SXSW 2007 - Day Three

My morning started at the Vice three stage extravaganza, it's usually a swinging time, but this year it was overrun with bands about 5 years too late (Big Business, Foals, Against Me), bands that didn't show up (David Yow's Qui and Boris), and hordes of tacky Turbonegro zealots. This is no dig on the actual group, just their army of knuckle-dragging, patch-wearing, male-pattern baldness having, man-child fans. Maybe this was an intentional Vice strategy; to get an unusually high concentration of "donts" (there was an entire family in the denim garb) milling about the same location.

Good fucking thing Clockcleaner's brutal sludge punk pretty much kicked this party in the teeth first thing. Lead singer John Starkey is the ultimate anti-hipster, figuratively pissing into the mouths of the posing, incredibly too self-conscious, audience that would rather swallow than admit they like it. Yeah, that's kinda how the whole day went.

Every year there always seems to be one band that follows me around everywhere. Friday it was Deerhunter. I was curious to see how their headphone echo psych translates live, but I didn't need to see it three times in a 24 hour period. They truly lack a stage presence; a connective thread with the audience and within their playing. Their effects pedals deserved the applause this week, not the band.

Wooden Shjips could teach them a thing or two about how this new weird America is beginning to change hands and move from bohemian grove to scruffy nihilism and kaleidoscopic drug jams. More than a handful of bands on Friday exhibited this freakish destruction of cultural norms, reconstructing rock and pushing things so far forward that there's no looking back. Blues Control with beats and cassette manipulations, Times New Viking with irresistible hooks and holy distortions, and Entrance, who finally put down his acoustic and found Electric Warrior hidden on some Turkish bootleg of Bunalim. Or Columbus' Teeth of the Hydra, who carpet bombed the Lava Lounge with purplish-black, molten, metal like three giant demons of goodwill.

Now that's a face that says, "We are at the precipice of something mighty, beware and rejoice."

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