Saturday, the final day of SxSW, brought about a big surprise: the weather. What had been perfect sunny skies and 70 degree weather turned gray, windy and cold. Frigid in fact, people were walking around in winter jackets and avoiding outside shows like the plague. Starting to feel the fatigue, we got a late start, opting to check out the record and poster fair at the convention center before seeing any music. The record fair was pretty much a bust, but it was cool to see the myriad of posters and it was warm in the convention center.
We made our way over to Trailer Space Records for Wounded Lion, arriving a little early to a packed store for Zola Jesus. With no stage in the shop, it was hard to see tiny singer Nika Danilova. She rectified the situation by climbing the walls as she sang. The mood at Trailer Space was loose with free Colt 45’s flowing, I think someone could have walked out with an arm full of 45’s and no one would have been the wiser. Wounded Lion wasted little time setting up after Zola Jesus and were off and running, blasting into Belt of Orion. I mentioned earlier how the Blue Aeroplanes were missing their dancer Wojtek, they could have borrowed the guy from Wounded Lion who played a bit of bass, but mostly just danced. More bands need to revive the Bez/Wojtek dancer guy, it’s instant karma and energy. As for sound, the band are a combination of Modern Lovers, Velvet Underground and Echo & the Bunnymen, but obviously don’t take themselves too seriously. Their upcoming record on In The Red is the best thing I’ve heard this year and this performance only made me like them more.
Next stop, Beerland, possibly the darkest bar in the world. It took my eyes about 10 minutes to adjust, so I bumped my way to the front of the stage to await Memphis, Tennessee’s Magic Kids. To date they’ve got one single that’s pretty great. Live they’re a bit goofy, reminding me of a garage version of Roman Holiday minus the sailor caps. The singer, who is about 6′ 5″ liked to get out into the crowd as well as get on top of equipment to sing, this took some coordination with his lanky frame and limited space inside the packed Beerland.
Leaving Beerland with dilated pupils we headed over to Max’s Wine Dive where you can eat hamburgers, fried chicken and hot dogs paired with you favorite wine. We headed into the basement for the Black Iris show. Abe Vigoda was playing as we descended the stairs. I’m a fan of their more ambient songs like last year’s Reviver, and less a fan of their more cacophonous stuff. Their set was a mix of the two, and kept me in a love-hate relationship with them.
The basement noticeably filled up as the time neared for Best Coast to play. The Vivian Girls were in the house, this may have been the second or third time we had been at the same show, though I’m sure they weren’t wondering who the geeky looking guy with the camera was since that was just about everyone at every show. After having Seen both Dum Dum Girls and Frankie and the Outs this week it was a pleasure and a surprise to hear singer Beth Constantino belt out her songs without any noticeable reverb on her vocals. I hope they record the album with her voice front and center.
The plan from here was to head over to Red 7 for the Wooodsist show, but Bill got us to detour to check out the Uninhabitable Mansions at Latitude 30 aka the British Music Embassy. That’s term fits loosely since Uninhabitable Mansions are from Brooklyn and contain members of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Au Revoir Simone. Their set of bright shiny pop was a nice surprise and I ended up buying their CD.
I rushed out of Latitude 30 to make it in time to see Fergus & Geronimo. I’m a fan of this Denton, Texas band’s handfull of singles and was looking forward to seeing them live. They were kind of a let down though. The more soulful songs sounded great like Powerful Lovin’ and Blind Muslim Girl, but songs like those were few and far between with the rest of them sounding like generic garage rock. I’m hoping it was just an off night.
We stuck around for Moon Duo, who are indeed a duo. Erik Johnson of Wooden Shijps on guitar and Sanae Yamada twiddling knobs, they’re like mountain man and woman doing Loop/Spacemen 3 without the hooks. I have no doubt they would have been really good in altered state, but my mostly sober self got a little bored.
Like with Abe Vigoda, I’m a half fan of Woods. I like their pop songs, while I don’t really get their jam songs. I also don’t really get what the guy who was hunched over on his knees on the stage did to contribute to their sound. He seemed to be singing into a pair of headphones and at one point was blowing a trumpet into them to no audible difference.
At this point our group collectively had our fill of jams, so we decided to forgo Real Estate and the Fresh & Only’s and head back to the British Music Embassy to take in some Wave Pictures. You could argue that Wave Pictures have the potential to jam, but they reigned in the temptation tonight and blew their Thursday afternoon selves out of the water. It’s no fluke what an enthusiastic crowd can do for a band, and Latitude 30 was certainly on their side, whooping, hollering and singing along to most every song. Everyone got a good laugh too, when drummer Jonny Helm came out from behind his kit sporting cowboy boots with pant-legs tucked inside to sing God Bless The Reverand Gary Davies. He looked kinda funny, but sounded sincere.
We stuck around for about half of Slow Club’s set, but the band seemed fatigued and just going through the motions. So was I by this point, so we headed home for bed and an early 8 am flight back to Seattle.