SXSW: Lines, lateness and (finally) some bands – City & Colour, Tapes n Tapes, The Head and the Heart (with video!)

The Head and The Heart at Red 7 Patio.

When last I left you, I had just parted with TV On The Radio.

From there, I headed to charge my dying phone (the tool I’ve been using for all the photos, blogging, video, scheduling and everything). Beats carrying around a laptop all the time, I say.

Anyway, I tried to go see Omaha band Midwest Dilemma. I didn’t catch them because the showcase they were supposed to play was running an hour and a half late. As much as I wanted to see the Omaha boys play, I couldn’t wait for them to come one.

I tried getting into the Bright Eyes secret show, too. But due to technical difficulties (or the band arriving late, if you believe the rumors), that show was also pushed back an hour and a half.

Sheesh. It shouldn’t be that tough to see a band at SXSW.

I did make it finally to see a group. City & Colour, the side project of Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green, was on at Stubb’s. He was playing alone onstage when I arrived. I’ve always enjoyed how sweet his songs sound while they’re also brutal, specific and honest.

For me, it sure beats Alexisonfire. I’m glad Green’s been sticking with City & Colour. The group’s third album, “Little Hell,” comes out soon.

Next, I headed over to Rusty Spurs to wait for Tapes n Tapes. I missed them when they came to Omaha, but dug the latest album a lot. Reminded me a lot of “The Loon,” actually.

I never realized how freaking loud Tapes n Tapes could be. The bass was so intense that the entire floor was vibrating like a massaging chair. Made my sore feet feel nice, but I was also happy I remembered my earplugs.

I then headed off to Red 7 Patio. One of the bands I most anticipated seeing at SXSW was The Head and The Heart. They’re a folky group and recently signed to Sub Pop. I caught a few songs the other day, but it hadn’t been exactly what I expected. Still, I wanted to catch a full set.

When I arrived at Red 7, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. was setting up for his solo set. Oddly enough, last year I sat at the exact same venue and waited through Mascis’ set to see another band.

It’s not that I think he’s terrible, but I just can’t get into it. He’s a damn talented guitar player, but his skill during these solo shows is kinda lost on me. It’s like he tries to shred and play nuanced melodies at the same time and can’t quite pull of either one.

Anyway, the Head and the Heart finally came on stage and that’s when the magic happened.

The group reminds me of a fun time folk band. They’re not there to sing slow, folky dirges. They’re on that stage to make you get out of your seat, dance around a bit and have a blast.

They employ three-part harmonies from three lead singers (two male, one female) as well as violin and a pianist (I hate calling a guy like this a keyboard player) that alternated between ragtime melodies and rhythmic ballad playing.

I had an absolute blast. So did the crowd, which filled the outdoor venue. Two kids had such a good time that they hopped onstage during the last song and rocked out with the band. Pretty funny and the band didn’t seem to mind, giving them hugs at the end of the show.

Check out a video below of The Head and the Heart doing “Lost In My Mind.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sncFQOOjiD4]

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