March 12th, 2013

SXSW Day 1 evening or the onset of Alcoholism

So tonight was a bit of a blur (not the band, more perhaps the drunken haze). I blame jet-lag but perhaps the hops and barley had something to do with it. Still there’s something about getting off a flight and within the hour have dropped the bags a the hotel and straight out into the wonderful madness that is 6th Street in Austin. First to the meeting point for seemingly every Brit in Austin, The British Music Embassy for Huw Stephens presents showcase. Got to see all of Lucy Rose’s set, first time I have seen this 5piece band and was really impressed by a sort of fusion of several styles but put together in a package that is eminently palatable. Then caught a few opening tracks from the always excellent Tallships before having to race 8 blocks to the Mohawk to meet up with my DJ old friend from WOXY Days, Mike Taylor to see Blue Hawaii, followed by Hundred Waters. The room for Blue Hawaii was so packed (probably well beyond fire regulations) that it was impossible to get anywhere near seeing the band. You would think that with hundreds, possibly thousands, of venues, there would be some space a most but sadly this is not the case. One can walk past venues with bands playing their hearts out to zero people and then others where there are so many people crammed in, they are a disaster waiting to happen. So, back to Blue Hawaii, from what I could hear, good, electronic, ambient dancey, female harmonies, intrusive bass (although the latter could be because I was listening from the bar). Taking advantage of the exiting crowd from Blue Hawaii after their set, Mike and I shoehorned our way into the room. Probably a bad move as then it was 30 minutes of bodies writhing, pushing and rubbing, sort of takes me back perhaps to the early days of learning about sex. Whether the close bodily contact coloured my opinion of Hundred Waters I’m not sure, but this two girl, 5 piece harmonic/electronic band perhaps tried to be a little too experimental with incredibly complex and varying beats in the same songs. Two really accessible tracks which I suspect are their ‘ready for radio’ tracks.

We then walked out into the Mohawk outside stage and initially what I thought to be some ’80′s throwback band but it was a change in the schedule and was DIIV playing a track I had never heard before. They had been on my list to see and I just caught them by happenstance. As it took most of the set for me to realise who the hell they were (clearly not very experienced at this music business after all these years), I think I need to see them again as perhaps the quest for beer got in the way (becoming a regular theme you will note). Was about to leave (having been up for 24 hours by then) but some familiar friends took the stage, Cloud Nothings. I would have trouble hiding from anyone my passion about the band, heck, I was on the point of signing them before the excellent Wichita took he well earned lead. Whilst they are now no ‘new act’, if I saw no more bands one than them, I would leave SXSW happy. Their signature 15 minute live track, Wasted Days was immense.

So to my bed, ready to heckle my friend Amul Batra of Fwinki Management tomorrow who is giving a talk at the Conference Centre about how to break an overseas band in the UK A braver man than me.

Heist or Hit © 2015