Note: Gold will provide coverage of Superchunk, Les Savy Fav and Fool's Gold later.
My past 36 hours have likely been some of my blurriest ever. After The Love Language and Lou Barlow's remarkable sets Thursday night in Cedar Street Courtyard -- they played to a crowd that was probably just shy of half-capacity thanks to a post-She and Him outflux ... snooze -- I crashed at the hotel for the better part of 12 hours. When I woke up Friday morning, I discovered folks had started to turn. The vendors, sound guys and bartenders seemed to have exhausted their store of good vibes. After witnessing a hot dog chef completely melt down on his cashier, and waiting in line for what I discovered was a Hole show and not a Sharon Jones/Miike Snow show, I decided to say "fuck it" and head toward the Village Voice showcase, where Gold and Cross were already mad-chilling to the glorious sounds of Superchunk.
When I reached the showcase at La Zona Rosa, the line for admission stretched well around the block, and was bloated with what proved to be mostly junior-sized fans of The xx -- kids who stare back at you blindly when you tell them you're here for Superchunk. No big deal, kids. Just the guys that invented a type of music your favorite bands like to rape.
And so I missed what Gold tells me was a remarkable set from the Chunk. I did, however, make it inside just in time to catch The xx. Ah, The xx. Bless their hearts, they're most certainly as over-hyped as they come. It definitely isn't bad music; it's shoegaze-informed, often mopey, dreamy and hazy. It's the sort of music you want to put on when you realize you've just run out of cocaine. But damn! These three black-clad, sulky young Brits make sexy music in the most unsexy way possible, and for some reason 17-year-olds like it.
I made a very smart decision last night by showing up early to WOXY's outdoor showcase at Emo's Annex. The crowd was relatively thin for French Miami, a San Fran trio that produces the kind of math-y, early Don Cab-style, angular rock 'n' roll that makes 37-year-old indie rock dudes headbang like metal fans. With dual guitars, dual analog synths and more finger-tapping than I ever thought I could enjoy (but did), French Miami were the tightest outfit I'd caught until that point. Also, as it turns out, they're just about the nicest dudes you'll ever come across. They're fans and friends of Nashvillians JEFF the Brotherhood and Natural Child, and they're the first band to get me to buy a T-shirt in probably two years.
So Gold and I discussed the '90s resurgence that appears to be occurring as of late, and how it beats the hell out of the misappropriated '80s-referencing that took place last decade. And, as if to say, "Not so fast," Cymbals Eat Guitars kicked off their set at that moment. They fill an awful lot of space for a four-piece, and they play well. But they appear to be little more than an amalgam of obvious '90s (and a little Aughts) influence: Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Cursive and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Now That's What I Call Indie Rock! Volume One. From their sound-nerd reference of a name to the screaming-instead-of-high-notes vocal delivery, they're kinda just Pitchfork-cribbers.
I popped in across the street at Emo's Proper to see the one song (the ever-infectious "Nadine") from Fool's Gold. But I'll be goddamned if I was going to miss Miike Snow's final performance of SXSW, so I headed up Red River to Mohawk's just before midnight. The place was absolutely slammed with head-bobbing white dudes as The Cool Kids and special guests played a lot of shit I didn't recognize -- shit that reminds me I need to ask Sean Maloney to make me a current hip-hop mix tape.
Now, I feel like thoroughly enjoying Miike Snow is about the closest I'll ever come to being a full-on, pacifier-toting club kid. Miike Snow features Bloodshy and Avant. They're the successful Swedish production duo who wrote Britney Spears' "Toxic," and they're also the two dudes in the band who look like a successful Swedish production duo -- even when they were all sporting Phantom of the Opera masks. I was actually relatively stunned that Miike Snow's throbbing electro-pop translated so well with a full band. They were tight and clean, and frontman Andrew Wyatt's vocals were spot-on ... but I won't lie; the tokes of the "party cigarette" I earned from one dude in exchange for some whiskey certainly didn't make me like it any less.
Gold convinced me to bail at that point for Les Savy Fav at The Galaxy Room. Tim Harrington's antics were unsurprisingly outrageous, but Gold will explain that later. Now, I think I'll head across town to Mess With Texas. I'm late enough as it is, and this is the longest I've postponed my day-drinking since I've been here. More slipshod updates to come!