Houston Calling

South By Southwest recap: Day Two

March 15th, 2008 · No Comments

Day Two: Thursday began with a trip to CVS for Mucinex, so you know where this is going… My wife is sick; was hocking up a lung all night and is generally feeling like poo. I feel for her.

Well, after CVS and coffee, we hit the hotel and then I caught The Raveonettes at the Yaris-sponsored FreeYrRadio broadcast [free MP3s at this site]. The Raveonette’s new album, Lust Lust Lust, is a great listen, especially if you’re an old fan of The Jesus & Mary Chain. Very feedback-heavy… and loud.

The Raveonettes

I ran into Levi there, and we exchanged our Wednesday stories and recommended a few bands to each other. The man is everywhere…

British Sea Power at the Rhapsody party is my highlight so far–I am in love with their latest album, Do You Like Rock Music?, and was blown away by their performance. They play in Houston in April at Numbers. More on that later.

British Sea Power
British Sea Power

We also caught L.A.’s Gran Ronde at the Planetary-sponsored event (free food, drinks, CDs, and a gift bag). While they played an energetic set, filled with catchy Britrock-y songs, overall you’re more or less left with the feeling there are 100 bands that sound just like them.

Gran Ronde

But I still enjoyed it and will check them out in the future for a second opinion. You can decide for yourself.

I unfortunately didn’t have time to catch Tacks, The Boy Disaster this year and instead chose to take a very long walk down W. 6th Street to see Austin Collins at the Fat Caddy Records showcase. Collins is an Austin-based alt-country musician (who happens to be featured in the March issue of Envy magazine). Although his set at Molotov was plagued with sound issues at times, the band still sounded great and it was good to see him live again.

Austin Collins

I highly recommend his new album, Roses Are Black. One of my favorites so far this year.

After Collins’ set, we took a quick cab ride to the Filter party to see The Duke Spirit, a set that instantly became my wife’s pick of SXSW. There was a great turnout (thanks Penny, it was good to see you) and the band put on an incredible performance. I highly suggest checking out their new album, Neptune. Their sound is danceable and catchy, with plenty of effects and layers of guitar. Nicely done. The singer is very charismatic and sounds a bit like Grace Slick. You can’t take your eyes off of her.

The Duke Spirit
The Duke Spirit

We stopped by the Fader party again but were stopped by security because of our huge camera. Apparently, since there was the big Lou Reed tribute show happening later, they required a special photo pass other than the official SXSW photo pass. We opted to leave and then caught a lackluster set by South at Maggie Mae’s. In the band’s defense, the setup at the club wasn’t ideal for the bands playing the lower level since upstairs in the next room was another (much louder) band. South’s music is too intricate at times for that type of atmosphere, although they seemed pretty high-maintenance during soundcheck. I think that if they were booked in a smaller club without a band playing in the next room (one of the downsides of SXSW), it would have been a better set. It was really disappointing since we are both fans of their records.


After dinner, we caught Del Tha Funkee Homosapien‘s set out at Town Lakes. It was cool to see Del play and to see all us honkies keeping it real in a huge crowd. We left before hometown heroes Spoon went on–both of us have seen them plenty–and headed to Emo’s, and then to Beauty Bar for Thieves Like Us. About this time, I realized my earplugs were gone but was set on sticking it out. Unfortunately, the crowd was so annoying (and the ever-present B.O. so overpowering) that we bailed halfway through the band’s first song, which wasn’t really good anyway. I doubt I’ll even bother checking them out again.

Instead, we quickly ran up the street to see Houston’s Young Mammals (aka The Band Formerly Known As The Dimes) at the poorly-attended (at least while we were there) Houston Press official showcase. The lowpoint of this year’s SXSW was new-ish Houston band The Tontons. I am not exactly sure why they were chosen for this bill but there are many better bands in Houston that deserve it more. Sorry guys (and girl)–I just wasn’t feeling it.

The English Beat at Smokin’ Music was calling me later, along with My Morning Jacket at Austin Music Hall, but I opted to be a good husband and tend to my sick wife.

Tags: Miscellaneous · Music · SXSW

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