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SXSW 2012: Day 2

Posted by - 08:44 AM on 03/16/12
Recaps of Day 2 of SXSW from Adam Pfleider and I are in the replies. Day 1 is here and be sure to follow @apnetatshow for live updates. Fiona Apple, Mystikal, Jimmy Cliff and more were yesterday.
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08:44 AM on 03/16/12
Paul Tao
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Paul TaoMake sure to follow me on twitter (@paultao) for more up-to-the-minute updates throughout the day if you'd like.

Yesterday was a pretty amazing example of the best of almost all parts of SXSW. What had started out as a pretty ordinary day in terms of meeting after meeting after meeting turned into a rather unexpected night of fantastic music. I had been planning on spending all of my time at the Pitchfork showcase hanging out but plans were changed and legendary acts were accidentally seen.

I had been spending a good five hours straight in meetings in the same hotel lobby so I had to escape for a quick minute to go see LA band Hands, who is, to be clear, my roommate's band. I've seen them quite a lot so they were as good as they always have been, so after seeing them for a few minutes, I dove back into a whirlwind of meetings and coffees.

After all of that though, I had to crash for a little bit before heading down to the Pitchfork official showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church. People had been lining up since about 2 or 3 PM I heard, and by the time I got there there had to have been at least 600-700 people or so waiting outside. Thankfully I was able to get in without an issue because of Charli XCX who was playing that night. The first artist on that night was Fiona Apple and she was essentially the headliner, but I have a feeling she played first because she had the most complicated setup and brought in her own piano, sound person and pretty much everything else. She played an hour-long set of both old and new material, and while her voice at times were strained, you could tell she was happy to be back in the spotlight and getting ready to get back on the road. She closed with "Criminal" which was clearly the biggest crowd-pleaser of the set (here's a quick video of some of it).

Following Fiona was Charli XCX, who is one of the most talked about exports from London, and she played a fantastic set of instantly catchy dark synth-pop. The entire venue was seated (pews, of course) so unfortunately people couldn't dance around and move to the music as it was intended to be danced to, but the sound was still great and Charli's voice was on point the whole set. Purity Ring were on next, who were so entrancing that they actually ended up with the only standing ovation of the night, which was pretty impressive when you considered the bill that night. It was futuristic dark electronic music with vocals reminiscent of tUnE-yArDs and it worked perfectly in a large, haunting venue such as this church.

I skipped out on the rest of the showcase (Grimes, The-Dream and Nicolas Jaar) in order to meet up with some friends at the Spin shed, which was basically an invite-only viewing area for the biggest venue at SXSW, Stubb's. I only stayed for a few minutes, enough time to down a cocktail, watch a little bit of Kaiser Chiefs (universal reaction was "eh…" in our little box) and spy on Alexa Chung who was standing a few feet away in the room taking photos, but then headed to the Hype Hotel for the Gorilla Vs Bear/Yours Tru.ly party. One of the best parts was the fact that on the way over to the Hype Hotel, our little group walked by the Doritos party where we saw Mystikal performing "Shake Ya Ass." This, my friends, is why SXSW is so amazing. You can walk down the street and accidentally see Mystikal playing a hit like that. I didn't even realize he was in town, and this was definitely one of the highlights of my night.

I say ONE of the highlights because besides Fiona Apple and Mystikal, I saw Jimmy Cliff playing at the Hype Hotel, and I hadn't even realized he was going to be on that night. If you're not familiar, Jimmy Cliff is a legendary Jamaican musician - look up his discography and you'll see the hits and realize who this guy is. Reggae was not the music I thought I'd be singing along to at two in the morning with 1000 drunk people in a warehouse, but I certainly didn't mind. There's just something about singing "I Can See Clearly Now" with everyone (remember Cool Runnings?).

Anyways, after Jimmy Cliff, not much could compare, so I skipped over to the Purevolume/Stereogum party to say hi to the Stereogum guys and catch a bit of Bear In Heaven (who for some reason seemed to only play for 15 minutes), and then it was time to crawl into my bed at 3:30 AM. Sleep is moderately precious at SXSW.

Adam PfleiderYesterday I woke up either feeling worse, or feeling like my body was ready to purge itself of the awfulness that's been sitting on my chest for days now. Either way, I took the morning to rest, downed some more Tussin and headed out about mid-afternoon to catch Narrows at the Slip + Lovitt Records showcase. The showcase itself was better than I expected. A few openers I had never heard, and was very blown away by. Edie Sedgwick was a soulful blues act that was dirty, yet tight. Their lead singer could boast quite a few notes and held the small crowds attention early afternoon. Redgrave was a two piece that mixed blues rock and sludge and boasted more soulful female vocals. It was a nice combination of True Widow's tempo and Kylesa's grime. Very impressive. Regents put on a fantastic set. It was angry, it was heavy, it was spastic and during the last song, the drummer loaded up his kit into the back of a truck and went around the block while the rest of the band jammed from the stage. Only at South by Southwest, amirite?!

I've been waiting to see Narrows just about all week. For a small crowd, during the day and on a sound system that the band ripped apart - it was worth every fucking minute to be a little late to set up the show I was doing. Dave Verellen likes to fuck with the crowd, and it definitely adds to the atmosphere of the show. It's playful and keeps things alive. The tones were sick and the band was as tight as the record. Can't wait to see the guys again tomorrow.

Last night I felt like I put on the underrated showcase. A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Look Mexico, Mansions, Aficionado, Young Statues - all bands that are tightly knit, writing music worthwhile in their respective genres of pop, punk and plain great songwriting. Aficionado's new songs sounded incredible, as did Mansions new one about $80 (I think that was the hook line? haha). Look Mexico absolutely killed the show that night. If you don't know about this band, you better start caring now, or you fucked up.

Sorry to keep this short, Chris and I are going to head to Shirts For a Cure before it gets wild. See you at either that, Sargent House or our showcase tonight! I caved and bought some pills last night, so plenty of water today and here's to getting through it.
08:45 AM on 03/16/12
Caleb Cabrera
gooby pls
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I didn't know that Mystikal was still a thing. Cool cool cool.
09:07 AM on 03/16/12
Jazz Baby
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Where's Eda's? Is she somewhere safe clinging to her empty pinto grigio bottles?
09:09 AM on 03/16/12
blaremagazine.com // Josh
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Where's Eda's? Is she somewhere safe clinging to her empty pinto grigio bottles?
09:12 AM on 03/16/12
Holly HoX!
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Shake Ya Ass. Nuff said.
10:10 AM on 03/16/12
Dye the World
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I thought Mystikal was in jail!
10:14 AM on 03/16/12
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Does anybody know if the showcase at Stubb's tonight is badge only?
11:32 AM on 03/16/12
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I thought Mystikal was in jail!
He was. I hadn't heard anything about him since he went to jail for rape. That was years ago though.
02:37 PM on 03/16/12
Jason Tate
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05:29 PM on 03/16/12
I want a new username.
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Does anybody know if the showcase at Stubb's tonight is badge only?

For the most part. They'll maybe let in 30-50 without, and people have been camping out.

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