May 9, 2012

Photos: SXSW 2012

[Idiot Glee @ Local 506] 
March may have been the craziest month I've had in my entire life. The month revolves around SXSW, or so it seems. The haze starts when bands start touring to Austin, then play half a million shows in that week, then tour back home from there. I tried to document as much as I could in between school, life, and being sick. The result was my complete exhaustion (and very late posting of these) along with a new sleep schedule that I haven't yet kicked from SouthBy... and it's May.

First came the bands touring down the East Coast. I managed to catch quite a few bands I knew I wouldn't be able to see in Austin due to scheduling conflicts or because they wouldn't be playing SXSW. The list included Idiot Glee, Sean Bones, Other Lives, Sleeper Agent, Fun., Cults, Writer, Quilt, Caveman, Milagres, Body Language, and Born Gold. Idiot Glee was on tour with Islands, but seeing him and Sean Bones back to back nights made me wish they were on tour together. Both were solo acts with heart melting melodies and a very different type of stage presence than anyone else I saw all month.
[Sean Bones @ The Casbah]
[Other Lives @ Local 506]

Catch more photos and tales of my SXSW adventure after the jump.

Other Lives' performance was similar to my first experience watching Youth Lagoon play. Jesse Tabish's voice is incredible live and doesn't compare to any recordings. The band's mesmerizing set made it pretty clear why they would be on the road with Radiohead in the next month.

[Caveman @ Local 506]
[Fun. @ Cat's Cradle]
[Tiny Victories @ The Pinhook]
The last time I was in New York, I was looking for something to do on a Monday night in Brooklyn and I found out that Reptar, Fort Lean, and Tiny Victories were playing down the street from where I was staying. I ended up realizing I was way too exhausted and stayed in, but my lovely host Sarah (of SoftSpot) said that I had to check out Tiny Victories at some point. Well, I did; I found out they were coming to town a few weeks later and I went to see them. And then I continued to see them again and again (sometimes planned, but mostly randomly) in Austin. These guys put on an awesome show, sampling people out of the crowd and incorporating it into their set, using strobing LED's and holiday lights, and creating space you just want to dance in.

[Body Language @ King's Barcade]
[Matthew Dear @ King's Barcade] 
Two days before I went to Austin, Body Language stopped by on the road with Matthew Dear and I fell in love with disco all over again. With dance moves of their own in tow, they turned the room into Saturday Night Fever in 2k12. I hadn't seen so many people dancing with random other people and loving it in a long time. Matthew Dear brought it down a notch, but his unique brand of electronic music still kept everyone dancing.

[Born Gold @ Local 506]
I vaguely met members of Born Gold at SXSW last year when they were Gobble Gobble. Then I re-met them a month later when they slept on my couch. Since then I've seen them play a handful of times. Their live show and sound have changed quite a bit since I first listened to them. It's... well, a lot darker, theatrical, and their new material just feels a tad sinister even when put side by side with tracks off Bodysongs.

[Tycho @ The Mohawk]
On to SXSW. The first day I went to the Prefix showcase where none other than Tiny Victories was playing. They were followed by Exitmusic, Caged Animals, Gardens & Villa, and Hooray For Earth. Somewhere between Gardens & Villa and Hooray For Earth a bunch of old friends and bloggers showed up and it was a big old reunion. I meandered over to The Mohawk next door to catch about ten minutes of Tycho's set, and about 2 of Bear In Heaven's. We finally regrouped with everyone later to watch Matthew Dear play again. When he was through, the venue shut down almost instantly and we stood on the curb chatting with the band formerly known as Natalie Portman's Shaved Head. We made a trip to Whattaburger on the way home and then called it a night.

[Youth Lagoon @ Red 7]
There was a massive amount of running around to different showcases, trying to find free food and beer, and making sure phones didn’t run out of battery. I started day 2 at Red 7 with Tycho, then La Sera. Katy Goodman quipped about the confusing weather and played some fuzzy beach rock songs. I left in search of food and was promptly honked at walking up the street by none other than Tiny Victories. They helped me on my quest for food and we returned to Red 7 for Youth Lagoon’s set that was lovely as always. The outdoor venue didn’t seem to suit their sound as much, but that belief would be changed the next evening. Afterwards, I headed right across the street to meet friends and walked into an outdoor patio where Stepdad was playing. I was ecstatic realizing that my hydration break would be soundtracked by ‘My Leather, My Fur, My Nails.”

[Stepdad @ Side Bar]
After finishing a few free drinks, I met up with David Smith, our fabulous new staff writer, for the Ghostly International showcase. There we would stay for the rest of the night, as the lineup was one we’d rarely get a chance to see in one evening. I’d already seen three of the acts, but they were just as great this time around. Our definite standouts were Shigeto, Mux Mool, and the surprisingly lovely Danish band, Choir of Young Believers. The rest of the week really blurred together after that. I went to the Mess With Texas Party and saw approximately three minutes of Girls’ set and almost lost my eardrums outdoors watching Tycho. I got food (this was continually an ordeal to find anything reasonably priced or free) and milled around for a while.

[Mux Mool @ Club Deville]
[Young Magic @ 512 Rooftop]
[Class Actress @ 512 Rooftop]
I got to the Carpark/Pawtracks showcase just in time to see Young Magic play on the narrow roof patio area of a sports bar on 6th Street. They sounded even better than when Jheri and I saw them in Durham and hypnotized the crowd for almost an hour. After being shoved around by some very drunk girls during their setup, Class Actress went on and turned the entire roof into one of the best dance parties I’ve ever partaken in. Packed down a fifteen foot wide by probably hundred foot long space, the at capacity room was dancing and singing along all the way to the very back. I headed over to Club Deville where Youth Lagoon was playing and promptly started a small dance party in the crowd with my leftover energy from earlier. 

[Talib Kweli & Bun B @ Google Play/YouTube Rooftop]
[Talib Kweli @ Google Play/YouTube Rooftop]
[The Shins @ Google Play/YouTube Rooftop]
[View from the Google Play/YouTube Rooftop]
The next day I went to see Grimes on the Google Play/Youtube rooftop. I was led to believe that a band my friend wanted to see was right after Grimes but was misinformed and Jimmy Cliff went on after her. Then after that, Talib Kweli, who brought Bun B with him. I was confused and delighted. I left while The Shins played and headed across town to Clive Bar where Tycho, MNDR, New Build, Grimes, and Yacht were set to play. There was also a sneaky little rumor someone spread that LCD Soundsystem would be playing a secret set after everyone, which had a few people excited. This was not the case, and a few people were slightly disappointed. The night was full of dancing, lots of Grimes fan boys, and random technical difficulties. The second to last day I headed to Emo’s for Mad Decent’s ‘Superparty’. I managed to see Trust, Com Truise, Dillon Francis, Teengirl Fantasy, and Hudson Mohawke in the span of about two and a half hours. HudMo had the crowd moving to his dark beats without almost ever looking at them it seemed. 

[MNDR @ Clive Bar]
[Grimes @ Clive Bar]
I headed back into town with some friends afterwards and wandered for a while before going to Ad Hoc’s showcase. We were all confused and disappointed by Nite Jewel and Space Ghost Purp, who were both extremely quiet for their outdoor sets. Space Ghost Purp’s set was almost inaudible and fuzzy, and lasted about 10 minutes, which was probably the biggest let down of a set all week. Tanlines came on last and the dancing began once again. Their energy made up for the lack of in the hour before they played. The last hurrah was had at the Hype Hotel. It was after 2AM. Half eaten Doritos Tacos were littering the back patio. The floors had a film of spilled drinks. Half the bathroom stalls were out of order. The bartenders were having ice fights with people ordering drinks. This place was pure chaos. The Knux was playing strange mashups, and the lights were blinding. I hogged the photo booth for a while and went home when the police came in to clear everyone out. It was weird. But really, nothing is weird at 4AM in Austin during South By Southwest.

Check out the entire March photoset on the Facebook page.

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