SXSW 2012 Highlights Day 2

Day shows have always been an honored tradition for SXSW goers.  Though the official SXSW entity has been known to attempt to reign in and control what shows bands playing official showcases can play through staunch guidelines, it rarely seems to work.  Almost every band in town ends up playing at least one day show.  And year after year, some of the best day shows are put on by the same folks.  Some of those entities are Paste Magazine and The Fader Fort.

We showed up just after the end of the free beer and food and were severely bummed.  We also happened to miss Typhoon since they switched spots with German electronic rock outfit Apparat.  We considered it all part of the fluctuating SXSW schedule, an opportunity, since we were familiar with Typhoon, but unfamiliar with Apparat.  The band engrossed the crowd with expansive guitar and keys, churning through electronic soundscapes.  They even brought it down a notch for what lead singer Sascha Ring noted was a more straightforward number.

SXSW2012_4Following Apparat was Hospitality, a band we’d been looking forward to seeing tremendously.  The Brooklyn quartet sounded solid, playing mostly from their recent self-titled release, a work that might be considered overdue.  The record has received categorical critical acclaim, and the band didn’t disappoint on stage.  We’re looking forward to more productivity from this young indie pop four piece.

SXSW2012_11With some consistency in sound, considering female lead singer Alaina Moore and the band’s upbeat pop, Tennis followed Hospitality, struggling to overcome Moore’s recent illness.  The band’s instrumentation sounded tight, utilizing nuanced second key lines, baritone guitar, and Patrick Riley’s choppy then smooth guitar riffs.  Tennis’s biggest challenge live is landing a good sound guy.  The band have beautiful style and a classic sound, but in a hurried environment such as SXSW, it’s easy to miss the mark, in light of their lack of a full-time bassist.  The band’s somewhat rushed set was still one of our favorite of the day, and we’ll acknowledge our bias based on how much we love their new record, Young and Old.  We’re already looking forward to their return to Austin on May 8th, when they play the Parish.

SXSW2012_15From the NPR day party, we headed over to the alway’s choice Fader Fort to catch Santigold.   With her new album on the horizon, and links to her new single and video littering the internet, Santigold emerged as one of the most talked about acts of SXSW 2012.  Her performance certainly did not disappoint, complete with back-up dancers wearing matching outfits and swinging umbrellas, two guys an enormous horse costume, and theatrical stage fighting with pom-poms.  Fader Fort is one of the few outdoor venues that tends to get the sound right, and Santigold’s set was no exception; the beats hit hard and the loops were pronounced.  The crowd was engrossed in the performance from the first song, dancing wildly through notable renditions of “Creator” and “L.E.S. Artistes.”  At the end, it wasn’t quite as extravagant as a Kanye West or Lady Gaga show, but we were beyond entertained to say the least.

SXSW2012_16In store for the evening: The Hype Hotel’s bill including Friends and Miike Snow.  To avoid wasting the reader’s time with tedious description of just how frustrating this experience turned out and how regretful of our decision, we’ll cut to the chase.  We showed up an hour before doors (9PM), which was scheduled for the same time as Friends were billed (10PM).  At 10:30, no one had been admitted.  Friends started around 10:50 to an almost empty house as the door personnel slowly and ineptly checked IDs for admittance.  After the badge/wristband line was held for random folks without even an RSVP, and green wristbands were freely passed out at the door before people who were wearing them were allowed entrance, an irate crowed shouted the door personnel down and the line began moving again.  Disappointingly, we missed all of Friends’ set.  Miike Snow, set to come on at midnight, did not get on stage until around 1 AM (we think it was after, but the free alcohol clouded our memory), after fans began booing.  The set sounded good once underway, and the crowd was appeased, until the audio completely cut out for the last 30 seconds of “Animal,” sending attendees home weary and unfulfilled.  What else can we say? Bummer.  Looking forward to a better Thursday.


About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.
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