SXSW 2000 Death March

Day One: Wednesday 15 March 2000

I Am The World Trade Center @ Emo's Jr. (2000) Damn. Finding parking took too long, and they played too short of a set (finished by 2030, the losers), so I missed them. So much for that ...

Crawdaddy-O (Tucson, AZ) @ Stubb's (2100) Wacky blend of New Orleans jazz, swing, rock steady ska & Tom Waits, with a sense of humor -- especially on the drunken phone booth song. The frantic "Fly Me to The Moon" which I had already heard on the SXSW WWW site, was pretty killer. Also, you've gotta love a band with no guitars, but which has a sousaphone (marching tuba for the musically impaired) and a desk-clerk bell. Wouldda been a better show if the drummer had not also been the singer. He was fine, but not having a jumping bean out front made 'em feel a bit stiff.

Sack (Dublin, IRELAND) @ Park Avenue (2200-2315 -- loooong set) Odd. At first I didn't like 'em. The front man played too much the sad clown (why are foreign films so foreign?), but after a bit their country-tinged Echo & the Bunnymen-esque sounds, ranging from morphine drip to trip-happy, grew on me.

I split after a while to check out ...

Baghouse (Athens, GA) Iron Cactus (2300) Noodling wankers who were trying way too hard to be weird/be the next King Crimson. They got 5 minutes of my life and I want it back. Score = 3.

Went back to see more Sack, since they were playing an extra long set because Lima (... Ireland) @ Park Avenue (2300) cancelled. I was really looking forward to it, as they sounded like a more musically interesting version of Garbage. Quite a bummer. But more Sack was a good thing. Grew on me. Wish they had thought to bring CDs to sell. Very nice, but I didn't wait for the end of their set, 'cos I wanted to check out ...

Adventures Of Jet (Dallas, TX) @ Maggie Mae's West (2300) Power pop w/ quasi-hit "Wasted All My Time". Otherwise not too inspiring, but I don't begrudge them the 10 minutes I watched.

The Autumns with Simon Raymonde (Los Angeles, CA) at Maggie Mae's East (2300) Yawn. Damn dull, full of themselves shoe gazers. I did see, and get to spook SWSNBN and her companion, so I'm glad I went. <g>

Love Cars @ Blind Pig (2300) Feedback-fuzz shoe gazers with occasional bursts of frantic, noise-jam energy. Quite lively and engaging in those moments.

Pong (Austin, TX) @ Soho Lounge (2300) Ick. Slightly less mechanical than Kraftwerk & Devo. They owe me 5 minutes of my life.

Back to more Love Cars ... then

Little Jack Melody & His Young Turks (Denton, TX) @ Iron Cactus (0000) Pretty entertaining Elvis Costello-ish subversive cabaret/lounge stuff. Definitely twisted lyrics.

Blink (Dublin, IRELAND) @ Park Avenue (shouldda been 0100, but they started at 1240 - cool!) OUTSTANDING live show. Thoroughly angry, howling power pop/punk music sounding akin to some weird cross between a more melodic/musically talented version of PIL and U2 before they became self-important. Several pretty neat pieces about lost love and betrayal, from the angry man's p.o.v.

I reluctantly checked out at about 0110 because I wanted to see a couple of others...

Violet Indiana (London, UK) @ Maggie Mae's East (0100). Thank god I walked into the wrong half of Maggie Mae's. Another absolutely BRILLIANT band. Splendid, dripping, captivating female vocals in front of talented aggressive pop & slow ballads. General themes were abandonment, betrayal, longing, lost love, sadness, & bitterness. Tres apropos w/SWSNBN in the audience. Wonder if either of them paid attention to the lyrics.<g>

Japancakes (Athens, GA) @ Emo's Jr (0100) Wandered in on the way to the car. Damn glad I did. Once they stopped fucking with their amps and other gear, they blew my hair back. Shit! Who threw the members of Mazzy Starr and Stereolab on one stage, yanked out the morphine drip, and jammed a syringe of 100cc of adrenochrome straight through the sternum into the cardiac muscle. Jeezus. Wow. Damn fine grinding wall-of-sound. What was left of me staggered over to grab their CDs, when they finally went off at 0210 as the Emo's staff tried to shove everybody out the door before the TABC guys arrived. Excellent ending to the evening.

Wednesday's Score:
20 Interesting-sounding bands (not all listed here)
11 Actually seen/heard for more than 60 seconds
4 Outstanding, _really want to see 'em again, get the CD, etc., shows
4 Pretty decent ones
3 Wankers

Damn good odds. But Wednesdays usually are one of the better nights.

The rest of the fest: