SxSW: Day Three

Friday started at Club DeVille at another Brooklyn Vegan event.  Greenpoint, Brooklyn band Twin Sister were playing an early set at noon.  A Lunch time gig, or breakfast rather, for the late risers in Austin is a toughone .  The band sounded ok, maybe a little sleepy.  I really like their freely downloadable ep Vampires with Dreaming Kids, but they didn’t play my favoirte song from it, the Cocteau Twins-like Ginger.

Up to this point corporate America had been hidden from SxSW experience.  Arriving at the Fader Fort that was no longer the case.  Walking through a clothing store to get into the the free booze fest was like the walk of shame.  Once through with no purchases, we headed for the stage to catch local band Harlem. Their short set was fun, but the huge festival like stage was a little too big for this garage band.  They hopped around, switched instruments and seemed to have a good time anyway.

Vancouver’s Japandroids were next and what was a mostly empty space for Harlem quickly became a packed one for this guitar and drums duo.  One thing I will say about Japandroids, they have some really big amps.

We stayed put for Drums, who were a bit over the top. I think that’s the point though.  They looked like they could have been on Factory records circa 1985 with they eye make up and styled hair.  The band appeared to be barely playing, leading me to believe that most of the music was pre-recorded.  Drums seem to be a vehicle for front man Jonathan Pierce, who pranced and posed around the stage and at times sounded more than a little like Martin Fry of ABC.

On our way over to catch the last part of the Trouble In Mind show at the Longbranch, we hit up a taco wagon for some grub and got to the Longbranch just as Ottawa’s White Wires were launching into the a-side of their Trouble In Mind single, Pretty Girl.  Their set was easily the best of the day, a rollicking good time filled with gigantic hook after gigantic hook, powerpop in the vein of such classics as the Nerves and the Breakaways.  I’m really looking forward to album number two from these guys due out on Dirtnap later this year.

Austin’s Hex Dispensers were next, and they let us have it with their hi-octane, slightly sinister punk rock.  Bill mentioned they sounded more like the Damned than the Fall for which they seem to be named.

Women’s restroom signage.  The Longbranch restrooms, won the Trainspotting award for worst restrooms of the week. Wish I would taken a photo, but I was trying to get out as fast as I could.

As we left the Longbranch, across the street on a patch of grass in front of car wash, the zany Woo-man and the Banana launched into a set of catchy garage rock.  At first it seemed like a joke, the drummer in a banana suit and the singer in a chartreuse wig and dress, but the Chicago band seemed to have their shit together.  They said they’d be there all night or at least until someone made them leave.

We didn’t stay to see if they were gonna get booted, instead we headed over to Cheer-up Charlies to see the Mantles, but that turned out to be a boondogle, as they were running behind and we were forced to endure Sun Arwas.  Not wanting to miss Standard Fare at the Slumberland/Cake Shop show we bailed before the Mantles made their appearance.  On our way, we ran into Mark Manone, former bassist of the Lucksmiths, he was here playing with Still Flyin’ and gave us an update on what the rest of the Lucksmiths are up to (not much musically).

Arriving at the Mohawk we saw a line down the block, but splurging for a wristband does have some advantages.  We walked right past everyone in line straight into the Mohawk.  Standard Fare did not disappoint with their sweet, smart pop.  The Sheffield band’s album is getting a release here in the states on Bar None so hopefully they’ll be back.

I missed Reading Rainbow to run over to Beerland to see what time Wounded Lion were going to be playing at the In The Red show.  Found out it wasn’t in cards tonight if I wanted to see Frankie Rose and the Outs, so I headed back over to the Mohawk in time for Australia’s Summer Cats.  They played all the hits including Let’s Go, Lonely Planet,In June and threw in a Left Bank cover for good measure.  I am a Summer Cats fan, and even with the hits, the set seemed a bit lackluster.  They seemed to be having fun though, mentioning how their set was sponsored by some kind of spray-on pancake product.  Must be an Australian thing.

By this time the Mohawk was filling up.  Frankie & the Outs were up next, and the rest of her other band Dum Dum Girls were in the house to see her. Frankie was sporting a hat with a wide brim, a flowing large sleeved shirt and a ton of reverb.  Too much reverb.   A lot of the songs had a surf, Link Ray feel to them but you couldn’t make out a single lyric, nor could you make out a single word she uttered between songs. The 7 inch on Slumberland and the new songs up on her myspace are all quality, but she needs to dial the reverb down for gigs.

Next up were San Francisco’s Grass Widow who currently have a two ep’s to their name, one on Make a Mess and the other on Captured Tracks, and an album due sometime soon on Kill Rock Stars.  The trio were charming, noisy and a little bit twangy.  I thought they were a neat combination of Tiger Trap and Freakwater, something you certainly don’t hear every day. Pains of Being Pure at Heart were the headliners, but  I decided to take a rain check and head home in hopes of making it through one more day shows.  On our way back we stopped for a late night bite at Taco Cabana.  There were surprisingly no bands playing there, but Ty Segall was in line behind us with same idea.

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