My feet hurt, my ears are ringing, and I have a minor sunburn, but those are just friendly reminders of all the music we've caught the last couple days at SXSW. Given the high concentration of venues, it's easy to just wander around following your ears, but so far there haven't been any major surprises.
Young British buzz band the xx have been on everyone's lips at the festival, and sure enough, their free afternoon show on Thursday attracted a huge crowd that threatened to overwhelm the understaffed venue. The last few months of constant touring has turned them into a much more confident live act than they were last time we caught them in Toronto. Looks like this year could be even bigger for them than last year.
Playing the same bill were LA's Dum Dum Girls, who are mining that distorted girl group/goth surf sound that was the hot thing for a minute last year. While we're a little tired of that vibe, they brought something new to it with lush harmonies and a better sense of melody than most of their reverb-drenched lo-fi competition.
Caught Born Ruffians Wednesday afternoon testing out their new material and expanded line-up, which went over well with the very Canadian-heavy crowd. Sounds like they're swinging a little harder than before, which suits them well.
Not Miike Snow, but the lead singer of Miike Snow Photo by Joshua Errett
Managed to be among the last few people admitted to Miike Snow's amazing performance late Wednesday night, in what appeared to be a tented parking lot. Still not sure how all these outdoor night time shows don't get shut down because of the noise, but Austin clearly takes a different attitude than Toronto does towards those kinds of issues.
Miike Snow's recordings have been impressive, but seeing them on a stage in front of a bunch of die-hard fans made a much more convincing case that they're ones to watch.
Edmonton's Shout Out Out Out Out were in a tough spot, going on stage after a chaotic high-energy sets by Ninjasonic and Hollywood Holt, but the electro rock band pulled it off, easily getting the room pumped up. Their albums don't always impress us as much as we'd like, but they're a highly entertaining live band.
Stumbled across Riverboat Gamblers tearing through a blistering melodic punk rock set like their lives depended on it. According to rumours, they may have just been signed to Sony, which could help explain why the mood was so intensely celebratory. [rssbreak]