Thursday, March 22, 2007

Read our full SXSW coverage!

For those of you who stumbled upon this blog from outside of the GW community, check out our full SXSW coverage of the festival for our college press at George Washington University - The GW Hatchet

Includes full-length articles on The Automatic, West Indian Girl, Via Audio, plus the Best of SXSW 2007 and Best Band Names of SXSW 2007, plus a piece on our overall experience in Austin, TX.

-Brendan & Zach

Via Audio at SXSW

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day 4: If Only I'd Known Then What I Know Now

I'm not one to dwell on regrets, but considering that it is virtually inevitable that I (and Brendan) will wind up at South by Southwest again, I have noted a few things to do differently the second time around.

1.) The hotel must be within one mile of downtown, not 20 miles. Staying too far away will mean that you end up at a Denny's at 5 AM.

2.) Possibly related: the Mega French Toast Slam at Denny's is far superior to the American Slam.

3.) Do not book an outbound flight at 6:00 in the morning. You will wind up dozing off on your computer and drooling on your keyboard, then blogging because it is the only thing that will keep you awake. I won't cop to it, but lets just say that that my 'N' key seems to have some water damage.

Here, have some pictures of The Automatic.

Grace Potter acoustic

As I mentioned after last Thursday's post, we caught Grace Potter at Cedar Street Courtyard and instantly fell in love with this girl all over again. Following her set, the crowd demanded an encore performance. While the sound guy wouldn't allow it and soon began unplugging all the mics, Grace came out with her guitarist Scott Tournet and did an acoustic, unplugged number - this girl didn't need no microphone anyhow! She can wail!

The Whigs - Holy Sh*t!

We closed out our last SXSW night with a show by The Whigs at the Blender Bar at the Ritz, The trio from Athens, GA blew us away - in fact, it was very much a religious experience (if your religion happens to be music, like so many of us down here in Austin this week.) We shot a ton of video, but the sound was so intense that the microphone on our camera couldn't handle the audio! (Thank God for earplugs...)

In fact, I was so moved by their performance that I decided to steal their set-list.
For only having three members, The Whigs can certainly deliver a highly energetic and LOUD show, all the while keeping it musical and coherent.

Looking back on the past few days here at SXSW, I could honestly say that this was one of the top 2 or 3 shows that I saw - they are NOT to be missed if coming to a town near you...

One of my main complaints about the festival is that many of the bands don't get enough time to play their sets. Although with some 1,500 bands crammed into four straight days and nights, it would be impossible for bands to play full-length sets. But damn, I would have liked to have seen them play for another 2 hours!

West Indian Girl clips and interview

Day4: I Needed a Bathroom, and I Found Electro-Pop

We started the day with a stop at the Liverpool Live showcase, where I was briefly fooled into thinking that I was in the UK. In addition to the entire lineup of bands, I'm fairly sure that we were the only Americans in the place. Consequently, I did not understand a single word that was said the entire time. Usually something about bollocks or quid or something being 'wicked.' For the record, Liverpudlians are the only species of people allowed to use 'wicked' without sounding funny. Highlights included the unique and powerful 28 Costumes, as well as inspired singer/songwriter Eugene McGuinness (video interview).
28 Costumes

With the sole intention of finding a bathroom, we found ourselves inside an extremely small makeshift club with the Austin based quartet Binary Marketing Show setting up to play. The crowd consisted of ourselves, about 10 loyal fans, and what appeared to be the singer's parents; but with a flurry of drum machines and samplers, they whipped their humble crowd into a frenzy. Just another testament to how many underappreciated bands are at this festival.
Binary Marketing Show

We finally caught a full set of Via Audio, the soon-to-blow-up gritty power pop-rockers (I wish I could describe them in fewer words, but I can't) that we mentioned yesterday. Full interview and video clips to follow.
Jess of Via Audio

Then it was off to Opal Devine's Freehouse, an interesting venue on the west side of Downtown. The always impressive West Indian Girl played an airtight set - and you guessed it, full interview and video clips will follow.


In their fourth show of the day, DC-based (and part GWU-alum) Exit Clov played a stellar set that really highlighted the vocal prowess of identical twin singers Emily and Susan.

On another whim, we decided that a particular band was too unique to pass up, based entirely on their name: Lesbians On Ecstasy. Their rapid set drew equally from The Pixies and LCD Soundsystem, and although I cannot attest to whether they were lesbians or they were on ecstasy (or both), I was hooked. You would think that after hearing drum machines during 40% of the shows for three days I would be tired of it, but Lesbians on Ecstasy brought the rock.

As if I had any doubts as to whether I was seeing some quality music, Peaches showed up front and center and danced like we all know she can.

Peaches (in green)

Off to the airport, more to follow.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Eugene McGuinness of Liverpool

Christian Scott is SIIICK!

Every now and then, it’s nice to step back from the non-stop Rock and Roll and take in something completely different. Not that there’s anything wrong with tight jeans and long-haired hipsters…
A New Orleans native, Christian Scott is a jazz trumpeter based in New York with a kick-ass band that encompasses an intensive, brooding tone. Scott plays the hell out of his Gillespie-style trumpet, exploding each note into his microphone with ferocious energy. And Scott’s band is just as amazing as their frontman.
It didn’t matter that he was extremely jet-lagged, having flown to Austin all the way from Berlin, Germany where he had just played a show. Scott and his band delivered a hell of a set at Bourbon Rocks on Sixth Street, gaining mad props from a packed house who were most likely expecting some blonde-haired, blue-eyed singer/songwriter from somewhere in the Midwest.

Also, two of the guys from The Automatic caught his set, as they were waiting to see their fellow Welsh friends Super Furry Animals play after Scott.

Watch the video clips of Christian Scott with a short interview by yours truly.