Austin, TX was invaded last week for the music portion of SXSW, the annual music conference, affectionately known as “Rock ‘n’ Roll Spring Break.” Running over six days now, South-by is a reason for bands to play in common places like music venues and bars, as well as non-common places like restaurants, outside spaces, even under four sticks and a tarp.
One goes to discover unknown bands, see those that are the current buzz around the blogosphere, and relish in seeing more established acts in places the size of a living room. TVD brought back the best we saw over those six days, in photos.
TUESDAY | Bands may play multiple times over the course of the six days, but conflicts with other acts and venues too far to travel are common. So when we saw the a latest buzz band We Are Augustines slated for the Pandora Discovery Den showcase at the famous Antones that night, we knew we had to go.
Given the sardine-feeling from there being so many bodies in there, we obviously weren’t alone. (FYI: We are Augustines is playing DC’s 9:30 Club this Saturday, opening for Band of Skulls!)
Dash Rip Rock is one of those bands that, based on song titles “Big Daddy Like Whiskey” and “Locked Inside a Liquor Store With You,” you might not take seriously. But once lead singer/guitarist Bill Davis starts playing guitar, you realize you were sorely mistaken, this man can play.
Recently inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Dash has played its “punkabilly” for the masses for a good number of years now. Their tight up-tempo set was the perfect way to wind up
The Henry Clay People played an early set at the Consequence of Sound day party, showcasing their two-prong secret weapon in Eric Scott’s drumming and the old-school guitar playing in the young Andy Siara.
HCP are an infectious mixture of melodic songs and punk rock chords, and included tracks from their previous releases, their new one slated for June release, and an absolutely searing cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge.” A 1 pm stage time may have been a problem for some, but with HCP, be it 3 AM, 1 PM, or 11:30 PM, HCP plays each show like it’s the last one they will ever get.
FIDLAR, also out of LA, takes it name from the skateboarding expression “Fuck it Dog, Life’s a Risk,” used in moments of high risk or reckless abandon. If their show on Wednesday show was any indication, FIDLAR takes that saying to heart each and every time. This is a band that may play punk rock loud, but their hooks are straight outta power pop.
THURSDAY | Thursday held a great many things for us, but the best was the full play concert of the famous/infamous Big Star record Third. Following the documentary about the band, Nothing Can Hurt Me, the concert included a full string orchestra (Tosca String Quartet), guitarists like Peter Buck and Chris Stamey, and a cadre of vocalists like Ken Stringfellow, Jon Auer, Matt McMichaels, M. Ward, Tommy Stinson, Peter Case, and Ben Nichols, among others.
It was a lovely testament to a band just now receiving its due, and to a record that almost never saw the light of day.
Additional photos from SXSW can be seen here.