Thursday started with the Austin Town Hall show at the Ghost Room. This turned out to be a brilliant decision, they had free breakfast tacos, coffee and beer. I consumed in that order. As for music, Australia’s Crayon Fields were the first on the menu. I love both their records on Chapter Music and they were a great start to the day with their Zombies-esque songs.
Let’s Wrestle who played next, upped the energy a little bit with their geeky-punk rock. They seemed to be a bit groggy, but their set didn’t really suffer from it.
From the Ghost Room we headed over to the east side, first for tacos, of the lunch type, and then to Club Pimo’s for a trip down memory lane and the Blue Aeroplanes. The band pulled out a few classics like Jacket Hangs, Bury Your Love Like Treasure, and Yr Own World which sounded especially good. They still have a three guitar attack but there was no Wojtek, the dancer they use to have on stage with them. Fun set anyway, as the sun beat down on the back yard of Primo’s
Next up was Wave Pictures and Slow Club at the Red House Pizzaria. We would later encounter both of these bands for a second time. To empasize how random the entire SxSW thing is, Wave Pictures were merely ok this time and Slow Club were a blast. That would be the opposite the next we saw them on Saturday.
We make our way back to downtown Austin with SxSW in full swing reminds me of the part in Back to the Future II where Biff has stolen the gambling book from the future and turned idyllic Hill Valley into a paradise of debauchery. At this point I made an attempt to see Lawrence Arabia at some sports bar, which turned out to be a mistake since unbeknown to me Mr. Arabia was stuck back in the UK sans visa. A quick adjustment and it was off to the Galaxy Room to the Sub Pop-Hardly Art showcase. Maybe part of laziness or part because of the mostly quality line-up, here is where I would remain for the rest of the night. I got there as Happy Birthday was conjuring the early 90’s indie-rock ghost back from the dead. Jay Mascis was there to witness it, or maybe he got conjured too. HB come off much, erm…grungier than they are on record, but good nonetheless. There were two stages set up, one indoor and the other larger one outdoor. The remainder of the night would be spent ping-ponging between the two. Male Bonding from the UK were joined on stage by their former tour-mates the Vivian Girls for a song. LA’s Avi Buffalo started out as evoking fairies &butterflies and ended in barbaric yawp of guitar freak-out.
I caught a few songs from the Moondoggies, Le Loup and Dutchesse & the Duke at the indoor Hardly Art stage, but the next band I was looking forward to was Dum Dum Girls. Everything about them breathes style which may or may not be your thing. To me it was ok, but maybe a little bit too contrived. No matter, they looked good all dressed up like dark goth goddesses. If I were a 14 year old boy I definitely would have been turned on. Who am I kidding, I was turned on too. They sounded good. I appreciated the real drums provided by Frankie Rose as opposed to the Jesus & Mary Chain Automatic era ones that pervade the album, and their Sears Silvertone guitars stayed pretty much in tune.
Final band of the night was Golden Triangle who were fun, if your idea of fun is the Fall, or the B-52’s without the services of Fred Schnieder. That’s my idea of fun, and their finale which had both singers writhing on the floor as the rest of the band freaked out on their instruments was impressively insane.