AP, Getty Baldwin Talks to Thom Yorke: Since the end of NBC's "30 Rock,"…
- Posted on Mar 18th 2013 11:00AM by Dan Reilly
Having seen them from the VIP section of our showcase at ACL Live and being extremely impressed, I decided to go with my wife and our Editor in Chief Sarah Chazan to go see them at Rolling Stone's afternoon party at La Zona Rosa. We all enjoyed them again, though I'll be a jerk and say they sounded better at our show. I really can't wait to see them again. Also, we got to meet a really cool security guard who was working the forthcoming Prince show later in the night. He told us how the Purple One made seven production changes in the last 12 hours. Good times.
On our way to Hype Hotel to catch FIDLAR, we ran into Wayne Coyne. Getting over my moments of shyness, I decided to say hello, mentioning that my Spinner Canada counterpart Josh Ostroff interviewed him the day before and that we all go to see the Flaming Lips play earlier in the week. "Oh, thank you. What are you up to now?" he asks me. "Going to FIDLAR," I respond. "Oh, I really want to see them. I have to go to another interview now but hopefully I'll see you there," he says. Unfortunately, we never reconnected but I'm still thrilled to have had that interaction. Maybe next SXSW.
Anyway, about FIDLAR: I interviewed these guys at Lollapalooza after the storm-related evacuation, sitting in the drenched, slightly stanky press area with a pile of empty beer and cigarette butts growing on our table as we talked. Needless to say, we had a good time. Then I ran into them two times at SXSW, still having yet to actually see them perform, so I was determined to get to their Hype set. After grabbing a couple beers and agreeing to eat a Doritos Taco Bell freebie, I finally got to see them, and they exceeded my lofty expectations. The only complaint I have about their frenetic performance is that I didn't snap a picture of the phone number written on one of their amps, a Los Angeles area code number they said belonged to Justin Bieber. I really, really hope that was true, and I could easily believe that they somehow got his number. Then again, I'm kinda gullible.
Toro y Moi
I caught a couple songs of the chillwave band's Hype Hotel set before my colleagues decided to leave, thanks to getting stuck behind someone with horrible gas. Guess those Doritos and Miller Lite turned someone into a lethal farting machine.
After failing to get into a good spot to see Diarrhea Planet at the Jackalope -- a show that was life-changing for my colleague Adam Horne and some other friends, FYI -- I bolted with my wife and Sarah to catch Dessa at the Blind Pig. As throngs of people headed out of the bar following a surpass three-song set by Macklemore, we arrived upstairs just in time to see Dessa again. Not only did I introduce her to Sarah as a "slam poet turned rapper and singer who's also a great writer and a feminist role model," I got to introduce her to some others in the crowd who were there to party their asses off for spring break. As someone who's gotten to know Dessa a little bit, I was proud to see her perform so well that the young drunk kids were compelled to wander over to the rooftop stage to watch her, asking each other -- and then me -- who she was. Say what you will about all the people who were sloshed by 6PM and celebrating St. Patty's a day early, but I'm glad some of them were open to checking out and supporting a great artist who was totally unknown to them 20 minutes earlier.
As proud as I was to see Dessa get some love, I was even prouder to go see my former employee, Theo Spielberg, play at Stubb's with his band Wardell. Fronted by his sister, Sasha, the group has a retro sound in the vein of She and Him, only they're way more compelling. Theo left Spinner to pursue his career in music, and I'm ecstatic that I finally got to see him perform and hear his new music. Keep an ear out for them -- they have an EP coming soon, and you can download their song "Opossum" for free now. Sasha's voice has a vintage, husky and powerful timbre that makes me jealous.
Heading to the Burger Records party with Adam, I had no idea that I was about to see this ridiculously kickass garage duo. The frontwoman shredded through a set that included a really heavy "Crimson and Clover." The drummer hit his lone cymbal so hard that it nearly broke in half, and he finished the job by picking up the stand, turning it upside down and smashing it to the stage in rhythm with the guitarist during their last song. "I think I'm in love," I heard someone nearby say. Also, both of them have great hair.
Another band I'd never heard of, and whom I believe are a local Austin act, featured a bunch of older looking dudes who haven't let age sap any of the joy of playing some real fucking rock 'n' roll. I absolutely loved it.
With a sound like the Ramones but with more riffs instead of power chords (and some kickass facial hair), these guys impressed the hell out of me. At one point, I was banging my head so hard that I think I hurt I suffered a little drain damage.
After an aborted mission to see King Tuff in another are of this Hotel Vegas bar or whatever it was called, I ended up in another bar next door and caught this band Fallulah, who also happened to have a punk-influenced sound like the other unknown-to-me acts I had just seen. I made instant friends with some Milwaukee guy named Danny, who proceeded to pour half his Lone Star tall boy all over my face. It's not my preferred way to get a free drink, but it felt right at the time, considering all the DIY punk I'd been seeing. I thought about hanging with him a little more, but then I decided that he'd probably get me stabbed or something, so I bailed to meet up with my L.A.-based colleague Theo Bark at Elysium.
Once inside, I wandered around the venue looking for Theo while my cell service went to seed. And I should note that the name of the band is not No Idea -- it's just that I have no idea who they were. The bartender, three people in the crowd, the guy behind me on line to the bathroom and anyone else I asked didn't know who they were either. I'm writing this on a plane and I don't have any Internet access so I'll have to update this later once I catch their name. Anyway, they were playing some electro post-punk backlit and enveloped in smoke. I really dug it. [UPDATE: It was the Soft Moon, from San Francisco]
Finally connecting with Theo and his pals, he led me to a well-lit restaurant that I think was a pizza joint. We walked through the diners to a back door, which surprisingly led to a dark, seated venue where this experimental duo was performing a set for like 30 people. Sitting on the stairs directly in front of the stage, having had no idea what to expect, I watched as these guys created some amazing sounds in a very free-form, jazz-like way using one guitar, a keyboard and a bunch of electronic equipment that is completely foreign to me (I think one was an electric oboe or something). "Dude, thanks for brining me to this," I said to Theo as he set behind me. Sun Araw are definitely a group I will listen to when I'm in a really specific mood, but I'm psyched that I got to watch them.
According to Theo, this guy is an up-and-coming heavy bass DJ. Truth be told, I'm not really a DJ guy, but this guy made me a fan immediately. There was a punk energy about his thunderous tracks, and he didn't seem like just some button pusher. Of course, there was that requisite dude in a tank top with a Camelbak thing on, a staple of any EDM show, but the crowd actually seemed like people I'd hang with. My opinions on EDM are still evolving, but I'm starting to see the appeal of going to something like this, provided the music feels like it has some legit passion behind it as opposed to some of the other shit that attracts a crowd who's there mainly to get wasted and try to hook up with someone.
So that's it. SXSW is a wrap for me. I saw 48 bands (53 if you count all the different acts with Dave Grohl, and 54 if you count the minute I was at Charli XCX). I'm tired, my voice is scratchy at best, and I'm happy to sleep in my own bed again. You know you've been at this festival too long when you dream that there's a line for the bathroom inside your hotel room. And I'm also proud of myself for not eating the room-temperature Doritos taco that I left in our hotel room, despite the fact that I was painfully hungry when I got back a little before 3AM. It was a marathon week, but I think I really got SXSW right this time around. A couple big-name shows that I'll never get to see again (Dave Grohl and the Afghan Whigs/Usher collaboration), friends whose bands I loved (Bear Ceuse, Dessa and Wardell), and new acts I knew nothing about and really enjoyed after the first listen (Fort Lean, the Can't Tells, Warm Soda, Palma Violets and more). See you next year, SXSW, you exhausting, lovely beast.