Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 5 - Part 1 Sat 17 SXSW

An amazing lineup of bands playing the Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Showcase at Casa Chapala made it the only place to be on Saturday during SXSW as far as I was concerned.

Although the order in which everyone played changed around somewhat throughout the day, nearly all of the above listed bands took to the stage.

First up was the great band I caught just yesterday at the Pool Party - Lightfoils

Their sound just as dreamy as the day before

The perfect way kick off a great afternoon of music.

Catching up with the band after their performance, a photo snap for good measure.

 The next three bands would use the services of a dedicated soundman named Hanford (pictured here with Ana of Dead Leaf Echo - one of the bands who enlisted his soundboard skills).

Who, as it turns out, was the next band on stage.

 My fourth Dead Leaf Echo show in Austin this week

James was particularly good on this afternoon.

 Silhouette rockers

Next up were the Seattle dreampoppers VibraGun, whose sound had the right mixture of sweetness and crunch.

Following them was the heavy three-piece outfit  Nightmare Air

Alternating female and male lead vocals, their sound had a dramatic quality to it.

 Swaan Miller, James Smith and Dave Dupuis delivered a high energy show.


Hanford capably at the sound controls

Getting power for electronic devices became something of a daily quest.  Fortunately I figured out bringing my own extension cord with me allowed easier access to available sources.

Next up was a rare appearance in Austin this week from The Vandelles

Regular readers of this blog know I've probably featured this band in recent times more than any other.

They played a solid set as the late afternoon sun created a glow from behind the tented stage.

Denmark's The Foreign Resort then took to the stage and kept the action going with their amped up set.

Finally it was time for a band I'd been waiting all week to see.  Unfortunately missing all of their previous appearances here at SXSW - there was one more shot to see Ringo Deathstarr and this was it.

Alex, Elliott and Daniel showed why they are one of the best, dreamgaze bands out there today.

Alex wrings a full deep sound out of her bass rig.

It's a big and powerful sound that Ringo Deathstarr delivers.

Alex and Daniel lay down a rhythm section that is as tight as they come.

Elliott throttles huge sonic textures out of his guitar.

The band has impeccable recorded works, and their live sound adds
an additional level of excitement to it all.

One of the top bands out there right now.

Showtime hangout and chat

And this was just the first part of Saturday.

More awesomeness to follow!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 4 - Part 2 Fri 16 SXSW

The Metropolis Pool Party continued on late into the afternoon as the sun bathed down on the Austin, Texas audience.

Next up was a dreampop outfit out of Chicago called Lightfoils

Taking their name from the scientific discovery that light has ability to lift and steer objects, Lightfoils aspires to create complex music that sends the listeners on a musical journey that ultimately catapults them into a state of pure sonic-infused reverie.

As they transport their listeners and send them on that voyage, they too take themselves on their own flight, with a final destination of establishing a unique sonic signature.

 Fronted by the sweet voiced Nicole B, longtime friends guitarist Zeeshan Abbasi, bassist Cory Osborne, drummer John Rungger, and guitarist Neil Yodnane came together to play the type of music that naturally drives them.

Their sound is dreamy - yes.  But there is plenty of power in the rhythms and sonic shards by way of their two guitar attack.

I liked their sound and overall visual presentation a lot.  

Up next, and playing their first of two shows on this day were my friends Dead Leaf Echo

The band hit it perfectly from their first note played.

Ana, LG, James and Christo play with a cohesive style and confidence that only comes from a steady touring schedule.

Shifting effortlessly from guitar to keyboards, Ana is the picture of concentration as the band plays on.

LG and the boys hunkered down, focused and riffed away.

Creative vocals are as much a sonic signature as their shimmering guitars.

James, LG & Christo show how it's done.

Pure Sonic Sensation

After the Dead Leaf Echo set at this space, it was soon time to pack up the van and head over the main part of town again.


Well - Dead Leaf Echo were to play their Official SXSW Showcase at the venue Treasure Island on 6th Street.

The logistics involved to get a van full of gear into the highly congested venue areas - unloaded - and then parked in designated-for-bands areas takes longer than anyone should rightly have to deal with.

However, ultimately all of that eventually gets done and there are even moments for a bit relaxation before the next show.

One band that caught my attention at this showcase were a group out of Sweden named Park Hotell

Though they professed an affinity for Dinosaur Jr., I actually heard more of a Cure influence in their sound.

However, they deliver it all with enough creativity to keep things fresh and interesting.

Finally time for the Dead Leaf Echo Showcase, the band played in front of the kind of enthusiastic audience one would expect in Austin on a Friday night.

The crowd packed in tight to the front of the stage.

Hair a flyin' guitars a chuggin'

Muscling my way up front, I managed to get one clean shot for the record.

Then back into the pack.

Another successful show completed, it wouldn't be long before the van is brought around from the aforementioned distant special-for-bands-only location, and packed up for the night.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 4 - Part 1 Fri 16 SXSW

Up again early Friday "morning" the 16th (more like noon) the exiting news was that classic UK rock band The Wedding Present would be playing a 1:00 PM show.  Quickly whipping ourselves together we head on over to the venue.

The space they were playing in was a converted garage that now operates as a specialty burger joint.

 David Gedge has successfully pulled together yet-another quality group of musicians - bringing to light a brand new album of songs that show just how prolific he continues to be.

The band rocked as hard as groups half their age - and not surprisingly - with the touch that only comes from the countless miles traveled from 1990 until now.

Two years with The Wedding Present the cleverly named Pepe Le Moko adds style and female vocals to the mix.

Despite their longevity the bands appeal continue to reach a youthful audience.

Meanwhile the band rocked out many tracks from their latest album "Valentina"

Dual vocal harmonies to match instrumental intensity

Boys rockin' out hard


Post show, it was a pleasure to have chat with the legend that is David Gedge

The group was in great spirits as they hung around and took photos with their fans.

Never one to pass up a golden opportunity, one more photo was taken for good measure.

But now it was time to head on over to the Metropolis Pool Party 

The band onstage as we arrived was a female fronted gothic rock outfit out of Tuscon called Blind Divine

The had a great sound and look and set the tone for a great afternoon of live music.

Next up was my good friends from New York City - the heavy hard rock band Grandfather

The boys sound has evolved in seriously positive directions since I first became aware of them over a year ago.

Its a heavy rock show they now deliver.  The songs are more compact, yet explode with an even bigger intensity.

Following them was the northern California dreamgaze trio Between The Cities Are Stars

I had been listening to their tracks for a while now and was very much looking foward to catching them live.

I'm happy to report their live show delivered the same quality as the recordings I've been listening to.

Super awesome dude Alex Hernandez had the right guitar sound down on this day

The band played a tight set on a late Austin afternoon that was perfect for the moment.

Catching up with the group after their set, it was a pleasure getting to know them.

Heather is not only super cute, but super sweet too

Of course Alex is a proud bay area Giants fan.

More Friday fun to follow!