Posted in music | pictures | tour dates on March 23, 2011

by Bill Pearis


"It is what it is." I must've heard that phrase 30 times during SXSW -- be it in reference to alloted set times, equipment, sound or the free food at whatever day party I was at. You have to, as Diamond Dave once said, roll with the punches to get to what's real. Or at least have a good time.

So this year for this year's fest in Austin, I attempted to be as stress free as possible. I mostly avoided anything that would be a pain to get into, be it the hyper-hyped (James Blake, Odd Future), already popular (Strokes, Kanye), or overly hip (Fader Fort, PureVolume House). Which is probably why this was probably the most fun SXSW I've attended yet, with almost no dud bands seen.

I flew into San Antonio this year, where friends picked me up and we then drove down to Austin with a pit stop on the way for lunch, which got us to the Convention Center around 2pm to pick up our badges. First stop: The Palm Door to catch Austin locals Ringo Deathstarr whose album Colour Trip is one of my favorites of 2011 so far. I call a lot of things shoegaze, but these three have the classic '90s sound -- including Kevin Shields' glide guitar style -- down pat. Some seriously catchy songwriting keeps it out of pastiche territory. They are good and loud on the Palm Door patio, my first of many Lone Star tallboys of the week in hand, and it's a great start to the fest.

From there I headed over to Emo's for the first of BrooklynVegan's many day parties. Got there just in time to see the tail end of Mr Heavenly's set. I stuck around for Surfer Blood who I expected to play a bunch of new material but instead gave us an enjoyable hits-packed set from their first album.

Guides and were scrutinized over dinner, as the evening was planned out. First stop was to Beauty Bar for the Moshi Moshi party, specifically to see electronic duo Beat Connection who sound like they're from Sweden but are actually from Seattle. Not a lot of stage presence (two dudes behind keyboards, one of whom looks like John Daly from Freaks & Geeks) but they sound great and it's already a dance party in Beauty Bar at 8PM.

We next stopped by the Oklahoma showcase happening at Friends. Stillwater's Colourmusic lay down some awesome Can-style prog, made extra heavy with two bassists. Flaming Lips, early-'90s psych influence casts a shadow on them too. Some crazed (drunk) superfan from their hometown jumps on stage, takes off his shirt and joins the band on the mic, making for the best picture I took all week. Easily one of my favorite performances of SXSW 2011. Their album, My ____ is Pink, is out next month on Memphis Industries and is very good.

While there, a woman comes up to me and asks if I was at SXSW the previous year. I answered yes, to which she then says "Remember me? I was dressed as a hippie rooster and danced all around you." Nope, sorry lady, don't remember that. And I think I would.

Leaving my friends, I hit Maggie Mae's to catch Glaswegian electronic outfit Errors, part of the Creative Scotland showcase. I was a big fan of their first album and had been wanting to see them ever since. Kinda like the Scottish version of Ratatat, their instrumental electro-rock translates well to the stage. Worth the wait. You can see Errors all over the U.S next month on tour with Mogwai (whose label, Rock Action, they're signed to.) Tour dates, two nights at Webster Hall included, are at the bottom of this post.

Looking back over things, Wednesday was maybe the best day for me overall. Next was London's Mazes who make superior '90s style indie rock. (Not to be confused with 1900s offshoot Mazes who have since changed their name I think.) The obvious comparison is Yuck, but it's less GBV/Sebadoh and more Pavement/Number One Cup. Also like Yuck, they're not the most energetic band I've ever seen but they sound great.

I close out the night at Red Eyed Fly. Sky Larkin have been telling me to go see fellow Leeds band Pulled Apart by Horses for nearly three years, warning me I might not want to get too close. I now understand why... they are an explosion on stage, bouncing off the walls, bounding into the crowd, climbing trellises, singing on the bar and other wild behavior. No puking, thankfully, which I hear has happened on occasion. Kinetic and spastic as they are, Pulled Apart by Horses' music -- thrashy, mathy, riffy, shouty -- is not really my cup of tea.

Pete & the Pirates were supposed to be on at 1AM but things were running very late. I'd been up since 3:30AM -- my flight had left at 5:45am -- so when it hit 1:30, I opted for a much-needed full night of sleep. Slightly disappointed but I'd see P&P later in the week is what it is.

A few more pictures, video of Colourmusic's performance, and those Errors tourdates (with Mogwai) are below.

Ringo Deathstarr

Beat Connection


Colourmusic - Dolphins & Unicorns at SXSW 2011



Pulled Apart By Horses

Pulled Apart By Horses



Mogwai & Errors - 2011 Tour Dates
Apr. 19 - Washington, DC - 9.30 Club
Apr. 20 - Philadelphia, PA - Starlight Ballroom
Apr. 21 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Apr. 22 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Apr. 23 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
Apr. 25 - Montreal, QC - Olympia Theatre
Apr. 26 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre
Apr. 27 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Smalls Theatre
Apr. 28 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrews Hall
Apr. 29 - Chicago, IL - Metro
Apr. 30 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
May 02 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
May 03 - Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue
May 05 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
May 06 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
May 07 - Seattle, WA - Showbox at the Market
May 09 - San Francisco, CA - Regency Ballroom
May 10 - Los Angeles, CA - Mayan Theater
May 11 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
May 13 - Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theatre
May 15 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre
May 16 - Austin, TX - Stubbs Waller Creek
May 17 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
May 19 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay Theater
May 20 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage



Comments (20)

Do you think these SXSW posts will be over by the time CMJ starts?

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 11:41 AM

^ did you ever stop to consider that the thousands of people who attended BV's SXSW parties would want to read about the festival on the site afterwards? if you don't want to read about SXSW, then click on some other story.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 11:54 AM

^^^ eat my shorts

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 11:59 AM

^^did you ever stop to consider that the even more thousands of people who did not attend BV's SXSW parties nor any other parties because they are amongst the vast majority of BV readers who live in New York don't give a fuck about the festival?

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 12:04 PM

I'm a Brooklyn hipster. I have a low paying job, which I attend 3 days a week. I wear horn rimmed glasses (because that's what everyone wears these days), and I never smile. I'm really miserable inside, because my life really is pathetic and my parents had so much greater dreams for me. But hey, I go to about 275 shows a year, don't play an instrument, and have no plans for the rest of my life. Except to write asinine comments on public forums and blogs and try to spread my malaise to others as widely as I can.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 12:11 PM

12:11 stop making people feel so ashamed of themselves with perfect execution

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 12:29 PM

bill peris, getting whiter ever day.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 12:47 PM

guarantee you that bill's knowledge of music surpasses yours in every way possible.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 12:56 PM


Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 1:03 PM

how much longer until the bruise cruise?

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 1:18 PM

Of the 275 shows only 21 were curated.

Posted by Blag the destroyer | March 23, 2011 1:20 PM

The "crazed (drunk) superfan" at Colourmusic's show is Nathan Poppe, the same guy that shot the video that was posted here.

Watch Colourmusic's music video for "Tog" and his sans-shirt performance will click:

Posted by | March 23, 2011 1:22 PM

""It is what it is." I must've heard that phrase 30 times"

One of the most annoying phrases.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 2:07 PM

Bill, nobody cares about SXSW anymore except 30 somethings who have money.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 2:47 PM

oh, who the fuck cares.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 3:19 PM

yeah, having money as a 30 something is just so not cool

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 3:21 PM

Anonymous, I think that Anonymous' point was not that being 30 and having money was uncool, just that the only ones who care about SXSW is that demographic. But, I am still with Anonymous - waiting for the bruise cruise slot for this group of lads and lassies

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 3:42 PM

"oh, who the fuck cares."

Well I certainly don't.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2011 3:57 PM

i'm not a 30-something with money, that's for sure.

hopefully these daily reports (which are indeed late going up) tip you to a band you've never heard of that sound interesting.

i went for the music.

Posted by bill p | March 23, 2011 4:01 PM

Your post will be rather good, and I’m sure some will find it interesting because it’s about a topic that’s as widely discussed as others. Some may even find it useful.Thanks so much for your post.

Posted by windows software downloads | July 19, 2011 10:29 PM

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