Tuesday, March 18, 2008

SXSW Day 2: My Brightest Diamond, Nada Surf, Destroyer, Dark Meat, and The Death Set

We kicked off day 2 of SXSW at the Paste/Stereogum show at the questionable Volume Nightclub. While the venue was lackluster, the bands we saw shined above that. Shara Worden, aka My Brightest Diamond, kicked off the show almost immediately after doors opened. She is just as charismatic as her music, and at some times, it came off as a little bit too over the top, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. 

While Ms. Worden seemed a little too out there, Nada Surf gave a performance that was extremely grounded. The band played a stripped down acoustic set, with plugged in, turned down bass, acoustic guitar, and a weird drum-kit-in-a-box type instrument. Now I've never listened to the band, but the majority of the crowd had requests to shout out when the band ran out of songs that they wanted to play. Its always nice to see a band that is out to fill the audience's requests. If only Mr. Bejar had taken a page out of their book. 

The main reason we were at this thing was to see Destroyer play their only day show of SXSW. Before the show, we had built up what an ideal set of his would have been, and the one he played at Volume was not that, but we should have known. Don't get me wrong though, the guy was totally on point and with the band in tow, he did sound great. The set started off with a wonderful version of New Ways of Living and then morphed into a review of some of the better songs on Trouble in Dreams, which just so happens to be out today, which include The State, followed by Dark Leave Form A Thread, and Foam Hands. This Night's Modern Painters and Hey, Snow White rounded out the set. By all means, the band's performance was a highlight of the festival, just not what we wanted, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

Heading down 6th street, away from downtown, we spent the rest of the day at Ms.Bea's, the questionable bar that plays host to SXSW's best free, all ages shows curated by the one and only Todd P, where we caught sets from Dark Meat, the huge collective of woodsy, nomadic, music makers. When I say huge, I mean that this band consisted of about 20 members. There were so many of them that they took up the stage, the side of the stage, and the front of the stage. The band consists of a face-painted horn section, two drummers, a singer with a tambourine, B.P. Helium from Of Montreal, and a ton of others that I couldn't see. Their set was plagued with power outages thanks to their large numbers, but they played through them. Their set went way over their allotted time slot with a lengthy closing number that staggered on and on, but other than that, the band was fun to watch. 

The Death Set was the main event on the bill for us, and they gave us more than we bargained for. The band and the crowd was amped beyond belief and their set was filled with a barrage of elbows and sing-alongs.  Johnny Siera climbed the sketchy rafter above the stage and managed to stay up there, singing and playing his guitar all the while, while the crowd tore down the beer sponsored banners. The power kept going out every time the band started playing Around the World, which was disappointing, but they soldiered on and kept the momentum moving. The lack of photos kind of explains it all. Oh, and we are helping The Death Set bring their on-stage party to Dallas, but we will tell you more about that later (just know that I'm kind of worried about it).

My Brightest Diamond

Nada Surf


Dark Meat

The Death Set


Lilly said...

i must say these people have some crazy hair!

Anne-Marie Spin le Monde said...

I must say Johnny Sierra writes the best songs in the world