This report in from Dryvetyme Onlyne music journalist Adam P. Newton, who was gracious enough to give us this write-up:
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
I had a great Thursday at SXSW. It’s easy when moods are up, the weather is lovely, and the music is good. I started my morning at the Buzzgrinder 10th Anniversary Day Party at Valhalla. The Seedy Seeds kicked things off with their fun-loving brand of intelligent indie-pop that calls to mind the hyperactive kid sibling of The Apples In Stereo. Up next was We Are Hex, a loud rock quartet that was reminiscent of the ‘70s blues rock being re-created by The Dead Weather, complete with a passionate young woman who’s obviously modeled her siren shriek after Allison Mossheart.
From there, we wandered over to Parkside for the Wunderbar event to hear Tobias Thomas spin, and he kept the tempo of the party light and fun with bubbly house and light garage-pop fare.
Esben And The Witch knocked our socks off at Beauty Bar. I wasn’t sure that the UK trio would be able to re-create this year’s Violet Cries effectively in a live environment, but I’m glad that I was wrong. The band might be dependent on technology to get some songs moving, but they also knew how to connect with the crowd.
It was a pleasure to see Damien Jurado play an intense solo set at Swan Dive, working through eight songs from 2010’s Saint Bartlett in less than twenty-five minutes. Next door at Barbarella, Fergus and Geronimo served as our only flop of the day, as the quintet’s brand of arty indie-pop failed to keep our attention. Thankfully, Yuck followed by launching a proper assault on my ears – big guitars, big hooks, and big energy. The band’s sound was tight, filled with rich overdrive tones and loud drums, right down to a rocking cover of Sir Elton John’s “Rocketman.”
We moved outside to hear Obits next, and we enjoyed the kinetic fusion of ‘60s garage and ‘80s post-punk. However, the band’s set paled in comparison to the verbal onslaught delivered by Mellowhype and some of his associates from Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All. The assembled crowd of hipsters, blipsters, and media types went nuts when the beats dropped, as this still-teenaged hip-hop collective has been drawing favorable comparisons to early Wu-Tang, especially in terms of production aesthetic and overall energy.
I ended my evening at the Village Voice Party at Austin Music Hall. I’ve been a fan of Ume ever since I reviewed the trio’s 2009 Sunshower EP, so I was eager to hear new material. Working with a new, more powerful drummer, the band did NOT disappoint. Rounding out my first day at SXSW was Times New Viking – I really do dig the band’s recorded material, but I much prefer hearing dirty, fuzzy, lo-fi sour candy pop of this nature in a dingy club where the reverb and feedback can slap about the walls with abandon. The trio was energetic and into the music, but something about the mix in that venue didn’t work well for my ears.
On to Friday!
Special thanks to Adam for this write-up — it’s much appreciated. You can also read Adam’s coverage of SXSW 2011 on Rocks Off, Houston Press‘ music blog.