[Above: Lou Reed loves punk rock.]
By Nate Dorr
South by Southwest day two began with a fruitless search for free food at the numerous day parties that claimed to be offering it. The search was unsuccessful, unfortunately, unless you count apples and pretzels, or unless you got distracted by wandering into a Monotonix show at weird, outlying venue the Typewriter Museum. The Israeli band sounded like classic rock on the Deep Purple template, but if the lead singer of Deep Purple ever head-butted a cup of beer out into the crowd and then rolled over the bar, we haven’t heard about it.
[Above: Bankroll Jonez.]
[Above: These Are Powers.]
After running into UGK rapper Bankroll Jonez on the street, and a quick stop at Ms. Bea’s again for These Are Powers and a chat with Gowns, we decided to get out of the smaller, peripheral shows, and head straight into the belly of the beast (i.e. the Fader party. The actual SXSW showcases can’t even rival that level of quintessential conference bloat). Despite lines that soon ran all the way around the block to the next street up, we managed to make inside in time for the Lou Reed tribute show, a rather surreal event already well-documented already elsewhere in these pages.
[Above: Dr. Dog at Fader.]
[Above: Lou Reed loves Dr. Dog.]
[Above: Joseph Arthur at Fader.]
[Above: Lou Reed with Moby?]
[Above: My Morning Jacket.]
[Above: Thurston Moore and the New Wave Bandits.]
The myopenbar.com pool party, set in a giant parking garage decked out with shoe company stands and guitar hero, was our next stop, again for free food. Again, we were thwarted, perhaps this time by miss-reading of an ambiguously-phrased flier. But they had Team Robespierre, and presumably, after we took off, No Age and Mika Miko.
[Above: Team Robespierre.]
[Above: Jens Lekman.]
Still feeling flush success (and high-gravity Sparks) at having managed to get into the Fader Compound earlier, we set out for another bigger show, Jens Lekman at Mohawk. This time wristbands proved powerless against the steady influx of badge-bearers, and we had to satisfy ourselves with listening to “Black Cab” and “The Opposite of Hallelujah” over the wall, and a couple weird paparazzi shots from across the street with a good zoom lens and long-range flash.
[Above: Fuck Buttons.]
A text message told me that UK distortionists Fuck Buttons were going on soon at Red Eye Fly, so we headed back down Red River to check them out. The ladies checking IDs at the door looked fresh off the bake sale table and wholly puzzled by the sounds beginning behind them when we rolled up. One of them went to check what was happening and returned to announce the name of the band with a disapproving face scrunch and announced that it was “just one guy on stage, he’ll be done in 10 or 15 minutes probably. Fortunately, none of this was true. As we entered to the epic finish of “Bright Tomorrow”, it was clear that both members were there, and they put in a full set. We’ve been hearing some pretty glowing hype on these guys and it seemed warranted by the sounds they were able to get out of their rig, spilling out of suitcase and including the likes of a gameboy and Sing-Along Cassette Recorder. We couldn’t shake the impression, from the huge sweeping melodies underlying the chaos, that Fuck Buttons would be popular trance producers if they weren’t so into distortion.
[Above: El Guincho.]
Back at Mohawk, Black Mountain played to a similar scene as Jens, only with more fence climbing. We timed our visit to that one song with the chorus that goes “We’ve all seen tomorrow”, which sounded pretty good, but then headed back to Red Eye Fly, where a Spaniard going by El Guincho pulled brisk tribal rhythms from a simple percussion array and sampler. Sort of like the High Places with Rob singing instead of Mary, and trying to play rave. I think the Cardboard Records guys are thinking of putting out his stuff over here, actually.