photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Against Me! / Touche Amore / The Front Bottoms
SXSW is currently underway, and while we still have three day parties and a metal showcase ahead of us, we kicked off our BrooklynVegan events with our official showcase at Red 7 last night (3/12). Unfortunately, we did have to keep the capacity lower than usual after the previous night's over-sold Chance the Rapper show was shut down by the fire marshal. That kept a lot of people waiting on the line outside, but we hope everyone who did get in had as great of a time as we did.
The eccentric and funny Harvey Sid Fisher kicked off the show, which was otherwise an all punk lineup. He could have been hilariously out of place, but he didn't act like it at all and the portion of the crowd who was there seemed entertained (at least we were!), even if they were a little confused. And once Harvey's band joined him to perform his Astrology Songs, they kind of sounded like a band you could have once heard at CBGB. After Harvey, the show kicked into punk mode with sets from Placeholder, Frameworks, Cheap Girls, The Front Bottoms, Touche Amore and Against Me!.
Placeholder, who toured down to Austin from Philly, kept saying on stage how crazy it was to be playing a larger venue than the DIY spots they frequent (something they also talked about in our interview with them), but they didn't sound like a basement band at all. Sounding way more aggressive on stage than on record, they were crunchy, loud, and solid performers that we hope to see on bigger stages again in the future.
After them it was Gainesville screamo kids Frameworks, who are also relatively new (their debut album comes out soon), but we also thought sounded very tight. Their post-rock style build-ups, interludes between songs, and harshly screamed vocals made for a pretty intense set ahead of the two head bopping/singalong bands to come. The first of those, Cheap Girls (who also have a new album on the way), brought us right back to the '90s with their power pop bashers that wouldn't have felt out of place on KROQ. It wasn't lighthearted stuff though. Like Placeholder, they kicked the aggression up a notch with a punk kick and sneering nasally vocals.
Speaking of nasally vocals, The Front Bottoms followed with what we thought was one of the most flat-out fun sets of the night. Maybe it wasn't crazy as a headlining Front Bottoms show, but they're still the kind of band to induce word-for-word shout-alongs from the crowd no matter where they are, and they did just that. It was a total blast in the crowd and the guys seemed like they were in great spirits on stage too.
And speaking of shout-alongs, they didn't stop at all for Touche Amore's set next which had mini mosh pits and the crowd yelling with Jeremy Bolm whenever he ditched his mic. Because of the reduced capacity in the venue, you could navigate the crowd more than at a regular Touche Amore show, but that didn't phase the band or any of the smiling faces in the front rows. Before they made it to Austin, we caught the band in NYC, and as always it was a treat to see them again.
The show wrapped up with a set from the reinvigorated Against Me!, who are back this year with a new lineup, a new album, and sounding great as ever. The new songs fit right in with the older ones, and I didn't realize until last night how many words I knew to the new record. Like with Touche Amore, there was a ton of energy from the crowd up in front, and everyone including the band looked like they were having a ton of fun. We know we were, and if you were there we hope you did too.
In sadder news, our show last night was only a few blocks from the tragedy that struck SXSW, a drunk driving suspect that killed two and injured 23 outside of The Mohawk. Our thoughts go out to the families and friends of the victims, and we hope anyone who was out last night got home safely.
More pictures from our SXSW showcase below...
Harvey Sid Fisher
The Front Bottoms