Mar 212009

I’m a believer in fate, so after re-assessing all the good fortune that came my way on Friday was a result of getting a late start and, contrary to our weekly feature, avoiding Wavves at any cost. So far that’s been a hard habit to break. Stumbling out at 2:00pm I made my way to see Crocodiles. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and what I saw wasn’t even close to the sun-baked Darklands-esque clang I’ve heard recorded. Instead the San Diego duo took turns dousing their ready-made beats with druggy, drowsy, drone and flecks of bratty psych. It was one continuous buzzsaw boring at the skull and that was much better than the standard issue set of songs they’ve easily could have projected. Fashionable to the point of pain sure, but I’d prefer the boys run around dressed like mods than rockers.

Even if I feel like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer in a land where the iPhone is yet to exist, Pitchfork does exist, and everyone and their under-aged brothers and sisters know this. Their annual bash was packed to the point that it was hard to even navigate between Emo’s two stages. Set times were also a drag, as it seemed to take the Dirty Projectors a full-hour just to get on track and subsequently make me head for the exits. The band was achingly pretentious, using three female voices as fodder for the lead singer’s heartbreaker croak. Precious indie rock has a threshold, and the Dirty Projectors were constantly hemming and hawing around it. This might be a sign of my age, but how would that explain my love for Diplo?

Diplo was the reason I had suffered through the swarm. This was billed as Major Lazer, but the set really just amounted to Mr. Pentz and A-Trak switching off in a round of dueling DJ. Diplo’s had the pulse of youth for some time now and any time he gets the opportunity to mix it through his bank of world rhythms, nothing can sound more “now.” I’m not a follower of the culture—unless of course it is associated with the Mad Decent universe—I’m a follower of the drum, and Diplo could easily loop minimal beats for an hour, and as long as my nostrils can feel it, the man can do no wrong. I’ll be at the temple again today.

WFMU and Aquarius Records dragged me over to Spiro’s to ingest potions of metal, glass shards and other foreign objects in the form of Mexico’s XYX, Gary War and the mighty Mayyors. It would be unfair to chalk up Mr. War as simply a follower of the Blank Dogs, but he does mine similar terrain, if slightly more deranged and less tuneful. XYX on the other hand know their model, stomping on pedals like the femme equivalent to the Unholy Two’s aural gang-bang. But most amazing was Mayyors. I’ve seen Rusted Shut and I’ve seen Pissed Jeans, and many other bands that can use the word “fuck” to describe what they do. The Mayyors, however, got me lost in a Butthole Surfers-syled K-hole of hate that took a good half-hour escape.

My inner-child urged me to try my luck at seeing Metallica. This was the scene outside Stubb’s. There may have been a thousand or so people flanking the place just to hear them play. Chaos ensued. I stood in line. I saw them. That’s a different story all together. Stay tuned.

Amanda Blank had me smitten. Though I’ve been hyping the Rye Rye, Blank might be the dark horse as she can sing a cold-wave ballad as easily as she can spit through a banger. On the total opposite end of the spectrum the loft-pop party band Cause Co-Motion were irresistibly catchy and gloriously unraveled.

My night-cap came from King Khan’s brass and voodoo James Brown revue, leaving Emo’s with a nice full-band version of “Welfare Bread” and then off to Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, who, by the time we arrived, had a stage full or revelers to end the evening.

One more day to go. I hope I survive.

Mar 212009

After a few hours of relaxing and watching basketball, Mayyors hit the spot with their set at Spiro’s. Totally raw and aggressive, these guys were a force.

After that, I made the tough call to skip Devo and instead set up camp for the evening at the packed Beerland for the In The Red showcase. The ITR highlight came via Mark Sultan’s set. I hadn’t heard anything by this iteration before, but was legitimately blown away.

The Intelligence was ok—nothing spectacular, but the performance (and their records) was enough to warrant catching them another time. I get the feeling you know what you’re getting with the Vivian Girls by now. If you like them, you’re going to enjoy their set. I think I may be on the Vivian Girls-fatigue side of the equation, though.

The night ended with a set by Thee Oh Sees on the Beerland patio. The crowd overflowed on to the sidewalk, creating one of those unique SXSW moments as passers-by stopped to check out the commotion. I’d prefer to see them in a more traditional setting before fully weighing in on them, but it was a scene nevertheless.

Going Strong

 Posted by at 5:16 pm  No Responses »
Mar 202009

I’ve seen two really good shows back-to-back. First Box Elders played a fun set at Beerland. The new songs sound polished, and their debut LP is apparently due out in July.

Right now I’m watching Earthless with J Mascis on guest guitar. They’re playing some solid (and loud) stoner rock jams.