Sunday, March 21, 2010

SXSW: Day four wrap-up

As mentioned before, my last day at SXSW was basically spent trying to catch as many of the bans on my must see list as I possibly could. It ended up being a day full of a lot of running around, but it was well worth it.

I last left off with Thunder Power. After that show, I headed over to the Red 7 Patio to catch Titus Andronicus. They were part of Fucked Up's showcase along with a bunch of other bands.

I've always liked what I've heard from Titus Andronicus. They remind me (especially the singer's style and lyricism) of Bright Eyes, but more punk and with a hell of a lot more oomph behind it. Let's put it this way, it's like if Bright Eyes played at the speed of "Road To Joy" at the end when they go absolutely nuts after Conor Oberst yells, "Let's fuck it up boys, make some noise!" Titus Andronicus is in that hyperdrive mode all the time.

"Thanks to Fucked Up for making the world safe for 15-minute punk songs, like this..." frontman Patrick Stickles said before launching into 15-minutes of noise, melody, chaos, a section of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and a crowd that went nuts. It was a perfect way to end that set.

After that, I caught Rival Schools, who were hit and miss with me. The song "69 Guns" was cool, but other tunes sounded too generic rock. A lot of times they were emulating The Killers, which is something I've seen way too much of this weekend.

Next up was Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis playing solo. He plugged in his acoustic guitar (soaked in distortion), sat down on a stool and began to play. His guitar work was incredible, but I honestly couldn't get into his singing or lyrics. It was just washing over me and nothing was sticking. It was about this time that I had an internal debate about waiting to see Fucked Up or heading up the street to see Japandroids.

The basic thought was this: Japandroids is a band that I really wanted to see all week and hadn't been able to catch at any of their nine shows. Fucked Up is a band I wanted to see and knew it was a good show, but I just wasn't very excited for it. Japandroids made one of my top 10 albums last year, so I made the call and exited for the Galaxy Room.

Oddly enough, it was the venue where I started my SXSW by watching Free Energy and it's where I would end my SXSW with Japandroids.

As previously mentioned, these guys played nine shows through the week. They could have been tired by the end of the week, but I didn't see more energy or frenzied playing all week long. Brian King was all over the stage, throwing himself into everything. It was everything I've heard about their performances.

It also through the crowd into an absolute frenzy. A legitimate mosh pit formed in front of the stage, which is an amazing feat considering the usual stoicism of SXSW crowds. A few people even went up and were crowd surfing, which was absolutely ridiculous in the little room.

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That's it from Saturday. Today, I'm going to be doing a lot of writing for the paper and for this blog. I have photos, video and all kinds of stuff for you that will be posted today and tomorrow.

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