Saturday, March 15, 2008

SXSW Review

Out in town for SXSW all day with Jake. Scrounged up a good parking spot early then began the trek back and forth... started with Kimya Dawson (of the Juno soundtrack fame) who was someone Jake really liked and wanted to expose me to. She's good - a funny Ani Defranco. I suggested that i'd love to mix some of her songs with Wesley Willis... because her 'my songs all start off the same' and wesleys 'my songs all are exactly the same all the way through' would work well together. Still - it's a niche thing for me - and whereas i certainly enjoyed it it wasnt MUSIC writ large for me.

So we wandered off to the free japan bash show at mother egans - an excuse to see one or two of the bands from the japan night that neither of us saw the night before (jake wanted to see Destroyer and, honestly, without go!go!7188 like last year i just didnt think i'd see anything that'd blow me away. Then again - Mick Jones and Tony James were doing a set over at Waterloo (close by) at 5 - so we figured we'd go, check it out, see if there was anything worth seeing, and bail to go see our Clash/GenerationX new incarnation...

it didnt work out that way... 3 3 piece bands took care of that...

The band taking stage when we got there was Sodopp... a 3 piece all girl pop-punk outfit with way way WAY too much energy - and a bass player that was shredding while pogoing for WAY too long. Just because it's girls doesnt make it smarmy j-pop... these 3 could play. Really. Honto ni Honto ni. Plus - the drummer was cute... and they were awfully tight - lots of very good progressions and a very very busy baseline in all their tracks. This was the throw away show - they'd done their big showcase last night - so they were having fun - and damn if you couldnt tell. I mean - they were tearing up the joint and gigglingly happy about it. This is why i love SXSW... you get exposed to things you never thought you would. It was good... different... but technically crisp. The songs were MUCH better live than the mp3s i'd listened to when figuring out whether to drag my ass down to Elysium. After, the girls came rolling through signing everything and taking pictures with everyone and just oozing excitement and happiness. It's sooo much fun to see a band hit the stage, capture the crowd, and come off feeling like they owned the joint. I think this was about when Jake realized 'wow... these bands are fucking fun'...

The emeralds followed - and I've seen/heard a lot of them as they've been here several times. 3 piece surf-punk - which sounds a bit better produced than live - but they were still great to watch. (and just because i dont glow over them doesnt mean i didnt like em - it's just i heard them last year)

Then Detroit 7 took the stage.

Another 3 piece... much more garageband... i'd heard some of their stuff from their myspace page and wasnt really thinking this would be what it turned into. I really wasnt expecting this... the lead in the dress and the leather chucks was a good sign - but hell, anyone can LOOK the part... but these 3 hit it hard from note one and absolutely owned it. I mean... their music is so different live than off cd (i know because i bought a couple at the end) - it's got a driving energy that they havent captured in studio yet - or they havent written the right song to show it off. The lead singer has a very husky/smoky voice - and the set built... and built... and there were good songs to build it with... so after 20 minutes they hit 'this love sucks' and come on and god damn... i mean - Sodopp set the table and these guys emptied the bases - this is EXACTLY why i love this festival. The fact that these guys had another cute drummer (yes Miyoko Yamaguchi - that's you) who, honestly, burned more energy in that set and did more with that crappy kit than any drummer i've seen in a looooong time - and even then... this girl was born to beat the crap out of things with sticks - so keep her away from bamboo shinai when she's anywhere near me please. They did some shows with Go!Go!7188 recently (god damn wouldnt THAT be a show to see...) - sigh... I loved this band - and if they come anywhere near you (which, of course, they wont... because japanese bands almost never come to the states and the dollar sucks so bad even when they do they lose money) go see em. No - really... these 3 really fucking rock.

So needless to say both jake and i were so blown out by all this we totally blew Mick and Tony's new project off. Sorry guys...

Went and grabbed some awful bbq downtown then later went to see NOFX... who did basically the entire Punk in Drublic album in lieu of anything remotely new, an album which they hadnt played in years but in typical punk fashion declared that they didnt care and just wanted to have fun and if you didnt like it you could go watch the Breeders' Deal sisters do a 69 on each other on the other stage. That that album is one of my alltime favorite punk albums meant i was screaming lyrics in harmony all the way through - bouncing and singing and having a grand ole time. But Detroit 7 owned the day - and considering how much fun I had at NOFX that's saying something.

9 comments:

fearlessvk said...

pwned!

GreatGoblin said...

considering NOFX finished the evening with a rousing rendition of 'kill all the white people'... to a crowd chock full of them who were more than happy to sway and sing along...

i studied formative japanese culture in college, wrote some on the pre-feudal origins of japanese land tenure systems and how they pulled many if not most of their early culturual ideas from foreign exposure (in this case chinese buddhist monastic orders) - this is what it's always been to them. they take something and make it theirs... if what they end up with is something that's actually at least as interesting as the original, well, i'm open to it. I've seen the 'wapanese' - saw several at the show - but then the yanqui subculture in japan is no more prevalent (if a bit more physically fit and dangerous).

The comments in that link expose the american cultural jingoism that disturbs me so much when i'm overseas - and invariably has me spending time trying to repair the damage by showing not all americans are insipid springer-show nascar loving pricks. I suppose the question 'do i appreciate japanese culture because i have a problem with my own' is a fair one though... I remember a Polish Reggae band from years back at SXSW that gave me the same reaction as Detroit 7 as the 'surprise blast of the show' - so this perception isnt new to me, and Vienna is still my favorite city... I let you know if i suddenly start to like raw fish and natto.

Anonymous said...

What happened with the "huge game of capture the flag at midnight" afterwards? I had to leave.

GreatGoblin said...

@ anon... hmmm... wouldnt be surprised but i cant help you with the capture the flag - the NOFX crowd was friendly enough (though damn if those roadies werent trying to hurt people). Seen a lot of shows where crowd surfers were intentionally dropped on their heads - but never one where a roadie pulled a surfer across the crowd by the hair...

we left right after, one in the group was seeing a friend back from college he hadnt seen and we went off to epoch. i think i'd had enough beer and excitement for the day.

fearlessvk said...

aw i was just kidding posting that link. my friend just sent me a link to that blog the other day where they talk about how much white people like The Wire - needless to say, i love The Wire. and don't even get me started on the entry for graduate school....ouch! in fact, my (white) friend suggested on friday night that he found that blog really useful as a dream shopping list....

GreatGoblin said...

i think its a fair criticism... the more experience i have with the cultural filter that is 'japanese', the more surprised i am that i like what i hear/see more often than not... it's getting easier to assume i'll like things i see from there - just as it's getting easier to assume hollywood and american recording labels will leave a steaming pile of shit on my plate and complain that i dont spend enough money on it.

I'm just glad i dont have an affinity for bollywood...

fearlessvk said...

ya know, the only video I've ever uploaded to youtube is of a japanese band (melt banana) performing in memphis. they were completely, out-of-their-minds, pathologically insane. needless to say, i loved them. i'm not familiar with any of the bands you mention from the sxsw japan showcase, but i know they've always had this completely nuts noise scene with the boredoms and melt banana at the forefront that has always intrigued me for its sheer insanity. john zorn's record label, tzadik, has an entire series devoted to the japanese underground. if i wasn't still clawing my way out of credit card debt....

japanese film, however....i don't know. i have mixed feelings and i'm a novice. i'm going to reveal myself as a complete philistine by confessing that i found it extremely difficult to sit through kurosawa's seven samurai and spent large chunks of the movie struggling to keep my eyes open. i did like rashomon though. and i watched kenji mizoguchi's sansho the bailiff recently and thought it was quite lovely. but anime... my friends foisted a lot of anime on me in college, and i enjoyed a fair amount of it, but never felt a really strong identification with it either and never felt compelled to explore further on my own.

i am rambling off topic.

fearlessvk said...

haha as for bollywood, one of my last roommates in berkeley was obsessed with bollywood and insisted on hanging this enormous poster of a bollywood actress on our living room wall. i was forever trying to explain it to my friends. it was an endless source of mockery.

i hate to be so predictable, but bollywood just seems a bit too...chipper...for me.

Karmadrome said...

Wow. I did, in fact, fall asleep during Kurosawa's "Dreams." I felt guilty about sleeping what was supposed to be a masterpiece, so I bought the DVD. Its still in the wrapper...