SXSW Day 3

Posted in Music, New Bands, SXSW
By Sam Bathe on 20 Mar 2009

Despite the early start, yesterday proved a little slow on the bands front, so I promised today to squeeze in as many shows as possible.

Taking up the slack just after midday, a surprisingly full Beauty Bar crowd watched on as The Shys got day 3 going. Saving new material for one of their longer sets, instead Kyle Krone and co. mixed material from the back catalogue including a wonderful reworking of The Usual Unusuals. With a bright future ahead of the Californian band, their sleek rock sound is set for big things in the future.

With foreign acts drying up after mid-afternoon, I decided to see how the American audience was taking to a couple of British bands. Playing in an almost all English afternoon at the Cedar Street Courtyard, The Whip brought their dance-electro to Austin with remarkable success. Though they have achieved good things in the UK without ever really breaking fully through, the US crowd were really getting into every track and after final track ‘Trash’, threw up a deafening round of applause.

Next came Late Of The Pier, whom definitely have broken through back home, and the Austin audience were equally into their music. Struggling a little with the SXSW routine of soundchecking in the 15 minutes gap between bands before they perform, even with their own sound tech., they struggled to get the balance quite right, but including a couple of brand new tracks, you can’t deny their talent and their own new wave could also do big things in the States. And what’s more, they got into a fight with the bouncers at the end of the set. With even organisers mis-calculating how much time they had left, the band were cut off before their final song but finding one guitar that was still live, continued to play before a bouncer rushed on stage and held up synth player Sam Potter by the neck before frontman Sam Eastgate jumped in, only to be thrown to the stage’s side stairs himself. The venue soon realised their mistake, however, and the band shook themselves down and completed their set to rapturous cheers.

Running over to Mohawk the second Late Of The Pier finished, we caught Delta Spirit for a second time, and it turned out to be quite a show. This time able to finish their full set, mixing tracks from brilliant album ‘Ode To Sunshine’ and some new songs, when it came to set closer ‘People Turn Around’, the whole crowd sang back every word, in what felt like a defining moment for the LA band.

Before the full evening schedule, with Cedar Street Courtyard running behind schedule, and as we hadn’t seen White Lies live before, we had the chance to see the UK’s breakthrough band of the year so far. Their dark, murky glam rock works just as well live as recorded, but still feels like in no time at all, it will sound dated. For now though, they’re giving it a good go.

Breaking in the evening’s entertainment, Bear Hands kicked things off at Mohawk. The American band’s complex pop-rock sounds diverse with catchy lyrics and they certainly won over a few fans.

After such a promising start, I had hoped for even more from The Ettes. On tour with Kings Of Leon for their recent US dates, they sadly though didn’t quite cut it. Some of their lo-fi rock was good enough but their songs were all a little too similar and lacked distinction or that one catchy riff.

Recently signing to Vice Records, the final show of the evening was a tough choice but Japanese Motors won out. Very reminiscent of early Strokes with a little less eclectic Vampire Weekend thrown in and their chirpy pop-rock could well prove popular, especially given their on-stage presence.

And with that it was back to the hotel to re-charge for a busy final day.

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