Wednesday, March 21, 2007

SXSW Day 1: Revisited

Over the next few days, we will be taking another (better) look at SXSW, frankly because we have a lot more time, and we didn't cover it nearly enough. Last week was so packed with shows that we didn't have time to show you everything we wanted to, so we're going to try to do a better job this week.

The first show that I had the chance to see, was the first KEXP taping of the week, which included The Early Years, a Lily Allen interview, and Ghostland Observatory. I didn't stick around to see the rest of the bands for the day because I had to make it to the 4AD showcase, but it was quite a privilege to be able to sit in the amazing ACL studios on campus at UT and experience some great music.

I hadn't ever heard of The Early Years before the show, but the good folks at KEXP seem to enjoy them a great deal. During their mid-set interview, I learned that they formed as the noise-brainchild of frontman Dave Malkinson, and its pretty easy to see how their sound came from that. He incorporated extensive pedal work into the songs and turned them into a sonic mess (in a good way). The band seems relatively new, but it wasn't obvious.

The interview that the DJs conducted with British songstress Lily Allen was quite fun. The few fans that were on hand gathered around the sound board and watched with giddy eyes as she laughed about the beginning of her career through Myspace and her "rubbish" music. The DJs made quite the mistake when her music wouldn't play, but she just laughed it off, along with the rest of the crowd.

The seemingly most anticipated performance of the day came from local heroes Ghostland Observatory. The band has gathered quite a flock of fans, from both Austin and all over. With the seating around the stage packed out, the later arrivals stood around the seats, unsure if they could get down by the stage, but as soon as the officials at the studios told them that they could, there was a mad rush towards the stage. Everyone there was ready to dance, and two of the fans were even in Native American headgear. Their highly energetic set was just what the SXSW crowd needed on a rainy Austin day. With fluid dance moves from Aaron Behrens and Parliament-esque styled keys from Thomas Turner, it was the perfect way to kick off SXSW.

Later on, we will be bringing you a review of the wonderful showcase put on by 4AD at Emo's on Day 1 (plus everything else we went to from the other 3 days), so check back for more.

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