SXSW (Day 2)
Previously on PoA: SXSW (Day 1)
It's hot hot hot today, and waiting in a queue for a wristband to get into the Fader Fort, where a stack of bands will play, is not the best way to create goodwill. We do it anyway then head off, only to discover Sydney's Red Riders are playing down the road. There's free vodka AND hairdressers on hand, who will happily do your hair while you watch bands. MORE GIGS SHOULD BE LIKE THIS. The band plays well to a little crowd that includes a Japanese Playboy bunny who dances like no-ones watching. Except we all are.
Nu-something UK band Late Of The Pier had some gear and sound issues so played a very, very short set. They weren't great but the keyboard player wore a very fetching glittery top.
Grizzly Bear are playing one of their only two SxSW shows in a church and the queue to get in is ridiculous… so we jump it. This proves to be an excellent decision, although I do wonder if jumping a queue to get into a church may have some detrimental effects down the track. All hail Lucifer. Everyone is seated in pews, and the acoustics of the venue give the songs room to breathe and expand, the perfect space for them to have their full impact. Going to hell is a worthy trade for experiencing something as beautiful as this.
Drop in to the Sub Pop party that's been going all day to see what's what. The Grates are there and are raving about Red Red Meat. One thing they're less complimentary about is something they saw in the hall near the toilet at the venue - apparently someone couldn't hold on in the queue and left a souvenir behind, at a Sub Pop showcase of all things. Have some respect people. Left upon hearing that news, but was told Vetiver were lovely and one of the highlights.
We then dash off to see New Yorkers Chairlift. They have that song in the newish iPod commercial about doing handstands that's on a pretty pop album called Does You Inspire You. Just make it in time to catch the best song on the record, Planet Health, and it's just as I hope it will be – slightly off kilter ethereal pop that's as breezy as it is kooky.
Next up in M.I.A protege Rye Rye. With less than favourable reports from her Australian shows last year, am keen to see if she can pull it off, and happily, with the aid of a DJ and two backing dancers, she does. Rye Rye is no Santigold, but the Baltimore teen has charisma enough to power her way through a fun set that sees her kick it well enough to pass Go.
Quite a few people have been talking up the Harlem Shakes, so they're next on the sightseeing list, with a detour to catch a bit of five piece Mika Miko. With releases on Dean from No Age's label PPM and Kill Rock Stars, they spew cool from every pore, but it's a modest kinda cool. The singer delivers distorted vocals through an old red phone as the guitarist goes nuts over on her left. Total lo-fi punk annihilation love.
NYC's Harlem Shakes are playing next door, and although their slightly twee sound is endearing, there's just something about singer that doesn't leave me wanting to hear his voice on record.
It's game over for the official stuff now, but we somehow get in to the Fool's Gold party, where A-Trak, Kid Sister and Nacho Lovers are all on the bill. A mad mental toilet queue doesn't detract from the fact that this is a proper mutha-fucking party where blinged up dudes slam back the free booze and indie kids crowd surf to beats. We talk to a total douche radio guy from Belgium or somewhere, drink tequila then make it home for bed.