party at Latitude 30, bearing witness to a few emo-styled acts from the Emerald Isle.  Others sprawled out on the lawns at the French Legation Museum and saw Camera Obscura, Graham Coxon and Pete and the Pirates.


We all met back at the Levi’s/Fader Fort, which this year, was located somewhere off under a bridge, down a dusty path lined with train tracks, making it a festival of its own accord.


We cooled off in the shade under a headphone tree and sipped drinks and watched sun-burnt kids dance to the tunes of Francis and the Lights, Hot Melts, and Late of the Pier. (The latter’s serious, Bowie-faced keyboardist in a glitter top was especially riveting).


Since even music journos can’t live on music alone, we jaunted over to Serrano’s on Red River, where we had some unbelievable, deconstructed chicken tacos, (the marinade was dripping like a waterfall), sitting outdoors, overlooking the amphitheater of this Shakespearian-looking space as the sun went down.


Craving dance tunes to help work off the meal, we stopped in the IHeartComix showcase at Beauty Bar for Designer Drugs in the backyard and in the front room, an utmost awesome solo chap, Juiceboxxx, who incited his audience with fiery raps.

Around midnight, we met some friends at The Great Escape showcase on Maggie Mae’s Rooftop.  We had to release our inhibitions for no good reason at all, (or maybe it was the top electro tunes), moshing while London’s Freeland performed “Under Control”.  Tonight, Adam Freeland and band pulled out all the stops and literally shook the rafters, sneaking in songs sung by surprise guest, Devo’s Gerry Casale, who whipped us out of our comas with his bejeweled turban.


Before quitting for the night, we grabbed a tequila in time to wake up for The Temper Trap, headlining the NME showcase at Latitude 30 at 1am.  We couldn’t miss this Aussie band who are epic in all ways.

Then some of our group went off in a horse and buggy (aka pedicab), while one of us stayed behind, sitting in a muddy grass patch somewhere near the Convention Center, a sadly predictable outcome of too much Quantum label tequila.–MVW and Tim Nestor (Temper Trap and Camera Obscura photo by Tear-n Tan, others by Eileen Murphy)