We may have arrived in Austin one day into the festival, but our first 24 hours of SXSW 2010 were almost more than we bargained for.  This dilemma was aptly summarized by the singer of Fucked Up, Father Damian/Pink Eyes, when he growled to the crowd: “Hey, it’s Austin! It’s SXSW! It’s either booze or cocaine, right?” and after a pause added, “Me? I prefer energy drinks!” before launching into a song that gave us that boost of energy to go through the next eight hours.

Yorkshire’s best were just wrapping up at The British Embassy at Latitude 30, with anthemic, pretty poster lads One Night Only toasting American girls and “getting pissed.”  Wales brought in their bands next, with Polly Mackey and the Pleasure Principle dishing out sassy Brit rock almost every bit as traditional as the Welsh Rarebit, Lamb sliders and tea cakes that were being served up on the sidelines to the hungry crowd.


Back down Sixth Street, Klub Krucial was host to a smattering of French acts.  First on, General Elektriks, took such a long time to set up, that we almost drowned in free champagne while waiting.  The afro-blessed bassist took the time to use the side stage as his own green room, picking out his hair, changing t-shirts and adding a chiffon scarf, perfectly tied around his neck.  That’s entertainment!  Once they kicked in, the band’s funky fresh, louche French electro made for quite the energetic afternoon.

Meanwhile, Melissa Auf der Maur’s pre-release party for her latest album, Out of Our Minds, was an elegant affair, aided by generous pours of Lucid absinthe.  From what we saw of the new videos and heard of the songs, the album promises to be epic in red and black, and of dark forest proportions.  Auf der Maur seems to get better with age, like a fine wine.


We then just made it to the Levi’s/FADER Fort to see the grand finale for the night.  Fucked Up proved quite the finish, leading fans to crowd surf, stage dive and mosh to the band’s growling tunes, as they should.  Singer Father Damian/Pink Eyes apologized to the crowd for his weight.  I’m not sure if he was feeling larger than life or he just thought the slim, hipster crowd was too fragile for his fiery girth, but the crowd was definitely eating it up.

The Phoenix, rated as one of the sexiest bottle service lounges (located in the bottle service district) in Austin, got the crowd down and dirty, with host to Matt E. Silver’s hand-picked selection of full-on glitz rock.  Turbogeist, led by Mick Jagger’s son (who goes by the odd nickname Jimbo Mutant Shinobi, invented to prevent unwanted Facebook pokes), is almost too pretty to be dishing out their angry grunge songs about deep and meaningful topics like “ice cold beer.”  Would we be more ready to buy their angst if we could put aside the fact that they seem a band of trustafarians rather than street punks?  Maybe that’s unfair but compared to Elevator Fight, up next, they seemed plastic, imitating emotion that they thought would get you to like them.  The stage was flanked by groupies who were almost indistinguishable from the regular set of girls who populate bottle service venues, their drinks provided by the owner or promoter, most active was Alice Dellal who practiced an impeccable head-banger hair swirl during the bands most metal moments. Elevator Fight, on the other hand, was the real rock and rage deal, led by just as famous and just-turned-twenty-one singer Zoe Kravitz.  In one interview they describe their sound as “liquefied panda”, we think that means that they are very good at coming up with evocative metaphors on the fly, we do know their tunes are as tight as Kravitz’s pants and totally mesmerizing.

Back on the other end of town at Emo’s, Local Natives, a stunning quintet from Silverlake, are one of the big bands to watch at this year’s festival. Their songs raised the rafters with symphonic flair and mustaches, full of four-part harmonies, tribal rhythms and double drums that roused the crowd into a proper festival state.



Adam Green, up next, seemed oddly placed in a night between soaring bands like Local Natives and Delta Spirit.  Nevertheless, he gave one of his best shows, almost as if to prove that you don’t have to be swellegant Americana to win over the truest music fans. If you’ve got Green’s Morrison croon and more shtick and sass than you can fit into a ripped t-shirt and flaired jeans, you’re ninety percent there. You’ve got to give the guy credit for having a crowd with its first three rows chock full of underage girls either clever enough or wearing enough of mom’s makeup to have slipped past the bouncers.  One lovely lass called Magdalena admitted she’d first gotten wind of Green through hearing Moldy Peaches on the Juno soundtrack but now she can’t get enough.  Aw, I couldn’t have guessed! –Madeline Virbasius, Photos by Tear-n Tan and Eileen Murphy

  1. [...] Sentimentalistmag photographer Tear-n Tan got right to it upon landing in Austin on Thursday. Get in on the action caught on SXSW 2010 official stages as well as at parties from the [...]