SXSW 2000 Death March

Day Three: Friday 17 March 2000

Friday was cold as hell, but thankfully dry. No more standing in pools of water at Emo's. Phew... I'm just amazed that my boots dried out in 24 hours. Having had one too many rita at the office before I split, I ended up missing Patti Smith (damn!) and Gomez (double-damn!). I would have had to miss one or the other, anyway, but I gotta have a talk with my liver about priorities.

Red Star Belgrade (Chicago, IL) Speakeasy (2000) Pretty neat, but a bit country for my taste. Yet another dark, dark band, with mournful vocals and sound. Worth 15 minutes.

Then on to ...

Satelite (Los Angeles, CA) Babe's (2000) Still wanking around with a soundcheck @ 2020. C'mon. You were the first band, guys. You couldda gotten that done that earlier. Blew 'em off.

Monroe Mustang (Austin, TX) Park Ave (2000) Missed 'em last year & glad that didn't happen again. Low tempo, morphine-drip, dark ballads and slow & ominous guitar instrumentals. Really well done. First band of the fest when people literally shouted "encore". Definitely to be seen again, since they're local.

Knife in the Water (Austin, TX) Park Avenue (2100) In America's heartland, have the farmers all switched over to raising opium poppies? Some sort of weird alt-country for the damned, with occasional forays into slow spooky organ-infused ballads which occasionally explode into rants which make it obvious that little is right with the world. Excellently creepy stuff. And local, too.

Hated to leave, but wanted to see ...

Upsilon Acrux (San Diego, CA) Atomic Cafe (2100) Tight, precise & experimental aural violence. Something like Primus meets Robert Fripp and King Crimson in an alley with a tire iron. Damn! Three bands in a row have been grab-ya good! This is not a typical SXSW Friday...

Again, hated to leave, but damn if there weren't three good bands on at the same time ...

Red Delicious (Pasadena, CA) Gallery Lombardi Lounge (2100) When upbeat they're reminiscent of Garbage and Aimee Mann. But slow, they're more like some twisted, slutty version of Mazzy Star, with maybe a slice of the slower, more psychedelic tunes from Siouxsie & the Banshees, but with a more seductive bent. The audience was pretty wooden, but despite how the Chron reviewer blasted the band, I thought it was pretty good stuff, and have enjoyed the CD. Four in a row. On a Friday. This can't last.

Damn. Couldn't get into Gluecifer at Emo's. Line was 30-some odd folks (OK, they're always "odd" at Emo's), and not even taking badges.

So, one door to the West ...

The Satyrs (Memphis, TN) Park Ave (2200) Loud & pounding with howling vocals. The Website sample seemed VUish, but its just more rural morphine blended with some of the more ponderous sort of Dead Can Dance vocals, when they slow down. Not bad. But not a knockout.

On to ...

Julia Greenberg (New York, NY) Maggie Mae's West (2200) In your face female songwriter with a band which is _not_ afraid of its guitars. Ranging from dark, murder-themed, slow ballad to loud, bright, guitar wailing rock. Tres cool.

Camaro Hair (Portland, OR) Soho Lounge (2200) Guitar work reminiscent of Icicle Works or maybe The Church on some mild uppers. But with a name like Camaro Hair, where were the mullets?

Bob Perry Band (Englewood, NJ) Maggie Mae's West (2300) Somewhere between country & rock. Technically very clean, but didn't do it for me.

So over to drop my jaw at the lines for Murder City Devils (Seattle, WA) Emo's (about 50 people) and Vuew at Emo's Jr. (about another 30, probably bent on slipping through the back door of the main club to see the Murder City Devils. NFW.

The Frampton Brothers (Pittsburgh, PA) ark Avenue (2300) Green Day power-pop/punk meets Too Much Joy's deliberate stupidity. Not bad, but time to walk up Red River.

Super Suckers () Stubb's (2300) Ha ha ha ha ha. Line around the block. My bet is that it's folks who want to make sure they're inside in time for Reverend Horton Heat in an hour and a half.

Continued north to become a sardine during ...

Dino Martinis (Calgary, AB) Caucus Club (2300) Hip, occasionally tongue in cheek jump-blues/swing. You gotta love a band that does a swing cover of the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" and Motorhead's "Ace of Spades".

Prairie Cats (Omaha, NE) Caucus Club (0000) Energetic swing and jump-blues. More professional and polished than the last guys, but less interesting because of that.

Fearing being crushed to death, especially knowing the Red Elvises were playing there in an hour (What the hell were the organizers thinking!?!?!?!?), I split for ...

Lolita No. 18 (Tokyo, JAPAN) Mercury Ent. at Jazz (0000) Frenetic, hyper-happy-bouncy bubblegum version of the Ramones, with vocals sung by tortured chipmunks. The Japanese are an extremely odd people.

And to think I missed Nash Kato for these last two. Grrrr...

And the downhill trend continued with ...

Botanica (New York, NY) Speakeasy (0100) They jacked around with equipment for 30 minutes only to find out the keyboard dork left something unplugged. Then some bald William Buroughs-wannabe did some spoken word um, poetry, about beef slaughter. This does not bode well. Eventually they settled into some sort of Nick Cave-ish twisted lounge. The band seems to have potential, but this show was a letdown.

I shouldda risked being crushed to death ...

Friday's Score:
37 Interesting-sounding bands (not all listed here)
15 Actually seen/heard for more than 60 seconds
3 Outstanding, _really want to see 'em again, get the CD, etc., shows
3 Really good, entertaining shows
5 Pretty decent ones
3 Wankers
1 Who fucked around with their equipment, until I gave up on them

Patti Smith, Gomez, Nash Kato, the Orange Mothers, and the
Red Elvises. I get a reprieve on them, since they play Jovita's
on Sunday night _and_ Continental Club on Monday!

The rest of the fest: