South by Southwest - Day Three | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

South by Southwest - Day Three

My day began early yesterday at the back lot of Urban Outfitters near the University of Texas campus. As I waited for Calgary, Alberta, Canada based Women—who played in Jackson with Crystal Stilts earlier in the week--to begin I thumbed throw racks of thrift store clothing and purses for sale at the back of the tent.

After deciding against buying something from a guy in a van, I moved near the stage and the band began soon after. Women started off with dreamy and subtle post-punk and evolved into darker and more feedback drenched tunes as the set progressed. It was a mellow but still enthusiastic show from a promising band, and a great way to start off a long day.

I headed to the East Side around 3:00 to catch the Gorilla vs Booze party (sponsored by the popular blog Gorilla vs Bear). I'd never heard of the Peacock before, and as I headed down seventh, I noticed construction on the road. But despite the nearby quiet, the party was in full swing. The bands played in a cramped space, whose teal walls and dainty chandeliers gave the effect of an abandoned tea room. I stayed on the edges of the crowd for The Golden Filter, your typical disco dance music, because of a discernible ventilation problem. After getting some air (in Austin's 80 degree mid-day weather), I got a little closer for Wavves, the one man group by Nathan Williams (a drummer also joins him live). Williams looked like a dissident frat boy with his old school St. Louis Cardinal's tee shirt, gym shorts and floppy hair. As he hopped around and banged his head up and down, his overlong bangs shook in tow. Within seconds of starting his noisy, propulsive rock, the crowd was rocking and shaking in a hot, sweaty mess. Next up were local Austin favorites, White Denim. While their music is more intricate, it's no less lo-fi, and yesterday, they seemed to be even louder than Wavves. Per usual, lead singer James Petralli was shaking around like a drunk, crazy person, alternating making weird faces and thrusting his neck out like a bird. Fans sang along and shook to new album "Explosion" favorites like "Shake Shake Shake" and "Don't look that Way at It." The crowd seemed to thin out quite a bit for Vivian Girls, whose hazier brand of noise suffers from a severe case of detachment. The crowd seemed less engaged in turn, and it seems likely these girls will lose favor as the blog hype dissipates.

Regardless, the party organizers knew what they were doing. A cramped room is the perfect place for bands like this to play because of the tremendous energy and blissful release the environment creates. It reminds me of the oppression of the dead of summer in the city like New York or Los Angeles. No matter where you are, at some point, you just give into the heat, the smell, and the noise; and you surprise yourself at how free you feel.

After dealing with traffic and a quick round of shower-nap-eat, I headed back downtown for the Oya showcase. I arrived in the midst of Lemonade's set and walked through the quiet and distracted audience. The band's schoolyard pop and kazoo antics seemed a little tame for a night show, and the crowd broadened substantially when next act Casiokids started to play. While proffering a similar blend of sunny, digitalized pop, the Norwegian Casiokids, also played live instruments and seemed to be having more fun than their predecessors. The beat-maker,/theremin/keyboard player with his pageboy haircut danced goofily as the singer in Cape Cod attire crooned earnestly to the audience. The carefree songs and childlike movements of the band made me feel like I was in some alternative universe, but the audience seemed content to dance giddily throughout the whole set. So after renewing my disinterest in pop music, today I'm on a quest for loud and dirty rock.

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