SXSW Wrap Up Part 2

Now for SXSW Part 2, almost a month later.  Worth the wait perhaps because I have some interesting footage below, including the Death From Above 1979 1st reunion show/riot and Odd Future crew who are on the booster rocket to stardom.  Onward…

Day 4

Odd Future

Part of Odd Future’s success is certainly due to their unhinged live shows.  These guys are young, virile, and reckless and you know it by watching them perform.  They whip the crowd into a frenzy even before they take the stage, simply because the legend of violence and chaos from their previous shows precedes them.  Of course, you need good beats to start with and that combined with Tyler the Creator’s gravelly voice have the makings of good, grimy, hip hop.  And outlandish, immature lyrics certainly help to get the kids into it (as someone over 30, I’ll try to pretend to be offended so the kids can think they’re being rebellious).

A couple notes about the video from the show below – I wanted to see OF at the Thrasher Party @ The Scoot Inn because it was being billed as an all-ages show, which I thought would add to the energy.  That was true, but upon arriving well over an hour before their set, the line to get in was around the block.  Instead I decided to get a spot on the chain link fence outside with a clear, if distant, view of the stage and good sound.

The Scoot Inn is located east of I-35 in a light industrial zone and judging by the bouncers and other staff, is probably a punk bar/venue.  These are guys you don’t want to mess with.  Fortunately, for my entertainment, many who couldn’t get in decided to do just that.  The first few to jump a high rear fence made it, but soon the staff got wise and started semi-violently ejecting jumpers.  One guy hesitated while still at the top of the fence, and a bouncer nimbly bounded up the interior wall, forcibly shoved him off.  The would-be trespasser fell backwards a good 8 feet.

At one point, after Odd Future went on, the plastic ties holding two pieces of the chain link fence got snipped and people about 6 feet to my left started pouring in.  I was content to stay outside as I saw several of those people get the “hammerlock shove-out” from bouncers that were getting increasingly ornery.  Of course, at least 20-30 people got in scot-free.

The show itself didn’t disappoint.  The kinetic energy generated by OF was off the charts.  The music was decent for a hip-hop show – shows I usually find disappointing  sound-wise.  I can’t say the music is insanely new or overwhelming, but that’s what the performance is for.

Tyler and crew stage dove from increasingly higher points: first from the stage, then the speaker tower, then the rooftop.  At some point a stage dive by Tyler broke some poor kid’s nose.  In the video below, during Tyler’s high profile track, “French,” the first thing you see is the broken-nose kid talking with staff.  Then you can see Tyler and I believe Hodgy Beats up on the speakers, just above the blue tent in the foreground.  Tyler jumps from there, then later (at 2:38 on the video below) you see Hodgy fall from the sky (actually stage rooftop), feet first:

Toro y Moi

After that chaos, I was ready for a mellow afternoon.  I walked up around the corner to the Pitchfork #Offline festival that was winding down.  Toro y Moi, major buzzband with its second release just out, was just starting their set.  It was nice afternoon set, the sound set up there was very good as far as Austin venues go and the sun got low while the breeze picked up.  I have a hang-up with Toro mastermind Chaz’s voice that no one else seems to mention – a little hollow and off-key at times – but with a full backing band, the music was great.   The last time I saw Toro, it was just Chaz and a laptop as I recall.  This is a major step up.


Later that evening I headed to the Dickies party at Lustre Pearl.  During the Interactive conference part of SX, the Pearl was a great spot not too far away from the convention center, but away from the chaos of downtown.  It’s an old house with a huge backyard.  For the Dickies showcase that backyard had a fairly big tent in it for Noah & the Whale, Gayngs, Black Lips and Little Dragon.

Gayngs, a super-group of indie rock that has come together to make smooth “yacht rock”/70s am gold, is great.  I have a soft spot in my heart for this kind of music.  Plus what’s better than Justin Veron of Bon Iver doing backing vocals with an auto-tune or vocorder effect?  Toward the end of the set, they brought out Har Mar Superstar who brought the house down with a rendition of George Michael’s “One More Try” (forgotten single from the Faith album), which you can see in the second clip below.

Black Lips

The Black Lips predictably led to some good old fashioned moshing.  I took a little video, but it wasn’t any good, which is saying something.  I enjoy the Black Lips.  I never saw them when they were really reckless, but they still messed with the crowd a bit.  Just good old dirty garage rock, nothing wrong with that.

Little Dragon

Little Dragon was incredible.  Up to this point I hadn’t seen them before, seemingly missing every one of the countless shows they seemed to be doing around LA in the last couple years despite KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad’s constant hyping of them.  I even missed their Coachella set last year.  Anyway, it was good stuff, but I only have one album (Machine Dreams) so wasn’t sure what was what.  Was too ‘in the moment, man’ to take any video.

Day 5

My last day of SX started with the Mog party right back at the Mohawk again, where it seemed long ago when I had seen No Age and Washed Out (along with some band in which comedic actor Michael Cera was playing bass).  It was actually only 6 days, but SX has a way of stretching and contracting time in strange ways.  By the way, Mog is a slick app/web-service if you’re into the subscription based model of getting music (I’m not a paid spokesmodel).

Twin Shadow

I was very excited to see Twin Shadow.  I really dig his debut album.  And I’m not sure why.  This music draws from a genre – New Wave – I’ve only sometimes understood or enjoyed, and from artists that often revolt me, well, namely Morrissey.  But there is something different with Twin Shadow that I can’t put my finger on.  Maybe the music is bouncier and the voice more smooth and slightly less vulnerable.  Maybe it’s the production on the album.  Maybe it’s the nostalgia for an 80s prom I never had, yet for some reason actual New Wave is from actual 80s proms so it’s tainted (wow that’s convoluted…).  Maybe I just haven’t given the Smith’s and Morrissey a fair shake.  (Hey I like some of The Cure and Depeche Mode.)  At any rate, this set in the tiny Mohawk indoor stage was much anticipated.  It was fairly up close and personal, but the music sounded pretty good for the room.  When Mr. Twin Shadow, George Lewis Jr., said “see you next time” I shouted “at Coachella” to which he responded “you guys can’t get enough, can you?”  I think he was in awe of the music appetites of SX attendees in general.

TV on the Radio & Big Boi

Unfortunately after watching Twin Shadow, TVOTR was already playing and the patio stage area was packed.  So I took it in from much less crowded but also less enjoyable VIP terrace.  The stiff breeze and high perch was no way to take in a TVOTR show.  I look forward to seeing them here in May.

Big Boi was easier to hear for obvious reasons, but I was still upstairs.  He spent what I thought was an inordinate amout of time playing Outkast hits.  Be a big boy, Big Boi!  Eventually he played some of his own stuff from the underrated Sir Luscious Leftfoot.  His flow is impressive.

DFA 1979

There were some tempting options on hand for Saturday night, but in the midst of planning my final moves, I caught wind of something that almost flew under the radar: Death From Above 1979’s 1st show back since breaking up 5 years ago.  I had not seen them the first time around, and though there was a chance to see them coming up at Coachella, I had to see the first show back.  I got to the venue just in the nick of time.  While the wristband line was quite long, there were only two people ahead of me in the badge line.  Within minutes it was more than 10 people.  I still had to wait awhile to get in, but eventually I did.

Footage of the riot outside can be found in plenty of other places.  Suffice to say when the fence came down, I was ready to bolt to the Beauty Bar’s backdoor to escape the on-rush of people.  (Note: This show was in a small tent in the alley behind the actual Beauty Bar.  Its capacity was said to be capped at 200 people.  There were at least as many people outside the tent as in it.)  At the time when the fence came down, I found it curious there wasn’t immediately a dangerous crush of people.  Only found out later it was due to a small band of security and police pepper-spraying and tasering people who tried to cross the fence.  It was a song or two later, after the fence was put back up that you saw the mounted police who were actually beating people.

Below you get all the rocking hits (sorry too lazy to label them all) as well as a lot of DFA’s banter to calm down the ‘rioters’ outside.  Call your mom.  Right now.  Call your mom.


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