I didn’t hit SXSW too hard this year, and I think that’s what made it so pleasant. I spent more time at friends’ houses than at venues this week. I had one hour-plus driving experience within a three mile radius, with suicidal pedestrians outnumbering parking spots 5,000 to one. I stuck to out-of-the-way venues with free shows that I knew I wanted to see. As a result, I made it through with more money than I started with, minimal hangovers, and some semblance of rejuvenation to start this week.
This was taken right before I fell in love with Eleanor Friedberger again. I’d seen her play with the Fiery Furnaces before, all scowls and miss-matched clothes, flying through the awkward lyrics as if auctioning off absurdity. Seeing her alone with her accoustic guitar doing some songs off Last Summer cemented my opinion that she can tell touching, authentic stories that are just as interesting without the bells and whistles of Fiery Furnace songs.
Some other bands:
My friend used a little deception and a few connections to sneak us past a huge line of grouchy teenagers to see this show. We caught the last few songs. It was exactly what I expected, except I expected the free beer to not have run out.
The Strange Boys
So good. Everyone seemed happy to be crammed together under the disco ball for this experience.
I was resistant to this harsh Brooklyn duo. It seemed designed for eardrum assault, and it was not a good match for a sunny afternoon under a tent. Between songs, Shannon Funchess quit singing like an opera understudy of doom to plug their new album too much and make vague quasi-political statements. But if I said I didn’t do a bit of dancing it would be a lie.
Okay, fine, Pitchfork. I’m becoming the stereotypical girl who’s entranced by Grimes. Visions is a refreshing album, and she performs that music like a damn MAGICIAN. She was sick during the show I saw, but hit her signature high notes as best as she could. She’s like a riot grrl for 2012, although she has a totally different sound, audience, etc. It’s in the way that she shrieks instead of crooning, performs like Lykke Li but runs her own show (instead of just banging the occasional drum), and dresses like a 10-year-old without parents. She’s that geeky girl you really should have sat next to in the middle school cafeteria.
Psychic Ills/ Crocodiles
Man, I don’t know. The beer was free.