Friday, March 20, 2009

SXSW - Day 2; Texas Fever

The problem with sleeping in during SxSW is that for every hour you snooze you miss approximately 200 bands. True. So, with 1900 acts playing at this year’s festival, you may feel like you’ve wasted quality gigging time by rolling out of bed, hunting down a bus-stop, crawling into town on public transport surrounded by feral punks (and their dog) and then hopping it to the Aus showcase only to be confronted by Guy Sebastian. Holy hell. Lesson learned: no more sleeping in.

Normally it’s hard to run in the stifling Austin spring heat but the dash away from this ex-Idol putting the arse into soul was easily done. The doors to the Dirty Dog Bar sprang open to welcome me into the arms of Hollywood crazy Juliette Lewis and her new band Juliette & The New Romantiques – here, Lewis takes on the role of rock star Juliette. Lewis plays it well: one-part psycho; one-part Cherie Currie; one-part Hollywood crazy-turned-rock-star. And when the gig is over the band haul their own gear… except Lewis, she immediately flees backstage (not sure if she packed her own mic up first or not).

Headlining over the New Romantiques were UK metallic punkers Gallows. Frontman Frank Carter moves straight into high-octane mode. He is the new king of punk – it’s just that us peasants need to catch up. Pissed off with the small size of the audience (which he also describes as “eighty percent industry wankers”), Carter takes the show off stage and into the crowd. He clears a stage-size space on the floor by racing back and forth, mic stand dangerously in tow – fans know to move back fast. Songs crank out ferociously as Carter relocates all the Gallows, bar drummer Lee Barratt (he remains alone on stage), to play between the stage and the front bar. Audience mingle with band; heads bang; thumbs break (or so Carter claims); band members dispute (Carter doesn’t want to play a song but his brother insists); cameras flash non-stop. Gallows know how to get premium coverage even when numbers are low.

A quick stop back at The Pita Pit (see yesterday’s entry) for a bite and dining inside is one of The Matches who asks if I’m from Australia… I run. Perhaps the t-shirt with “Australia” emblazoned across it was the giveaway. Out on the street Oakland lad Steve Taylor has gathered a crowd playing organ in the middle of the road (but not ‘middle-of-the-road’) with just a drummer accompanying him – a nice jazzy jam distraction before being KB’d at Emo’s Annex where the Gig Of The Night is kickin’ off (Little Boots and NASA are playing there later) so bottom-of-the-bill Micachu (& The Shapes) is (are) viewed from outside the containment area. Cute as buttons, the playful Brit trio steal sound ideas from ‘90s dance and churn it into chirpy leftfield pop. And, oops, people begin to form a line behind me mistakenly believing my not-good-enough-to-get-in position is the queue for entry… sorry.

Back to the Aus showcase at Friends, now in evening mode, and Sydney rock’n’roll duo The Fumes are doing their garagey thing, showing Texans, and other international visitors, that Mr Sebastian is not best on offer from Down Under. Phew. Next door at BD Riley’s it’s time for Swiss foursome Choo Choo to be officially deemed Highlight Of The Day. Their perky new wave power pop more than makes up for later arriving at The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart gig and finding it sold out. Lesson #2: Get to bed early, try again tomorrow.


Soulfan said...

From all accounts Mr Sebastian did well(read the Undercover story, a far more credible online site than yours) and as he is releasing in America in a few months with a major record company, unlike some of the people you missed by sleeping in, I guess he wouldn't give a rats arse what you think. Going by your fellow blogger's Myspace friends list, not a lot of other people in the world do either.

thawking said...

Hey Guy, how's the cactus treating you?

noparadise said...

Doesn't take much for the Guy fans to get their bitch on. Perhaps if he was a DECENT MUSICIAN they wouldn't get so sensitive.

Soulfan said...

This post of yours could land up being the most commented on for your whole blog. Hang on. It already is. I just checked all the other entries going right back to 2005 and discovered the previous record was 2 comments, and one of those was from one of you. And that is the only entry ever commented on until this one. Such a lot of interest in what you write. I seem to have elicited as many responses with one comment as you have in 4 years of blogging.

Anyway I shall leave you and your two best friends with a comment from one of the other showcases Mr Sebastian did at SXSW. An invite only one sponsored by Billboard. The comment is from a voting member of the Grammy Awards.

" At BMI brunch watching amazing new artist Guy Sebastian. He rocks. Big things to come"

Adam Askew said...

Dear Soulfan,

thanks for taking the time to check out the blog, and my MySpace page. FYI, the blog has been running for 4 months (previously it was a radio show).


Fedup said...

Hey Soul Fan whoever you are this fellow is entitled to his opinion not everyone in the World is going to love Guy's music,their right, hey I am a big fan and when I read someone who is obviously a fan of Guy's doing this it makes me sick,do you reckon Guy would like you doing this grow up.