South By Southwest 2009 – New Music Round-Up Part 2

Today I decided to venture further afar. In fact that’s a total lie, I just had no idea how far away the venue I wanted to go to was. I should have guessed really, as Club 1808 is called that because it’s number 1808, 12th Street, and well, 1808, that’s a pretty high number, right? And I’m at like number 1, 2nd Street or something. Anyway, after borrowing $2 from a kindly ex-marine at a bus stop cos I had no cash nor any idea where I was going (no joke, cheers Zack! whataguy!) I made it down just in time to catch Golden Triangle.

The venue was the type I’m learning is the funnest, one that feels kinda like someone’s house. It was pretty idyllic, drenched in sunlight watching these dual-lady-fronted yelping new wavers go at it on the makeshift bandstand before us. They were pretty good actually, there’s a lot of bands here that are a bit garagey, pretty perky, a bit silly and have recurring refrains that sound like ‘Hey Mickey’, but these guys do so with a Brooklyn-punk-Pipettes vigour that out-chirps anyone else I’ve seen on the trip. Oddly their drummer, bassist and guitarist seemed to have came fancy-dressed as clumsy racial stereotypes: Arab, Mexican, Chinaman.

The back yard of Club 1808, check the impromptu hoola-hooper in the back. I mean, the vibe-ometer is off the richter scale here, right? DING DING!

After that, I inquired with the attendant at a nearby gas station about ordering a taxi, to which she laughed in my face, but kindly offered to drive me across town for free. Later, as it happens, out of politeness I offered her $20 for her troubles, and she accepted it (tbh, it wouldn’t have cost me that much if I had found a cab, but oh well, that’ll learn me to be polite).

I wouldn’t have minded but after she dropped me off I couldn’t even find the mythologized ‘Yard Dog Art Fair’ venue I was looking for, I thought the name sounded dubious. This seems to happen at South By, with approx 98,6789 venues on the schedule trips sometimes prove fruitless.

So whilst I missed the Lissy Trulie show I was looking for, I ended up following the baying booms of post-rock navel-gazing on the breeze, which eventually led me to Sholtz’s bar, where whooping dream-rockers Fanfarlo were getting down to a pub-garden full of plastic white furniture and tepid enthusiasm. These guys are straddling that grand-designed Arcade Fire axis. It wasn’t really my cup of tea to be honest, a little mature, a little wailing and a little regal, but nice chaps nonetheless. They let me in on their SXSW set dilemmas.

You heard ‘im girrrls, and really, how can you resist a man in lederhosen?

Here’s some general SXSW video milieu film down one of the main stretches off 6th street, pretty special cinematography, right? Can’t you just smell the one-eyed elderly Mexican tramp?

With the lack of taxi situation still stumping me, I quite literally hot-footed it all the way across town to Stubb’s, a massive outdoor pit-esque space with a bad-boy sub-loaded soundsystem rig, where one of my fondest acts of the moment 3oh!3 were playing their last set of the festival.

Everything about their post-emo-pop crunkcore banshee screams wrongness, but still they defy all sense and manage to be amazing.This was hotly disputed by my companion who hyperbolically claimed they were the “worst band he’d ever seen in his entire life”, a reaction not uncommon from my experience, but I think that just says more about the no-hopers I misguidedly associate myself with.

However it was the first set of the festival I’ve observed that didn’t even have the vaguest sniff of industry-insider indifference. Whether that was because ‘the kidzzz’ had turned out en-masse for them, or that they managed to whip the suits into a heady inhibition-losing hysteria, I do not know, but either way, their skull-crushing slabs of whoop-ass Middle-America party-apocalypse did the job rather well.

3oh!3 grace the stage with a lovely little ditty called ‘Punkbitch’. Nat told me after it was an ode to his Auntie June who tragically passed away last year

I rounded things off tonight with the act equivalent to Liverpool in SXSW’s buzz act title race. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart hit the stage at a near-headline slot at the Radio Room. It’s swelling, surging dream-gaze jubilance, that never loses itself in the walls-of-sound.

There’s a sharp, crystal melody to all their tracks that leave thesongs swirling round your head like giddy school girl on her way home from being asked out by her dream boy after math class.