SXSW: Recapping day 2


Fitz & the Tantrums at Rusty Spurs

Yesterday was kind o a whirlwind. Then my phone died, so updating the blog was kind of impossible.

Anyway, I caught quite the lineup yesterday, plus stood in way too many lines.

Smith Westerns, who a lot of people were talking about, weren’t as awesome as I had heard. But they were good. At least, I’m glad I stuck around for awhile because they grew on me. They warehouse garagey than I had expected.

Next, I attempted to see the Strokes. Apparently, the rest of Austin harris same idea. By the time I got there, Auditorium Shores – the largest venue at SXSW – was full. And several thousand people were milling about outside.

Some decided to hop the fence. Others just stood along the fence line or by the river. Me? I had better stuff to do with my time and decided to hoof it back to downtown.

I just saw the Strokes at Lollapalooza and standing next to a fence to listen wasn’t my idea of a good time.

I’m glad I made the decision because the next two band’s I saw are some of my favorites so far.

The Chain Gang of 1974 were over at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop and i knew virtually nothing about them other than one song I heard last week.

From the name, they sound like a bunch of misfits, but these guys were pretty clean cut, at least by hipster standards. They’re a dance-rock band and, had it been up to me, a dance floor would have been right in front of the stage. Their sound actually reminded me a lot of Omaha group The Faint, though less electronic.

I’m a bit sad that I have to wait until June to pick up the band’s debut album, but I think it will be worth the wait.

My next discovery was Fitz and the Tantrums, an R&B group that I had never even heard of until a friend mentioned them Thursday afternoon.

The set I caught was the band’s third of the day, but they didn’t lose an ounce of energy. And despite it being nearly 11 p.m. the crowd diet have a problem going nuts during the last song, “Moneygrabber.”

After that, we caught Jukebox the Ghost. They’re a fun trio that mixes synth, piano and guitar for a pretty rhythmic rock mix. Last time I saw them was at Lolla with about 2,000 people. Last night, I was 10 feet from the stage amid a crowd of about 200.

Yet another reason I love SXSW.

Along with a few Satchel Grande folks, we tried to see Maps & Atlases, but the venue was full and the line wasn’t moving. So, we headed to Stubb’s to see TV on the Radio. Again, the line wasn’t moving, so I booked it (though Andy Kammerer stayed and did end up getting in).

I went to see Surfer Blood at the Habana Bar. They were just OK. I really dug their guitar player, but the stage presence of the lead singer bugged the he’ll out of me. He had his weird, ineffective Mick Jagger thing going on.

Feet hurting and not too impressed, I went home.

* * *

Headed to Waterloo Records now to see a load of bands.

Bright Eyes’ secret show was announced and they play tonight at 8:30. Sadly, that’s the same time Midwest Dilemma plays its only SXSW show.

I’m going to see Midwest Dilemma. Why? Bright Eyes plays again tomorrow and I’ve seen them countless times. Midwest Dilemma only has one shot, so I’ll be there.

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