It’s the third and last day of my stint at SXSW 2013, and I’m already feeling the effects of the heat, the lines, and the day-drinking. Today’s plan: head out early to one spot and stay there. So after quickly pondering some schedules, I decide on heading over to the Brooklyn Vegan event. I’m hoping to catch White Lung (pictured above), whom by the looks of the flier has an early set. But once I get there, I find out they play a few hours ahead so I have some time. I decide to stay and check out the bands before them.
First is Peace on the Jr. stage. After a long-winded sound check, they finally start and I like what I hear. First thing I noticed was how they’re working really hard to get that Nirvana sound, vocals especially. But then they took a turn as they moved into a pop chorus with catchy background vocals. So far a mix of grunge and pop. One song in particular was so full of cheesy pop that it was almost painful, but they made up for it later in the set and in the end I decided that Peace is the kind of band you have to be in the right mood to listen to, maybe a sunny, summer day when the world seems brighter than usual. Lucky for them, they had one of the factors all set: it was a sunny day in Austin.
After Peace, I head out to the main outdoor area. The band playing, A Place to Bury Strangers, provided some background music while I worked on yesterday’s reviews. [NYC's APTBS, mere background music? You must have caught them on a sleepy, off day. --ed.]
Next band on the Jr. stage is a local one from Austin, all-girl (minus the drummer) pop group called Feathers. Their sound was dancey with an 80′s vibe, mixing keys and guitars. I’d say it’s the kind of music you’d expect from a hip, girl pop/rock group.
Outside again and the sun is blazing. The UK “it band” of the festival, Palma Violets, are on the stage, moving fast, playing fast; all I can think about is how hot it is here.
Back inside, three-piece the Doldrums are set up. One drummer, two mixers and I’m gearing up for some heavy dance music in here. I was right. Their sound is super electronic and dancey. Vocals are barely recognizable as the singer yells into the microphone while spinning knobs and dancing to his own music. I felt like I was in a Berlin nightclub and the crowd seem to too. A lot of dancing and swaying during this set, a welcome change and I even found myself swaying right along with the best of them.
Finding myself drawn to the acts of the Jr. stage over the main stage, I stay inside since Vancouver’s White Lung is about to play. Being my third or so attempt to see them this SXSW, I’d say they were worth the wait.
Singer Mish Way’s fuck-the-sound-check attitude set the bar for the set and the second the music started, she was off yelling, screaming and singing in a style I can’t help but compare to Lydia Lunch. The 90-second songs are, to say the least, fast and in your face.
White Lung plays the kind of hard song you wouldn’t really expect from a band with mostly female members (and perhaps a reason why it’s better that way). Their set was short, fast and hard, the way a real punk set should be.
The last band I see at Brooklyn Vegan is the Orwells (photo by Bruna). They have a surfy, garage/grunge sound that I can’t tell I’m actually into or not. It’s n0 nonsense, expected pop punk music but with an interesting 18-year-old vocalist Mario Cuomo (yes, that’s his name, probably bearing no relation to the NY politician, but rather, complete with a tie-dye Thrasher tee and long, curly, blonde hair), whose voice makes it a little more raw.
Time for a break. My shoulders are red from the sun and my feet are burning. So I pick up some sushi and hand off my reporting duties to my good friend Tex.
By Anthony Long
Being a native Texan, I have a different approach of how to get dodge the long lines of SXSW. I found free parking a little farther than usual, next to a BMX park on 9th street. Then I rode my skateboard down 6th Street, which, being that it was the Saturday night of SX, was completely blocked off from cars and packed wall to wall with pedestrians (almost felt like Mardi Gras).
I headed to the Volcom party at Jackalope to see my friends’ band, Dirty Fences (from Brooklyn, NY). After trying to see them in Brooklyn numerous times, ironically, it took me coming home to Texas to finally see them play. They surprised me, since I wasn’t sure what genre of rock they fell into. Everyone sings in the band, conjuring a kind of garage rock that’s not over-done but still catchy. It was energetic and tight with a rough edge. All in all, I had fun.
After escaping the mosh pit, I met up with some friends at the old Beauty Bar, now called Holy Mountain, to see L.A.’s the Warlocks, whose sixth album, their first since 2009, is coming out soon on Teepee Records. For those who didn’t know the space when it was Beauty Bar, Holy Mountain is a great small venue to see bands play. For SXSW, they added a stage out back.
Before the Warlocks went on (we had some time), we heard Brian Jonestown Massacre was playing at Hotel Vegas so we headed to the East Side, only to be disappointed after the owner of Hotel Vegas said the rumour wasn’t true.
Though we wasted our time riding East, through the door of the Hotel, we managed to hear Vermont band King Tuff, who rocked the house (even through the doorway), and I could see they had a lot of sing-along fans watching their set.
It was then back to Holy Mountain just in time to catch the Warlocks. It was a good, mellow set from this droney and dark, stoner- rock band.
The night ended like any other on 6th Street on a Saturday night, when everyone is still looking to party. That party for me was at Roppolo’s Pizza, grabbing a pie for my friends already at home. A hit-the-spot meal at the end of a spot-on day.