continued from yesterday.
we wake up in various states of disrepair when the housekeeper comes by, sometime around 9:30am. this is a good thing as there’s lots we want to see today and it’s always best to storm 6th street as early as possible. we grab some street eats and head into emo’s for the windish agency’s showcase, starring cults, foster the people, and twin shadow; we’re there a little bit for the first and majorly for the last. all bands put in a fabulous showing, none finer than twin shadow; george and the boys (and girl) brought it and kept us all moving despite the heat; as usual, the fantastic single that garnered this band its buzz, “slow,” was transformed into a rip-roaring post-punk jaunt through nostalgialand; on all of the other songs, the band’s trademark dreamy catchiness was represented through and through. “at my heels” is still stuck in my head.
after chatting and posing for photos with george – our former fellow bostonian – we tried to find something else to do downtown that was free and worthwhile, but got frustrated and wound up going back to the car to drive out to our first austin show, on the east edge of town. sitting and drinking free beers in the shady backyard of our hosts’ house was a lovely reprieve from the sweat-drenched mercilessness of the sxsw main drag. before long, it was our turn to play and we did so, enjoying every wavy minute of our outdoor reverberations. little did we know that we were about to be succeeded by two incredible new york bands, the rex complex and railbird. furthermore, little did we know that those bands’ mutual friends phantogram were going to show up!! but that all happened. two charged, spot-on performances, oodles of wondrous networking, and the post-sunset pleasantness made it one of the greatest nights of the trip…
but the night was not over. not even close. we decided to go back downtown to take a shot at getting into the gorilla vs. bear/mexican summer showcase at klub krucial. some seriously world-class schmoozing got us inside, and boy am i ever glad it did. toro y moi were onstage as we clawed our way in through the sweat-soaked crowd of steadfast dancers – the air conditioning was presumably broken, and it was packed wall-to-wall for chaz & co. we made our way to the second floor after grabbing some drinks and snagged a phenomenal spot on the balcony, front and center (and with chairs!). unfortunately, toro was just about done by the time we arrived, so we only heard a track or two more from underneath the pine before they bounced.
tamaryn, a band i’ve listened to for a few months but never really fell in love with, came on next. their stage presence was a little questionable – i couldn’t help feeling like it was all business to them and not pleasurable in the least, but i guess that’s their aesthetic – but they sounded incredible. their visual display was an excellent sensory corollary to the music – undulating waves, underwater shots of elaborate coral reefs, windswept deserts, close-up time lapses of the natural world, etc. the sounds were lulling and chilling. i find it interesting that this “indie band” fits much more closely in with the goth scene. they’ve far more in common with bands like autumn, claire voyant, and faith & the muse than they do with the other ’80s throwbacks of gorilla vs. bear-stemmed fame. tamaryn herself acted the bit to a T – black hair in the face, anguished stares into the crowd, not a single smile or a word in the mic aside from her lyrics. anyway, me gusta. i’m ready to give these dudes another chance at a place in my heart.
speaking of dudes that’ve got a place in my heart: ford & lopatin stepped on next, prefuse 73 in tow. though their pitchfork tent set was great, especially considering the circumstances, i am so glad i was able to see them at klub krucial as well. this was a perfect environment for what they do: hot music in a hot club. their sci-fi-day-glo throwback clusterfuck mashups sound like aural gold when blasted through an enormous soundsystem (i’ve been listening to their tracks on soundcloud, and even via my audiophile sound card, it’s not nearly the same effect). tired as i was by this point, i couldn’t stop myself from shaking my beleaguered ass to their maddeningly catchy beats.
the icing on the awesomecake was, yet again, the visuals, but this time it was all brought to the next level. three projectors this time: one screen in the middle and two mirror-images flanking it, all however many dozens of feet high. kaleidoscopic eye candy barraged us from all angles: resort scenes, picturesque landscapes and beneath-the-sea shots, a rainbow of human behavior and environmental interaction and life, and a spectrum of shades and hues that would more than justify the implementation of a dodecadecimal color system. the sensory barrage in that room was almost unbearable. it was overwhelming, but in such a beautiful, almost comforting way, like waves wrapping themselves around you when you first enter the mighty ocean. it was over way too soon. it was over before it even seemed to really start.
after watching the stomach-churningly awful nite jewel (moar like nite TOOL, amirite?) my group and i recollected the blown bits of our brains and hit the street again for some fun drunk-people people-watching before making our way back to the hotel. we hit the hay right away, not wanting to be zombies for our two saturday shows – which i will let y’all know about in the next post of this exciting tongs miniseries!