Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 5 - Part 2 Sat 17 SXSW

The Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Showcase at Casa Chapala was in high gear now.

Taking the stage was Austin's own UME.  My third Ume show this week.

To say they killed it one more time would be something of an understatement.  As you can see the crowd was pretty into it.

Lauren Langer Larson is a whirling, shredding, human dynamo.

Once again revisiting the view from behind Rachel's drum kit.  The playing was even more ferocious on this afternoon.

Lauren and bandmates ripped through hellaciously paced set of all their best songs.

Eric Larson drives the rhythm section with a cool presence and understated leadership qualities.

Of the three shows I saw, this may have been the most impressive.  Lauren took it to another level and blew everyone away with her brilliant guitar playing and high energy performance.

Ume proved once again they are the class of Austin and all the SXSW festival.


Another band I had been hoping to catch live came to fruition when the lovely Lilies On Mars took to the stage.

Lilies on Mars weave dreamy guitar and synth lines, hypnotic vocals and psychedelic sounds into gorgeous pop and abstract songs, with words of reality and dreams.


The band consists of Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo, who met over ten years ago in Sardinia, and now reside in London.

Another band I'd been waiting to see live again, were my friends The Sunshine Factory

Having been through some changes since I first got to know them a few years ago (and name me a band that hasn't been through "a few changes") - the current model now sound better than ever.

Now a full permanent member of the band, young bassist Sally Robertson adds important sonic and visual qualities to an already appealing musical presentation.

Of course the central force of The Sunshine Factory is frontman, lead vocalist, guitarist and instrumental songwriter Ian Taylor

Their show on this afternoon was nothing less than spectacular.

In addition to their classic dreamgaze sound, they put on a magnificent light show.

Responsible for this great lighting - and the songs lyrics as well - its the bands silent member - Robert Taylor

Stars dapple off of Sally's frame

They have a wonderful album out now - "Sugar" - and I highly recommend it.

Find out more about it via these links:


What followed this was something that resulted from a combination of factors.  One, it was St. Patrick's Day.  Two, it was a Saturday.  Three, it was later in the day.  People had been drinking (and doing God knows what else) all day long.  That included the so-called "sound man."  Not the good guy I mentioned earlier on this day (Hanford) - but a particularly cement-headed individual who became less coherent and more abrasive as the day went on.  It was reported that he apparently was trying to shake down the bands for additional "soundman fees" - or they couldn't play.  One such scheduled band (you can see their name on the chalk board earlier on) was Austin's own Bloody Knives.  When they were at first allowed to take the stage - then told they had to get off for another band - they set up on the side - and part way into the next set - started blasting their own sounds from the sidelines.  A ruckus ensued and after some tense moments (give or take people's perceptions of the events) - this particular party was shut down.


But being as it was Saturday Night - the party must go on!   Now in the late night terrain of beyond unofficial events, we found ourselves at a place called the 21st Co-Op.

To my eyes the whole place looked like a scene out that recent frat-party-gone-out-of-control movie Project X.

Still, there was some quality music to be heard.

One of the main reasons for being there was to catch local band Cool Serbia

Fronted by former Ringo Deathstarr guitarist Renan McFarland, they played a spirited set of raucus rock n' stomp that was most appropriate for this moment in time.

A power crunch three piece unit.  Big sounds from this homegrown Austin trio.

Bassist Raz handles the vocal duties, with more than capable results.

Encouraging "crowd participation" - the mic was positions so anyone who wanted to come up and "sing along" (i.e. shout unintelligible nonsense) was afforded this opportunity.

At one point near the end of their set, Raz was laying backwards on the floor, throttling his bass in an ecstatic rock star pose, when one festively sodden individual tripped and fell right on his face.

Asking Raz about the effects of this afterwards, he seemed to brush it off as "no big deal."

Another reason to be at this particularly odd location so late on Saturday Night/Sunday Morning - was to see and hear the joyous sounds of Brooklyn's own Dive

Much like the parent band that spawned them - Beach Fossils - they make a joyous sound that just makes you want to move your feet.

Two intertwined guitars - steady bass and drums.  It's happy music for people who just want to love the sounds.

Good vocals too.  They are a band who's music I enjoy a lot.

But - since this was a "Project X" type -party - it too ended with a kerfuffle - and the declaration that "this is being shut down!"

Though I wanted to see the next band - and was disappointed not to have on this occasion -  I would  get one more opportunity the following day.


William said...

sounds like part 2 of saturday was the drama time... as it often is haha - im hoping to see your mugshot as the start of the next installment

DaveCromwell said...

I've been reading a number of other SXSW recaps, William - and for sure the late Saturday entries have their share of similar "drama" in them.

Still - the focus for me here is on the music - and for the most part it was all quite good.

Mr Smork said...

was waiting for this.
i like ume. and they looks cools in your pic, dave.
but the sunshine factory still is my fave! i follow them since i heard them by your posts. really enjoy them. one of few that make me relax enough, and only dreamgaze i admit. and maybe it is not to related with their music, but sally is really pretty, (that makes me even more enjoy them).

DaveCromwell said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Mr. Smork. Both Ume and The Sunshine Factory were the highlights of the late afternoon part of this event. Ume I saw perform three times during the week - and they topped themselves each time. It was a real treat to hear The Sunshine Factory again after quite a while, though.

Anonymous said...

Even more amazing photos! I really like the 2nd one :D

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, the Ume pictures came out great, Anouk. I was walking around the band - shooting from every angle. You really get some great shots from those points of view.

Patricia Mena said...

Really nice. I like so much when girls "rockin" (hope this word it's ok) with guitars, it's like having a sound gun, and shooting many sparks of music on the air cool!
I'm still enjoying your photoblog Dave!

DaveCromwell said...

*Nobody* rocks harder than Lauren, Paty. She is an amazing guitarist - an amazing musician!

Anonymous said...

That's an intense and colorful entry, Dave- lots of interesting bands and lots of interesting sights.

DaveCromwell said...

Without a doubt, eagle.

By all means take a moment to search out their music. Some of my absolutely favorite stuff right here in this one feature.

the sunshine factory said...

Having an excellent journalist/photographer/videographer at the shows makes all the difference in the world. A difference like a ton of people hear about the shows and wish like hell they had gone. The other way without the above mentioned JPV well..........

DaveCromwell said...

I'm just pleased I got to see and hear another Sunshine Factory show ;-)