SXSW 2001 Death March

Day Three: Friday 16 March 2001

Friday began at Red Eyed Fly waiting for Bauer (Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS) to get their shit together. Kinda dull poppy-trippy retro electronica. Not worth waiting 15 minutes for these guys to get their gear all plugged in. Why can't electronica acts get their shit together? I know they have a lot more crap to plug in, but since this is a first act of the night, it's not like anyone kept them from setting up early.


Over to Atomic Café for Lonely Kings (Santa Cruz, CA). Now this is where I shouldda started my night! Pretty cool mall-core power-pop/punk.

Good but not great, so on to Pecan Street Alehouse for Shannon Moore (Venice, CA), a female soloist with traces of (milder) Chrissie Hynde and Aimee Mann, but too hippy chick-sounding for my tastes.

So time for the last of a set at Iron Cactus. The Switchblade Kittens (Los Angeles, CA) were 3 chicks, 2 basses, 1 guy, 0 guitars. Fast dumb teen-angst punk. Kinda fun.

Followed that with a run to the other end of the earth to Ruta Maya for Bottled Og (Oakland, CA). Some sort of guitar art-thrash worth the run to the other end of the fest (Ruta Maya). Tres punk, but too smart & way too weird to allow itself to be pigeonholed.

Also, something to remember: running immediately after shoving down a piece of Hoek's pizza is exactly why there were people giving away Pepto Bismol samples on street corners.

I cabbed it back to Sixth, and hit Maggie Mae's for Itoura Moussongo (Vigneux Sur Seine, FRANCE). Bummer. Soloist with a tape machine. From the sound of the MP3 I heard, I was expecting to see a live band.

So, across the street to Iron Cactus for Hanging Francis (Atlanta, GA). Ah. Pretty cool indie guitar rock power pop. Finished up with a tres cool growly-gravelly cover of The Eurythmics Here Comes the Rain Again. Nice.

Next up, the Mercury to see Bleach (Okinawa, JAPAN). First Japan Night act I've caught so far, and the place is, as always, packed like a Japanese subway. Here comes a 3-chick, obviously punk outfit. Mmm-hmm. 1-2-3-4 brand chipmunk hardcore but unfortunately with such shitty sound that it couldda been anything. And yeah, I _am_ bitching about the sound at a punk show. What of it?


Walked a couple of doors down to The Limelight for 99pounds (Austin, TX). I suppose the band is named for the body weight of the chain-smoking, heroine-chic, goth chick howling out front. Music was a pretty cool sort of a funky electro trip-hop goth. I just wish the sound man was awake, so he'd back off the DJ, because he's covering up too much of the rest.

Decided to head over to Copper Tank North to catch Dave Fischoff (Chicago, IL), since his sample MP3 was so, well, weird. Yep. He is. All over the map but always seriously fucked-up eyes-closed guitar and tape-loop channelling of surreal musical communications from some other planet. I want some of his medication.

Got old, so I wandered over to the Buffalo Club for the Signalmen (Champaign, IL). Quirky herky-jerky guitar frenzy alternated with vocal & odd guitar chord harmony. Not bad.

Now one I was waiting for. Maggie Mae's for Yellow Fever (Stockholm, SWEDEN). Wow, this is pretty cool. Six Swedes performing some strong south of the border surf-salsa-Ska. Good fun. I like. What is it about Northern Europeans and the surf stuff? Is it the lack of Sun for most of the year?

Liked 'em, but I really wanted to check out some others, so off to Copper Tank North for Panoply Academy Legionnaires (Bloomington, IN). This is Damaged. Thoroughly damaged in a weird, and I think good way. Their sound is sort of a combination of Here Come the Warm Jets era Brian Eno, and Rock Lobster era Fred Schneider of the B-52s, on even more sped than they ever must have done.

Once that was done, I squeezed my way into Soho which was at capacity plus for Spylab (Glasgow, UK). I do like electronica. And I do like these guys. But live is kind of a waste. The place was jammed to the gills for a show where literally almost no one could see the band. Honestly, I don't even think I was alone in not realizing that their set started, and it wasn't some sort of test pattern on the projector, since they were down on floor level and hunched over their toys.

Thinking I may as well be listening to a CD, I headed out, and over to Iron Cactus for Japanic (Houston, TX). Loud disordered punkish mess with bad, bad sound. Couldn't make out shit from the vocals. Almost worth the 30 seconds.

So, given that, over to Copper Tank North for Swearing at Motorists (Dayton, OH). They were sort of edgy country-esque experimental rock hairballs. Nothing to see here. Move along...

So, over to Atomic Café for Zeke (Seattle, WA). Dumb, fast, and very, very loud muscle-car heavy metal hardcore thrash shit. Did I already say dumb? Next!

Tried to get into Red Eyed Fly for ex-Girl (Tokyo, JAPAN), but the line was immense. Since they played outside, I could at least hear 'em, if not see 'em. Punk noise. Not bad, but nothing to cross the ocean for.

So I crossed 7th street instead and headed to Emo's Jr. for Texas Terri & the Stiff Ones (Los Angeles, CA). Fast, loud and out of control, hardcore Iggy & the Stooges wannabes fronted by some sort of apparently female version of Marilyn Manson. Next...

A milder offering was at Maggie Mae's, with Turn (Dublin, IRELAND). The first song I heard was brilliant, earnest, engaging. Wow. The ballad that followed greatly disappointed though. Merits some additional research.

Once he got onto the next ballad, it was time to split for Rainbow Cattle Co. to check out The Equators 1 (Birmingham, UK). Hrrrmm. Hip-hop more than the rocksteady of the sample I heard. Eh...

Wait... Here's some ska. Not bad.

More Hip-hop. Sigh...

Not the best ending. Oh well.

Friday's Score:
59 Interesting-sounding bands (not all listed here)
21 Actually seen/heard for more than 60 seconds
1 Outstanding, really want to see 'em again, get the CD, etc.
6 Pretty good
8 Pretty decent
4 Eh... Find something better to do, soon
2 Total wankers

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