Delorean @ 1100 Warehouse
It's always weird to remember that Delorean are an actual band rather than one lone guy manipulating sample tracks and beats on his laptop. Weirder still is seeing those same producer influenced club jams being reproduced live, by the same band member, without a laptop or computer in sight. Delorean haven't released any music since 2010, so it's nice to see they could get a placid of South By Southwest concert goes (at a Pitchfork showcase no less) to dance a little. Delorean's songs tended to blur together after a while, but that's OK because it was a nice soundtrack for the afternoon, and an even better change of pace from the magnitude of guitar bands I had been drenching my ears in for the past day and a half.
Youth Lagoon @ 1100 Warehouse
Two songs; that's all the outside crowd got of Youth Lagoon for the final performance at the Pitchfork day show. Due to the entire showcase running 20 minutes behind, and a far too long sound check that caused the whole crowd to grow angsty, Youth Lagoon stated 30 minutes later then they should have. To be fair, the songs the band did perform sounded incredible; frontman Trevor Power voice sounded impeccable and had a new confidence that wasn't there when I saw him last year. His bandmates were stellar, and together they managed to reproduce point by point every tone and weird sound that is embedded into Wondrous Bughouse. However, only getting two songs was still horrible, and needless to say the entire crowd almost immediately started booing and begging for just one more song once Powers's announced that their just finished "Attic Doctor" was it. However, the cries feel on deaf ears and the 6:00 P.M. outdoors curfew. The Youth Lagoon set was probably my most disappointing set of SXSW; if just because of circumstance alone.
Night Beds @ Red 7
Night Beds caught me completely by surprise, mainly because I came into their set with one of the worst mindsets imaginable during a SXSW; knowing in advance how a band would sound and what they would be like live. Night Beds are cut from the same cloth as much of their indie folk contemporaries: twangy-falsetto from the frontman, slow-burning and tons of passion in every song, a hints of some sort of a country influence, here courtesy of the lap-steel playing band member onstage. However, Night Beds raised so much higher than those similarities while performing; every track had a soaring quality to it, so even when it just began with Winston Yellen's hushed vocals and quiet strumming, by the end the song closed with crashing drums and all three guitarist ringing thunderously. Even with the five members and all their equipment looking claustrophobic on stage, their energy was never contained, so much so that by the end of the set Yellen smashed his guitar into his mic stand, sending it flying. And it wound up being the most appropriate ending to a set that was just bursting with energy.
Bleached @ Red 7
I wanted this to be the set that converted me into a Bleached fan. Their sunny garage-pop has been the talk of the blogosphere for nearly a year and a half, and for the life of me I can't get into them like everyone else. And unfortunately, their just cemented the fact for me. There was nothing wrong with the set per se; the Clavin sisters and co. were tight and lively, the band's harmonies never faltering, and the songs were all less than three minutes bursts of pop hooks and pure energy. And I think that was the problem. Nothing about their sound grabs me like it should, as if their music was filling out the "new garage rock band" Madlib, even if this set was filled with brand new material. Their is a soul lacking in their music that stops me from connecting to it like I want to. Although "Searching Through the Past" was awesome live, so maybe there is hope.