SXSW 2010 (Wednesday): Freelance Whales, Basia Bulat, Horse Feathers, High on Fire


12:20 PM. PASTE MAGAZINE PARTY AT GALAXY ROOM. Sneak in the door just in time to learn how to pronounce BASIA BULAT's first name, and to see her play a really great song on a granny harp -- which will be your new favorite instrument if you like to hammer on shit and strum on shit at the same time. I have no idea why there aren't more black metal bands with electric granny harps. Here's a taste of what happened after she put the harp down and picked up her guitar:


12:56 HYPE MACHINE LOSE CONTROL 2 AT VICE: The lineup for this looks awesome. But then you show up and they tell you they're being all blog-secret and not releasing set times. Who's on now? "I dunno, go ask the stage manager." Inside: four people and a couple of folks with laptops. Next.

1:50 PM WATERLOO RECORDS: Mile-long walk down Sixth Street is totally worth it. For the only exercise I'll get all day. For the midget in the leprechaun suit handing flyers outside the Irish bar (it is, completely incidentally, St. Patrick's Day). For a stop at the world's most luxurious Whole Foods in the universe. And most of all for the heavy-metal-parking-lot experience of seeing High on Fire at Waterloo. Fuck. Yes. Check out the video below, and wait for the Austin metal guy giving you the finger:

3:35 PM PARADISE CAFE: Walked by a sign earlier that said Horse Feathers were playing, so naturally I assumed you'd have to be there an hour early to jam yourself in. Not so -- especially when Fucked Up, GZA (who cancelled), and Japandroids are playing around the block. So: awesome laid-back vibe with respectable crowd for a band who should be as popular as Iron and Wine and Bon Iver. Here's a glimpse, and if you dig it, we've got two more up on our YouTube page.

5:05 LEVIS FADER FORT: Was hoping to see Mexi-punks RATAS DEL VATICANO, but glancing at my google calendar, realize that the reason they're not onstage is probably that they're double-booked for a showcase of a dozen South-of-Border punk bands halfway across town. Sure enough, MALE BONDING steps in to take their place. They break a string one song in and still sound pretty much like Male Bonding. Main event, for me, is the 6 pm slot: I'm a sucker for that FREELANCE WHALES record. If they don't blow up, it won't be for lack of trying. Here's them playing what in a perfect world would be the themesong to FOURSQUARE: "You can be in several different places/I am sensing your location" (two more clips up on YouTube):


8:50 KRCW SHOWCASE AT GALAXY: Adorable French girl named SOKO plays continental folk music and a passable approximation of country. Public radio people will shit themselves over her. Couldn't get close enough to shoot video, and then she took over the drum kit and started group-chanting stuff about how much she hates people. Totally a human worth rooting for.

10 PM: BOSTON PHOENIX SHOWCASE AT SPILL: We sponsored our editors' pick for Massachusetts' best new rising band -- MAGIC MAGIC -- who were coming here anyway. They were real good. There's video floating around somewhere, which will eventually be embedded below. 

11:28 PM: STUBBS BBQ: Danger Mouse and Mercer's second show of the day -- the first having been a SPIN pop-up gig in an outdoor parking garage that had lines wrapped around two corners, and people clinging to chain-link fences to peek in. I'm past being excited every time Danger Mouse picks a new indie band to make famous for a week, but BROKEN BELLS feels like the kind of record the Shins couldn't bring themselves to make -- meticulous, epic, even bigger when you're playing the same joint MUSE is playing tonight. I think someone took photos of this. 

1 AM: BUFFALO BILLIARDS: It's been a long time since anyone saw ANDREW WK with a full band, and I can't quite shake the memory that even when he had one, it wasn't always very good. This -- his second live show since getting the band back together, and first SXSW ever -- was fun for at least a half-hour. It includes all the ugly death-metal heshers he usually brought, plus some kind of female aerobics instructor who seems to have internalized AWK's meta-headbanging schtick. Flying-beercup mayhem, crowd-surfing, dudes jumping up on stage to give Andrew big bro-hugs -- and lots of prime first-album power-ballad party music. And he's playing about 12 more shows in the next three days, so if everyone here isn't sick of him by Monday, the comeback is on. 



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