SXSW had just started, and as you might imagine, it was overwhelming, as too many bands, from Motorhead to Broken Social Scene to Broken Bells and everything in between, are playing every open venue available. On day one I dove in headfirst and checked out the Terrorbird/Forcefield show at Red 7, where I caught the last song in Beach Fossils’ set that had the crowd all wearing smiles. Kinda wish I had caught the beginning of their set. Frankie Rose and the Outs, whose leader has drummed for Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, and The Crystal Stilts, rocked the crowd with a blistering set of ’60s-inspired girl-driven rock with reverb-drenched vocals that the crowd was heavily into.
As a first-timer to SXSW, it was such an overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by music coming out of every crevice and every available space in Austin, Texas. But thankfully all the bands were groundbreaking, possibly the next big thing, and had something special to offer. Choir of Young Believers were the surprise of the night as this indie/folk act from Copenhagen, Denmark won everyone over with great musical choices and harmonies.
For the record, one of the bands I saw that night who literally blew everyone away was Neon Indian, a synth-heavy act who take lo-fi ’80s keyboards to another level. Led by Alan Palomo, these Austin, Texas natives, now settled in Brooklyn, tore the roof . . . er, tent off the outdoor performance space. I wasn’t sure how the songs would come off live, but surprisingly they were better than on the record, which was one of my faves of 2009.
We ended the night (not by choice) with a performance by Solid Gold, another favorite band of mine, at Vice-Lose Control 2. It was a great show, and the band played several new tracks, including “Matter of Time,” which sees the band continue to explore their inventive and very chill electronic-infused indie rock.
Real Estate, one of the headliners, had a near-capacity crowd hanging on their every word as the band played much of the material off their self-titled album.
After attempting to attend a party at Stubb’s to see The Walkmen, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Broken Bells, and Spoon all on the same bill, we quickly realized the pitfalls of SXSW and of the events that were to come, where the bills were stacked so heavily that we waited on plenty of lines around the block to get in. But tonight we quit while we were ahead.
Words by DaVe Lipp & photos by Kevin Serra