SXSW Day 2, Thurs. March 19

I got a pretty late start after adjusting to this whole idea of "there are things that you want to do happening all day and all night", but I wound up at the tail end of the Kerrang!/Guitar Hero party at Wave. It was, theoretically, invite-only, but I wasn't hassled at the door for being a badge-wielding gate crasher so I suppose they must have been nearly out of free booze.

Attack! Attack! from the UK were playing, and while the ample pogoing happening onstage indicated the band was having a great time I was distinctly underwhelmed by their nĂ¼metal-cum-metalcore schlock. It managed to sound overproduced even live. This is what you think is rad enough to import from overseas, Kerrang!?

On the sun-dappled front porch of Beer Land Texas I found The Fresh & Onlys from San Francisco flailing out their energetic, rave-up garage rock. Lots of fun. They, like quite a few other bands I've seen so far, were afflicted with PA problems, but once power was restored they brought back the rock, and it was good.
The Fresh & Onlys

I followed a stiltwalker down the street to Headhunters and stumbled upon Austin's own Meganaut. They've got the self-promotion angle locked down. The dudes were delivering heavy party rock that in its weaker moments drifted toward hair band territory, but it was saved by the reassuringly beardy, bluesy vocals. Not sure I'd seek these guys out again, but if they're playing the bar you're drinking in you'll likely be satisfied.

Today's theme was seeing bands from New York City, and I started off by checking out the Tee Pee Records showcase at Room 710 to catch Kreisor. They're a big-riff three piece who were playing heavy rock with a strong 70s-via-retro-90s vibe. Sadly, they seemed to fall a bit short of the mark. The guitar solos were simultaneously wanky and simplistic, the bassist dropped the ball on the backing vocals, and I left after three songs.

For the remainder of the night I parked myself at The Ale House for the The End Records showcase. This was a good choice. I only caught the tail end of Junius' last song, but I liked what I heard. Next up was Brooklyn's Hull. I'd wanted to see these guys for a while, and I guess it took flying all the way to Austin to do it. Nevertheless, Hull blasted out a toppling wall of stoner-flavored sludge that got everyone in the club fired up. Lots of hair in faces. Nice guys, too. I spoke to Carmine, one of Hull's three guitarists, for a little while after the show about NYC metal and promised I'd come see them again when they played back home.

Next up was These Are They from Chicago. Their vocalist claimed that we were witnessing their first live show, but if he hadn't tipped us off there would have been no way to tell. Very tight, if perhaps only medium-technical death metal. The bassist and rhythm guitarist were headbanging along and tossing their blondeness all over the place, but the vocalist and lead guitarist could stand to amp up their stage presence at tad.

Back to the New Yorkers: Goes Cube shook the Ale House with very heavy post-punky spacerockmetal. Very full sound for a three-piece band. The guitarist was the first band member of the evening to fulfill the punk tradition of coming off the stage to play in the audience. The club got progressively more crowded as Goes Cube's show brought people in off the street, so they're doing something right.

Chicago's Tub Ring are not only a band, they're their own mosh pit. In any given song it's a tossup as to whether the keyboardist / maraca juggler / backing vocalist will spend more time playing or standing on his instruments. They're impossible to classify musically. I heard everything from electro-klezmer to extreme noise terror, all of it heavy, unrelenting and turned to eleven. Their breathless live show is a great rock and roll spectacle, but it's hard to tell how their sound(s) might translate to a record. Super nuts, but they got the girls dancing so what more can you really ask for?
Tub Ring

If you're into thrash, Early Man sure are a thrash band. Flying V guitars chugging away at high speed on the 6 string, ripping riff after riff. That said, it's thrash. If you're looking for anything else, you're out of luck. Early Man are singular in purpose.

Day three beckons. Last night I swapped sleeping orientation on the couch to balance out my musculoskeletal stresses. One must pace one's self

No comments: