[sxsw] Day 1 at the unofficial shows: SLEEP ∞ OVER, Puro Instincto, Woodsman, Dead Gaze, Prince Rama

As mentioned in previous "Road to SXSW" posts, I'm sticking to free, unofficial, and DIY shows at SXSW this year. My week's agenda includes house shows and parking lot shows, plus some bar and venue showcases that just happen to be free and "unofficial."

My first day of SXSW started on a fitting note. After QUILT pulled up to Club 1808 to play their first SXSW, I jumped out of the van and jetted to Klub Krucial to catch my other favorite Boston band, GIRLFRIENDS, play at the Phoenix's "First Contact" party. Within thirty minutes, I had run into probably every Bostonian I know in Austin this week. Appropriately, Girlfriends ended with "Cave Kids," where they sing about the "cave kids of Boston." Check it above.

After Girlfriends played, I checked out the Altered Zones party a couple of blocks away. Altered Zones is Pitchfork's blogger-curated sister site, dedicated to covering super weird and "out there" underground recordings. The venue felt like a physical realization of the site's dark, otherwordly aesthetic, both visually and sonically:

After checking out hypnotic sets by Austin's SLEEP ∞ OVER and L.A.'s PURO INSTINCTO (above), I made it back to First Contact in time to see DOM's quick, 20-minute set of mostly songs from Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, plus a few newer ones that sounded less punky than usual. Here's "Bocicha."

Later at night, I walked by Cheer Up Charlie's and was drawn in by the sounds of GRASS WIDOW playing in the parking lot. After hanging for a bit and running into many familiar faces, I decided to stay there for most of the night for a showcase curated by Brooklyn blog International Tapes. I half-watched A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS and then caught sets by WOODSMAN and Dead Gaze, and later on SWET and PRINCE RAMA. My favorite discovery of the day was Dead Gaze, who felt like a poppier Titus Andronicus. Woodsman's set of instrumental jams was also more overwhelmingly impressive than last time I saw them -- definitely want to catch them again, if possible. Here is a video of Boston favorites Prince Rama, who headlined the showcase with their newly-downsized 2-piece line-up.

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