With a cold front landing on Austin, nevermind a little more unwanted rain, the SXSW crowd were a little taken a-back on the final day, but that didn’t mean the line-up was any less impressive, just the outdoor stages were a little more empty. The day show at Galaxy Room, however, was half indoor, and the inside stage boasted some of the best bands at the festival.
First up we caught Plants & Animals, a three-piece with a catalogue full of quick indie rock, touched by Americana. The band were quite similar to friends of Fan the Fire, Eastern Conference Champions, certainly a good thing, and new tracks debuted represented a step on from their already impressive releases to date.
The real reason to be at Galaxy Room, however, was up next, and from the minute Local Natives took to the stage, it was obvious the eclectic bunch out of Silverlake, LA, are soon to be something special. West Coast indie-rock mixed with the adventure of Animal Collective, their debut album Gorilla Manor is one of the best releases so far this year and live, they’re even more entertaining. For anyone who hasn’t seen them to date, they’re a must catch when they go on tour later this year.
One of our big hopes for this year’s SXSW, after at last grabbing some BBQ at Stubb’s, we headed to Mohawk to see Turbo Fruits. After hearing great things about the energetic three-piece, and being a fan of two of the members’ former band Be Your Own Pet, we braved the cold to catch their set. Sadly it was a bit of a letdown and Turbo Fruits could only pump out song after song of generic rock, with little individualism to their tracks.
Massively hyped across the collated press, it was fitting that The Drums were the band to close out our SXSW. Playing to a fairly packed Stubb’s outdoor stage crowd, the band’s indie-pop-surf has taken a new light since the release of breakthrough single Let’s Go Surfing. Though the band seemingly won over parts of the audience, their music certainly doesn’t warrant the billing they’re being given both at and outside of SXSW. Their live performance feels a little too curated, although they do just about pull it off, and despite a touch of Joy Division to tracks off EP Summertime!, they’re going to have to step up their game when they put out an album in the summer.
And with that it was over. Tiring, but packed with a heap of amazing bands, some forgettable, but as always, a thrilling experience. Same time next year.
There will be a full review of SXSW 2010 in the upcoming issue of Fan the Fire, out April 23rd.