Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SXSW 2011: Thursday

No words. Just South By Southwest.

Owen Pallet @ The Mohawk

I haven't seen Owen Pallet perform in about two and half years, in 2008 when I saw him at my very first Fun Fun Fun Fest when he was still calling himself Final Fantasy. Since 2008, I have not listened to any of Final Fantasy/Own Pallet's music (outside of his "Game of Pricks" cover) for absolutely any good reason, so many that was what drew me to catching his set at the Mohawk. It still blows my mind how one man with only a violin, keyboard, laptop and loop petal can produce the plethora of sounds Pallet manages on stage. It was...entrancing, the only thing that shattered it being the many tiny technical problems that begun to sprout up as the set continued. The entire thing was the definition of what a typical South by Southwest showcase is, but it was a really good South by Southwest showcase.

Telekinesis @ The Mohawk

Telekinesis can write a catchy pop song. Scratch that. Telekinesis do write sugar coated, grin inducing, power-pop, and on the cramped stage of the Mohawk, the band managed to send that music out through the speakers to the equally cramped mass of people who came to see them. What makes them stand out in the mind is a bit hard to say, though for a band that probably would be playing six more shows through out South By Southwest, and had probably played quite a few before this one, you would have thought this was their first show. The guitarist was hopping all around in one place, and the bombast that came from front man's Michael Benjamin Lerner drum kit spread a warm glow through out the body. Hearing "Coast of Carolina" at that point, in the middle of day with a few (but just enough) people singing along was perfect, one of those small SXSW moments.

Matt and Kim @ MTV Garage

Say whatever you want about Matt and Kim's music, for those who want to call it just pop music. Or talk about the venue which was the top of a parking garage that MTV had rented out, and in turn caused a massive line to build up, which in turn caused people to begin scaling the walls. Say whatever you want because I was there, and it was fun! For the 35 minutes they were onstage, the various levels of hipsterism that encodes so many South by Southwest events eroded. People danced and pogoed so hard the cement floor began to rock up and down. A man in a green suit crowd surfed, and balloons were released into the air by the audience in a cliche, but a joyous cliche at that. No one should give shit to a band this fun, and I pity anyone who does not love them.

Tog @ Red 7

Tog was my "see whatever band is playing next at the venue your at" band of the day, and I wished I had liked them more. The seven piece flew in from Norway just to perform to the small mass of people at Red 7, yet their typical Swedish (yes I know where they're from) style dance pop just didn't grab. The hooks weren't there, it didn't make the body move like it should, something was not working. I will not blame the band, for they were one of the few where the front man braved from the stage to the ground (several times at that) to dance with the few drunks who were dancing along. It should have been a lot better, but to their credit, the spark of better music was there without a doubt.

Grass Widow @ Red 7

First and foremost, Grass Widow's set was too short. Period. And there was no good reason for this. Unless they set up late (which I don't think they did), the band only got to play about seven to eight songs in less than thirty minutes. For someone who had been waiting all the festival to finally see them, it was a true crime. However, those less than thirty minutes were stellar. As one would expect, with a band who's every music element from the call and response vocals to the instrumentation is so intertwined, the band was the tightest band I have ever seen. Nothing was out of step, every guitar line meeting the delayed vocal delivery hitting the rubber base lines. The band started, were ungodly incredible, and in the blink of an eye packing up to leave.

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