sxsw

Meijin's SXSW day 4

My final official day at the annual SXSW closed with what felt like a 5K. Arriving at the Filter Magazine Cultural Clash party in the Cedar Street Courtyard, I once again caught Norway’s jumpsuit-wearing dance crew, Datarock, who played until they were “thrown off” the stage, followed by New Zealand’s soft alternative quartet, The Naked and Famous (top picture). An attempt to see Surfer Blood ended quickly at the first glance of the mile long line, but LA’s new wave- meets- psychedelic rock act, Superhumanoids, and Toronto’s solo electro-pop act, Diamond Rings provided a soundtrack for the ideal spring day. A trip across the Congress Bridge led to folksy sensation, Bright Eyes (picture below), at the Auditorium Shores, where thousands flocked to enjoy the mini-festival atmosphere fraught with food stands and light sabers.

The trek back to downtown landed me at the Texas Rockfest’s “Roial” stage, a chic rooftop space where Black Taxi played amongst a roster of metal bands. Around the corner at the Speakeasy, Austin’s The Frontier Brothers’ energy radiated to the crowd and dragged people out of their exhausted state and had them jumping for joy. One last hike to the “Roial” roof ended my evening with Austin’s very own hard rock trio, Chronolung (picture below). SXSW 2011 had officially come to a close.

Meijin's SXSW day 3

On my third day of SXSW, I was showing clear signs of slowing down (temperature in the 80s hasn't helped). Despite my zombie state, I sauntered over to Beso Cantina for the Moheak Radio party, a station for whom I DJ, to show support; there, Austin’s Tony Scalzo and the Familiar Strangers were crooning convincingly. Next, was the Baeblemusic Party at The Phoenix.



The Rural Alberta Advantage, Toronto’s indie trio, soothed the audience with dreamy harmonies. The Boxer Rebellion, whose members are from Tennessee, England, and Australia, engaged with their rock with a twang, and warmed the crowd up for Norwegian headliners electro-rock band, Datarock (top picture), who pranced about in matching red sweat suits and sunglasses, promoting their new single, “Catcher in the Rye.” After a taco break at Chupacabra, I hailed a cab to the 21st Street Co-Op, a group of dorm-style quarters with rooms dedicated to live performances. I paid a visit to virtuosic Brooklynites, Apollo Run and hopped downtown again to Club De Ville for LA’s Gram Rabbit (picture below), whose twists on cowboy get-ups and interpretive dancer wearing a bunny suit, combined with their danceable and echoing electro-rock, consistently make them a band to note.

Another trip to the Co-Op landed me mid-set for NY’s duo, Hank and Cupcakes (pictured below) and my night’s closers, Black Taxi. An “early” 1am evening seemed like a good idea in anticipation for the following day, the last of SXSW. – Meijin Bruttomesso


 
 


SXSW Day 3: Ben Kweller, Living Days, Bahamas, The Autumn Defense

Another day walking South Congress in the sun...Bahamas at the San Jose, a very well-named guitar and drum duo, sounded like the islands: laid back, quirky, carefree. Before that some thumping electro-pop from Living Days, somewhat at odds with the beer & taco vibe at Guero's. 

Kind of enjoyed the improv mood that sprang up at Music By the Slice after they were forced acoustic, so returned there in time to check out Still Corners, who I don't think were ever very loud to begin with. The Autumn Defense turned in an elegant set at San Jose; but easily the highlight of the day was the Ben Kweller listening party for Go Fly A Kite. 

Billed as 'blogger kegger', it was a low-key event in the backyard of the very hip St. Cecilia's Hotel, involved a couple of kegs, pizza, some toddlers running around. Kweller said a few words about the album + old school recording process, and pressed play...and Go Fly A Kite sounded rich, warm, vibrant, fun. Maybe it's the beer talking. If it was the beer talking, the beer liked the album quite a bit. The beer would like to listen again. Kweller's left his previous label (ATO) + started his own (The Noise Company), seems to have done him good.

And we head back out... 

Meijin's SXSW day 2

St. Patrick’s Day at SXSW 2011 was unlike any March 17th I had ever experienced. The Deli Magazine teamed up with Brooklyn Lager, GAT5, and Black Knight Productions to showcase thirty bands, eight of which I was proud to present, on three stages at Hotel Vegas/Volstead Lounge in the heart of downtown Austin at the Brooklyn BBQ. My day began with The Gay Blades, who are becoming a household name. Unfortunately, the set was cut short by a loss of diesel power. The crew quickly replenished the generator for the outdoor stage, but TGB unleashed some mega-phone free-styling, a resourceful and entertaining solution to the unexpected events.

Fueled up, Fan Tan (top picture) hit the stage, while speed metal, Goes Cube, shook the indoor “Dive” stage. Bouncing between stages, I encountered Butcher Bear Soundsystem with Charlie who included a man in a yellow bear suit, pretty painful for the 86 degree Texas temperature. Following the plush performer was reggae-tinged rock quartet, Deadbeat Darling, special guests, fashionable and punky The Vandelles (pictured below), and ethereal Dream Diary.

As the sun set, the crowd grew and feasted on BBQ , enjoying on-the-house beverages (during the last quarter of ever hour), and one of NYC’s top artists, soothing, bass-driven, The Dig, outside, while piano accompanied poet, Emily Greene (pictured below), played the acoustic “Volstead” stage, and The Wicked Tomorrow’s sultry sound stopped attendees in their tracks.

Continuing the rock duo them, The Courtesy Tier echoed throughout the “Dive” space, followed by guitar-heavy Blackbells, and simultaneously, in the backyard, Black Taxi drew the crowd into a dancing frenzy. The ear-catching melodies and moving vocals of Brooklyn trio, Apollo Run, pulled the audience indoors before the last, but not least, dynamic and rhythmically complex decibel., closed the BK BBQ with a bang, literally, as the duet landed in a pile atop the drum kit. All in all, the day was a memorable and proud twelve hours for New York music. - Meijin Bruttomesso

The Smoking Popes New Album

The Smoking Popes released their latest album, This Is Only A Test, on March 15th and performed down at SXSW the next night. The album is triumphant return for these '90's Chicago punk-pop hero's. The album is a concept album of sorts, and the band is currently down at SXSW tearing it up. Check out their live performce on JBTV here, and the video for their new track "Punk Band" below. 

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