Sadly the last day of SXSW 2011, the sun was out in force for what is often the busiest (in terms of footflow in Austin) of the whole festival. First though we stayed out of the centre and plotted a journey back to Auditorium Shores and the entertainment on offer. Man Man were first up; an eclectic unconventional rock band with a touch of the dramatic Dresden Dolls about them, though really it was Middle Brother we were there to see.
Formed of members from two of our favourite bands (Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes), plus John McCauley of Deer Tick, it didn’t take long for the Texan crown to jump on board. With Matt rocking a Gibson Flying V, after crowd surfing he lost his strap and funnily powered through a couple of tracks propping it up with his arm until the end. Johnny Corndawg even made an appearance as everyone in attendance left happy.
There were two hip-hop outfits getting buzz at SXSW. Odd Future were leading the way but actor Donald Glover’s music project Childish Gambino isn’t doing half badly too. Glover packed out the expansive Red 7 Patio; charming and funny between songs, the tracks themselves are harsh and raw. Even for non-hip-hop fans there’s enough to get into, and after free-styling with Kendrick Lamar at the end, plus with Glover’s Community co-star Dani Pudi in the crowd, it was quite a show.
With an hour to kill before rocking over to Stubb’s for our guilty pleasure of the festival, we at last made the trek east of the i35 to ND. Taken over by the Windish Agency, their extensive roster offered quite a line-up the last four days but Young Empires were one of the most anticipated, and didn’t disappoint. Throwing a heap of lime wedges into the crowd during last last track, the three-piece play lively electro-rock with a strong funk edge, and with big, accessible choruses, they hold similarities to Friendly Fires though aren’t quite as catchy.
One of the bigger names at SXSW this year, at least if you’re a 16-year-old emo girl, Panic! At The Disco are back touring after a little time away from the limelight, but even two members short, they still not how to rock it. With Ryan Ross and Jon Walker gone, and their Beatles direction with them, Panic! largely played tracks off their first album, with only a couple from Pretty. Odd. and three new ones. The new guitarist is great and fits into their aesthetic perfectly, although the touring bassist still isn’t spot on. The four-piece were pretty impressive though, and threw in a more than random 30 seconds of screamo between tracks while a technical issue was fixed.
And with that SXSW was over. Odd Future were still to play at venue on 6th, but with literally no chance of getting in so we gave it a miss. Our third time in Austin, SXSW 2011 was a roaring success. Beach Fossils, We Barbarians, Gold Panda, We Are Enfant Terrible, The Romany Rye and Tennis take home our accolades for the best shows, although there didn’t seem to be as much buzz about one single act as there was two years ago for Wavves, and in 2010 for Surfer Blood. I guess that’s a good thing, however, wealth was shared, and praise rightly given across the board.