SXSW 2010 (Wednesday) mid-day review and video: Japandroids, Morning Benders and more

(Here are found words, pictures and videos from the SXSW adventures of P. Nick Curran and Addison Post)

My introduction to South by Southwest came last night at a co-op loft show near University of Texas’ campus. A girl in a pink tutu sat alone under a streetlamp sipping a forty on a pile of broken beer bottles. She didn’t seem to care. Why would she. Rock and Roll.

The loft had round-robbin stages set in each corner and when one band ended, the next began on the opposite side. We were there for Thee Oh Sees, whose music, although great and totally location appropriate, proved irrelevant since most people were too drunk to understand sound. Punks smashed pints of whiskey on the ground and moshed themselves into the shards. Mr. Addison Post, fellow Phoenix correspondent, got punched in the face and soon after bled from his lip. People swang from the rafters, surfed the crowds. Several thrown beer cans landed squarely on our friends.  The situation proved too abusive, we chose to move on. And after a short sleep on a slowly leaking air mattress, we awoke for the first day.

We spent the afternoon at the Brooklyn Vegan day show at Emos.


I’d never heard The Morning Benders before. They have unexpected ways of building songs. Plodding pop-constructions driven by a charming, chamber-pop tenor escalated within moments to post-rock epics, all high-neck guitar heroics and looping, disembodied harmonies. The included song (of which we don’t know the name…any help?) has the feel of a lost classic. Like something your parents listened to when you were young. Sounds similar to Grizzly Bear with suggestions of Explosions in the Sky.

VIDEO: The Morning Benders performing a super epic song.)

Japandroids‘ guitarist played an entire song out of tune. He realized his error early on and instead of stopping to tune, screamed into the mic: “REMIX!” Again, rock and roll. When I last saw them at Great Scott in Allston, they tore the place down with 4-chord grunge thrashers about love, drunks and girls with wet hair. In Austin this afternoon, they tore themselves apart trying to play a handful of songs in twenty-five minutes. Sounds like your inner-monologue after seeing the girl you’re going to marry from across the room. And you’re probably drunk. (Note: They claim they have never played “Wet Hair” in the States except for a on TV show. They totally played it at Great Scott.)

Video: Japandroids performing a super epic song.)

I only heard the first three songs from the Black Angels set before the sun and my lack of sleep drove me to seek shelter. They sounded like they do on record: loud, droney and much like a drug-induced coma. The snippets of their fourth song, a new one by way of introduction, sounded suspiciously like a 12-bar blues scale. This worries me.

That’s it for now. Until tomorrow.

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