Lost Weekend SXSW day 2 pics: Amanda Palmer, Laura Jane Grace, J.S. Ondara, Otoboke Beaver, more
Like on Thursday, things kicked off with a bang bright and early on the outside stage with Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace and her new backing band The Devouring Mothers (which includes current Against Me! drummer Atom Willard) starting the day off at 12:15 PM. This was my first time seeing Laura play the songs off her solo album Bought to Rot and it was just about as high-energy as Against Me! always is. The Bought To Rot songs already feel as ingrained in Laura's repertoire as the songs on the last two Against Me! albums, and Laura was as fired-up on stage as ever. The Devouring Mothers begin their tour with Control Top (who put on a killer set at our Thursday day party) tonight (3/16) in Houston and I strongly recommend not missing this tour.
The inside stage began at 12:30 with Sidney Gish, who plays solo with just her electric guitar, voice, drum machine, and loop pedals, and she had as much command over the cheering crowd as some full bands. Her voice soars in the live environment, and she's an ace guitarist which really comes across when you see her live.
After Laura on the outside stage was Amanda Palmer, who was clearly excited to be playing with Laura Jane Grace (and is interviewing Laura for her podcast), and dedicated her set to her. (She jokingly said something like "This set is for Laura Jane Grace... fuck all y'all.") Amanda's set was about stories as much as it was about songs, and hearing her talk about the past few years of her life and the inspiration for the songs on her great new album There Will Be No Intermission were as entertaining as the songs themselves. Amanda played solo, rotating between keyboard and ukulele, and even at her quietest moments she had the crowd under her spell and hanging onto her every word.
Around the same time, the inside stage hosted Japan's Yahyel, whose atmospheric electronic pop (that has gained comparisons to James Blake and The xx) was more energetic live than you might expect. The singer danced and ran into the crowd and definitely got the crowd going.
Next up inside was J.S. Ondara, the Kenyan-born folk singer who fell in love with Bob Dylan's music, moved to Dylan's home state of Minnesota, and then released his excellent debut album Tales of America on Verve Forecast earlier this year. It seemed like J.S. had a good amount of people in the crowd who were there specifically to see him, and you could hear a pin drop while J.S. played his gorgeous songs. His voice is truly angelic, and it was nearly impossible to watch him and not be mesmerized. As sad and serious as his songs are, his stage banter was genuinely hilarious, and his quips had the whole place cracking up. In addition to playing songs off his album, he did a significantly reworked cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" which fit in perfectly with his originals, and he ended his set with "Saying Goodbye," during which he started a massive crowd singalong.
The outside stage next hosted Strand of Oaks, aka Tim Showalter. He's evolved the project into a loud full-band, but this time played a solo set that recalled his early days. It was cool to see him like this again, and especially cool to hear the new songs played in this stripped-back fashion. Even without a band, his songs sounded massive.
The inside stage would have next hosted TWEN who unfortunately had to drop off last minute due to shot vocal chords, but meanwhile Broncho kept things lively with a set of their catchy indie rock on the outside stage. Up next inside was a very rockin' set from Mike Krol and his band (which includes Allison Crutchfield of Swearin' and Waxahatchee on bass/backup vocals), who are fresh off releasing their new album Power Chords on Merge. Power chords were indeed what Mike Krol's band brought, and Krol is a natural frontman. He's got punk intensity but the kind of rockstar aura about him where you can already picture him playing to huge rooms. He and his band were super tight, and they also brought with them some appealing visual elements, like black-eye makeup, fake blood, and plenty of strobe lights.
Up next outside were New Zealand's The Beths, who filled the place with good vibes and sunny indie pop, and after The Beths came UK duo Her's who closed out the day with slightly moodier tunes but a lighthearted stage presence.
Around that time, the inside stage hosted one of the very best sets of the day, Japanese punks Otoboke Beaver. The room was full of screaming and sometimes-moshing fans, and Otoboke Beaver seriously brought it. They can be fun and bouncy, but they can also be as pissed-off and aggressive as the most ferocious hardcore bands. Frontwoman Accorinrin flailed around stage, stared out into the crowd with menace, and gave the finger to the crowd a few times. During one song, the whole band chanted "Go! To! Hell!" Accorinrin's energy is matched by guitarist Yoyoyoshie, who's like a more punk Angus Young on stage, bashing into her bandmates and crowdsurfing with her guitar several times. As much as it's a spectacle, the songs are there too. Their new album ITEKOMA HITS comes out April 26 via Damnably -- check it out once it drops.
After Otoboke Beaver, the inside stage wrapped up with Orange County hardcore crew Fury, who are fresh off signing to Run For Cover and putting out the new single "Angels Over Berlin" off their upcoming RFC debut Failed Entertainment (which they played). Fury were plagued with some technical difficulties and had to use an amp with no distortion, but they made up for it with high energy and they still sounded great.
Thanks to Master & Dynamic for hooking our artists up with their great headphones, and to AWESOME MERCH for all the Lost Weekend tote bags, t-shirts, and stickers! Hopefully you grabbed one if you stopped by the show. Also thanks to OkCupid for also supplying sick swag and for all the free drinks they gave out to people with the app (not to mention for all the newfound love). Speaking of drinks, thanks also to Deep Eddy.
Pictures of Friday's day party are in the gallery above, and pictures of Thursday's party are HERE.
If you're in Austin tonight (Saturday, 3/16), come by our nighttime show at Scoot Inn with Trail of Dead (performing Madonna in full), Ringo Deathstarr, Charly Bliss, and more.