Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.

SXSW 2010: Friday, March 19th – PART 2

3

04/5/2010

Concerts, Music, sxsw 2010

Street Performers

Street Performers

I was already half way through the festivities and already I was feeling like I was there twice as long. It started feeling like a Disneyland for music addicts. It’s easy to get caught up in the organized chaos that is SXSW, especially when your days line up perfectly with some amazing acts.

Woodsman

Woodsman

I was going to catch Shearwater at some record store down the street but decided against it due to how far away it was. A mile walk isn’t that long for me but when you are restricted by time and you know certain shows will have long lines, you have to gauge your schedule well. So instead I walked ino the Gorilla vs Bear / Mexican Summer showcase. I only had enough time for one act …and several free beers. Anyway, that act was Woodsman, a psychedelic instrumental band from Denver. I honestly couldn’t have picked a better band to walk in on. The band plays creepy and dry desert atmospheric rock that paints a monster size piece of art worth listening to. On par with bands like Tortoise, they made me feel like I was in Texas more than any other band, and these guys were from Colorado. All in all, a nice surprise and reminded me what SXSW is all about, discovering amazing new bands.

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[mp3] Woodsman – No Drone from Indoor Days (2008)

Battlehooch

Battlehooch

I left to Red 7 to catch a killer line-up but not before watching another Bay Area favorite, Battlehooch perform on the streets of Austin. I can’t tell you how happy I am to watch Bay Area acts get attention, especially unappreciated bands like Battlehooch. The wacked-out and enormous sound of the band is a joy for anyone that is remotely a fan of bands like Man Man. But Battlehooch is truly uncategorizable. So just see if you can handle them…

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[mp3] Battlehooch – Somersaults from Battlehooch (2010)

Strike Anywhere

Strike Anywhere

I made my way to Red 7 to see the Rival Schools showcase and see whatever acts were going to open up for them. What I caught first was the punk rock group Strike Anywhere. This was the first time seeing them in 10 years, since they opened for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones when I was in high school. I figured I’d check them out. I ended up in the middle of a friggin’ moshpit as bodies flew over my head. It felt less like a concert and more like a riot. I can’t say I didn’t have a good time though. While I don’t listen to this kind of music anymore, it was nice to see some energy early in the day.

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[mp3] Strike Anywhere – Infared from Exit English (2009)

Recover

Recover

After Strike Anywhere tore up the crowd I walked inside Red 7 to witness the post hardcore group Recover to a reunion set. Another band I listened to a lot back in 2001, Recover played their brand of fast paced rock to a crowd of people that obviously knew their entire catalog. The band played one new song along with a few ‘oldies’ and wrapped up a quick 30 minute set.

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Circa Survive

Circa Survive

Circa Survive

Circa Survive

Next up was the mighty Circa Survive. The band has been prepping for their third release, Blue Sky Noise and have since held off on live performances until recently. You wouldn’t have noticed, the band was energetic as ever as lead vocalist Anthony Green (whom I recently made friends with waiting on line to see Band of Horses) leapt into the crowd and sang at that signature high pitched voice. The band played through a few favorites and even belted out their new tune, Get Out. They seem to have a firm grip on their direction of sound and it’s always great to see them live.

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[mp3] Circa Survive – Act Appalled from Juturna (2005)

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

After Circa came one of my favorite bands, Rival Schools. The band was playing a fair amount of shows during the festival, so it was nice to see the energy Rival Schools is known for despite them playing another set a few hours prior. Lead vocalist Walter Schreifels even announced their plans for releasing a new album in the near future on Photo Finish Records (seriously). The band played a fun set including favorites like Good Things and Used for Glue (my favorite) as well as a new song called Sweet. Check out these guys if you haven’t already, they truly know how to rock.

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[mp3] Rival Schools – Good Things from United by Fate (2001)

Freelance Whales

Freelance Whales

After getting my face properly melted at Red 7, I walked over to Galaxy Room’s outdoor stage to catch a pretty flawless line-up. First up we had Freelance Whales, a multi-instrumentalist smorgasbord of harmonies and expression. It’s folk-pop at the very core but one could say that they’ve already heard this before. It’s cute, almost too cute for anyone that has already past their phase of obsession with Death Cab for Cutie and Iron and Wine. Maybe when Zach Braff makes another Garden State they’ll be in the soundtrack.

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[mp3] Freelance Whales – Generator ^ First Floor from Weathervanes (2010)

Local Natives

Local Natives

Local Natives

Local Natives

The next band was one of my most anticipated bands to check out, Local Natives. After catching up with Tanner and a cute photographer from Seattle, that band took the stage. I can’t say anymore than what Tanner has already said, but I will say that the band was definitely a highlight for me as well if not the best band I saw that week. These guys are on a one way ticket to the top of indie rock stardom, keep an ear open.

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[mp3] Local Natives – Airplanes from Gorilla Manor (2010)

An Horse

An Horse

I bid farewell to Tanner and waited for the next band, An Horse. This was the second time I’ve seen them and they are still banging out basic two-member indie rock music to perfection. This time seemed a bit more fun with cute between song banter and a bit of an amp switch-a-roo mid-set. They aren’t anything new or groundbreaking and the crowd seemed to be waiting for it to be over more than really into it. Aside from a few people who were yelling out their lyrics, the crowd seemed to have already made their decision on how they felt about An Horse. As for me, they certainly are a talented band, I just wish they had a little bit more.

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[mp3] An Horse – Postcards from Rearrange Beds (2009)

Suckers

Suckers

After An Horse came Suckers, a harmony filled and old fashioned community folk-pop group from New York. Using several instruments (horns, synth, piano), tons of drums, whistling, and uplifting group choruses, Suckers was nice addition to the already fantastic line-up. This was extra special due to the fact I had never heard of them before this show. Add another band to the list of amazing acts that have impressed me during SXSW.

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[mp3] Suckers – Black Sheep from Black Sheep (2010)

The Antlers

The Antlers

The Antlers

The Antlers

Next up, The Antlers. Known for their immense record, Hospice, the band matches that massive sound with an equally powerful yet modest performance. Some of the sadness that makes Hospice such an emotional journey is cut from their show while the intensity and violence remains intact. Audience members knew and respected the band enough to give them room to breathe, allowing the band to expand and show their full creativity. Even the repetitive Two was given the attention it deserved. A breathtaking performance all together.

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[mp3] The Antlers – Bear from Hospice (2009)

Les Savy Fav

Les Savy Fav

Les Savy Fav

Les Savy Fav

Les Savy Fav

Les Savy Fav

Alright, I’ll admit, I was on my last leg. If this was any other band, I would have went back to the hotel. I’m only human and all this activity can wear an average person down. Well if The Antlers was my sleepytime tea, Les Savy Fav was my Red Bull with vodka. While Les Savy Fav’s increasingly elaborate albums have earned them numerous “future of post-punk” plaudits, there’s something pleasingly old-school about them: the teasing, slow-building intros can be traced back to the The Stooges and when the band’s ragging-guitar roar kicks in, it sounded like had they been shooting steroids instead of smack, a cardiac-arresting torrent of noise. And even if the band’s post-punk faithful are turned off by slower, psychedelic turns, they can’t deny that that band carries a seismic heft that their records barely capture. Oh, did I mention they’re insane live? Lead wacko Tim Harrington flipped the house lights onto the crowd, unleashed fury on the corporate sponsors of SXSW, jumped into the crowd several times, took off his shirt, turned off all the stage lights, broke two glow sticks found on stage and dumped the contents on himself in the dark, making him look like some kind of glowing alien frontman, and wore some poor guy’s blazer, which he tore open and tried to light on fire while he was wearing it. Needless to say, it was a blast.

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[mp3] Les Savy Fav – What Would Wolves Do? from Let’s Stay Friends (2008)

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  • Kathy

    Check out the new Coheed and Cambria record, “Year of the Black Rainbow”, hits stores 4/13 but pre-order iiiittt – http://bit.ly/dgsIRq and if you’re in the Pomona area – they’re playing Fox Theater on 5/4!

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