Nick Waterhouse and the Tarots
Lee Fields and the Expressions
Bass Drum of Death
Gardens & Villa
Bear in Heaven
The War on Drugs
Sharon Van Etten
We attended the Aquarium Drunkard day show back at the Hype Hotel. This was a really versatile mix of acts, going from straight-up soul to country to roots and punk.
First up was Nick Waterhouse and the Tarots, playing a fun retro-style while the crowd very slowly trickled in to the Hype Hotel. I should mention that the promoters, The Hype Machine — a MP3 blog aggregator — took this “hotel” metaphor pretty far. We made reservations and were issued room keys upon check in. A lot of shows require an RSVP but, in our experience, none really check them when you arrive. I think it’s more used to get an idea of how many people may come.
Anywhoo, Nick Waterhouse’s band nearly outnumbered the audience — something I attribute more to the check in process than their entertainment value.
Next was Lee Lee Fields and the Expressions. Mr. Feilds is a little guy with a huge voice. The Expressions were a very tight outfit: tenor sax, trumpet, drums, bass and lead guitars. This guy blew us all away with his super-high energy and total cool. When the band played an extended instrumental intro for him before he took the stage (he was about 6 feet away) I realized that this was probably the first proper Soul show I’d ever seen.
First song was about how he loved all women. Second was about how virile he is. Third was about his faithfulness. Yeah, wonder where rappers got their act from.
I cared not for Bass Drum of Death. I was pretty disappointed by Youth Lagoon.
The Futurebirds were really enjoyable. There was nothing to really distinguish them from many of the other bands I saw but they had a nice sound and energy. Notably, at the end of their set the lead singer jumps on the edge of the stage and it seems like his momentum was going to carry him right into the audience, right into where I was standing. Naturally, I quickly shuffled to the side to allow him safe landing — whereupon I find out he had no such intention. He playfully swings his guitar neck at me and returns to behind the microphone.
What to say about the Alabama Shakes. When they came out they looked so un-rock-like. It looked like someone gave the chess club guitars. But after 10 seconds… what can I say? They ripped the place up. Such energy and musicality. Great, great performance.
(The rest of the journal is brought to you by my twitter posts. I think I was pretty tired near the end and kind of went off-topic.)
Need to monetize my stream, so say my good friends drinking #Smirnoff at #Dell. Ready for #buzzband Bleached.
Lead singer for Gardens & Villa has a quiver of wood flutes. Prediction: longest setup for least payoff. #IBM
Thor from #Shearwater is hanging out 5 feet to our left. I wonder what a lunch break at a #smirnoffice is like.
Robin Flute® is growing on me. Still too many flutes. #SXSW
This crowd sucks at beach ball. “Pass The Flute” sounds like a gay porn movie. Probably on UrbanDictionary before I can finish thumb typing.
When you are stuck in the front row of a show b/c you are waiting for a subsequent band, you are obligated to subtly do The Polite Dance.
Sorry, #Bauhaus, but bands should be named after large & scary things like bears, ghosts and Sharon Van Etten. #noahfence
Guy fashion at #SXSW? Old-timey lace up brown leather boots and skinny jeans. Not sure how skinny jeans would have worked for the 49ers.
Saw a woman with skinny jeans on try to tie her shoe & she nearly broke in half.
Everyone attending #SXSW music festival is handed an iPhone & marajuanna cigarette. Not sure where they do this, tho.
What are the rules about dopplegangers? Must you look alike? Crossett has a music doppleganger that appears at all the #SXSW shows he hits.
Great show by #BearInHeaven. Definitely getting more crowded here. Looking forward to: Sharon Van Etten; not: walking back to the condo.
New #SXSW rules: 1) no more than one keyboard player per band. 2) band with most complicated setup plays first.
#SXSW rules: 3) Sharon Van Etten shall be referred to as the more Twitter-friendly #SVE, which my phone will autocorrect to DVD or SUV.
Is it bad that #everyword’s (robot reading the dictionary) Twitter feed is more compelling than mine?
Second celeb musician at the #Mohawk: J Mascis in the audience for #SVE at #SXSW.
Crossett & I disagree about the lead singer of French Wives having Marfan’s. Crossett thinks he’s just tall.
There should be all-smoking planes in which it is mandatory to light up during take off and landing. #United
There’s a fine line between edgy & funny and just plain obnoxious. Sorry, make that wide berth.