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Will Sheff & Roky Erickson
"Welcome to Montreal -- how do you like the Weather?" - Martin Cesar, Think About Life.
After three lovely days of sunny, mild weather, the skies went grey and cold for the last day of SXSW, Saturday, March 20th, with temperatures dropping to around 45 degrees. Almost no one seemed prepared for it, judging by the throngs of under-dressed shivering all over town. With a lot of the Austin venues being outdoor, it especially hurt. Our final party of a very busy week of parties was a free badge-less official SXSW event that we did with the M for Montreal folks, at the two-stage Galaxy Room (formerly Radio Room & Bourbon Rocks). The main stage was outside -- under a tent, which helped just a little -- and while temperatures were low, spirits were high and it was maybe the most fun I had all week.
My favorite set of the day came early. Think About Life are so much fun live, so much genuine positivity, it's hard to be in a bad mood with them on stage. An instant hangover cure. I think this was the first time a lot of the audience had ever seen them play, if the number of people who asked me who they were was any indication. At one point singer Martin Cesar left the stage as if their set was over, only to appear in the middle of the crowd dancing, hyping people up. That they didn't do "Johanna" is my only complaint. NYers can see them on April 27 when Think About Life play Mercury Lounge. It's part of a fairly extensive U.S. tour, do go see them.
I was also super-pumped to see The Besnard Lakes whose new album The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night is pretty fantastic. Specifically, I wanted to hear its epic opener, "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent," and have it knock me back. Like a lot of Montreal bands, The Besnard Lakes' line-up ebbs and flows. Theirs does so around the core of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. I've seen them seven strong before, but here they were a lean mean quartet and did not disappoint. They're on tour in May, including a 5/28 show at Bowery Ballroom.
Another set I knew would be fun was Montreal's Duchess Says who played one of our CMJ day parties last year. While their more aggressive take on Devo-style protopunk is fun, it's all about singer Annie Claude who looks very cute and innocent... until the music starts. She shrieks, jumps in the audience, tackles people, pulls them to the floor, and causes general mayhem. It's more mischief than menace though. There are lots of other singers who do similar things, but never anything quite like her. After you've seen them once, part of the fun is watching other people experience them for the first time. The inside room was packed to the gills (it was warmer there). My favorite part of the show had her sitting down in the middle of the audience, methodically pulling people down with her, draping their arms over her into a giant pile of people. There's video at the bottom of this post.
The other major highlight for me was Roky Erickson with Okkervill River. I'd never seen him before and this was certainly a great live introduction to someone whose music I've loved for a long time. Will Sheff produced Roky's new album (first in 14 years) and Okkervill was his backing band on it, so the set was tight, rocking and just sounded fantastic. Roky was in great form too, and we got a few 13th Floor Elevators nuggets in there, as well as "Starry Eyes," one of my favorites of his solo material. They tour in May including a show at Webster Hall.
And there was lots more: the great Wye Oak kicked off the party with a lovely set despite cold fingers; Jason Collett was a class act with superbly-crafted country-pop (see video of his set below); Crystal Antlers filled in for BEAST who couldn't make it; Andrew WK was in full Meatloaf mode with a set of piano ballads; Plants and Animals were lush and harmony-laden; metal legends Voivod showed they've still got it; and a percussion-heavy set from L.A.'s Local Natives was probably the biggest draw of the day -- they were excellent.
Somehow I entirely missed sets by Holy Fuck (who I heard were great) and Suckers (who I've seen before many times here in NYC). A last minute addition, Nardwuar was there too, providing funny, heavily-researched band introductions as only he can. It was a great, if cold, day. Stay tuned for his video interview of Will and Roky.
Thanks to everyone who helped put this all together, and to our sponsors. More pictures and videos from the whole day below...
our award winning poster by Michael Deforge
free breakfast tacos
free Hail Merry granola
Wye Oak (pics via a cell phone)
Jason Collett (pic via a cell phone)
The Besnard Lakes
More Besnard Lakes pics HERE.
Think About Life
Mikey from M For Montreal introduces the band
free ice cream (and ice pops)
Nardwuar introduces Holy Fuck
free catering courtesy of Daily Juice
some people won free Nudie Jeans
vegan bake sale for charity
J Mascis in the crowd (via someone's cell phone)
cell phone pic as Voivod leaves the stage
Plants and Animals
Nardwuar introduces Andrew WK
Roky Ericson w/ Okkervil River
cell phone pic
Nardwuar interviewing Roky Erickson and Will Sheff (stay tuned!)
More pictures and some Nardwuar videos HERE. And thanks to our radio sponsor KEXP for the following two videos:
and here are four more...
Jason Collette @ BV/M for Montreal SXSW Day Party
Uploaded by brooklynvegan. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.
The Besnard Lakes - into to "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent"
Besnard Lakes at Brooklyn Vegan/M for Montreal SXSW Party
Uploaded by brooklynvegan.