SXSW Summation


I saw a lot of bands at SXSW in Austin, Texas last week, but I didn't see all the bands. Not even close. A festival of SXSW'a size - and really, with over 2000 acts playing in four days, it's the only festival of its size - is necessarily like an elephant surrounded by blind men. It feels different to everybody.

I've been sharing my take in a whole bunch of posts that were digested in the Inquirer on Tuesday. That's here. Or if you really must read every word I've written you can find them in complete form by either scrolling down this blog.

But enough about my SXSW. To get a different perspective I asked a handful of fabulous Philadelphians also at the festival what the best things they heard, saw or experienced were.

Like a lot of people, Mark Schoeneveld of the Fishtown music blog YVYNYL put California hip-hop consortium Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All on the top of his list. "Odd Future at the Fader Fort was the show everyone was talking about... and for good reason. those kids are crazy + crazy good." That's a photo of Odd Future members at the Fort, where Diddy called the freak-rap Internet savvy crew "the future of the industry."

Schoenveld's other highlights: '90s indie rock obsessed Brit band Yuck, the High Highs on the back patio of Lipstick 24, Wise Blood at Love Joys, and Summer Camp at the Gorilla vs. Bear blog showcase. 

Amy Salit, producer of WHYY's Fresh Air, was blown away by American Music Club main man Mark Eitzel, who I also caught a few impressive minutes of at Yard Dog. Eitzel "was incredible," said the public radio power broker. He's moving into a new thing. He's got the voice of Josh Groban, the cool swing of Tony Bennett and the musical sensibility of Tom Waits."

She also was high on Wild Flag, the new rock band featuring Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney and Mary Timony of Helium, plus Austin's Okkervil River, and San Diegans Black Heart Procession at Alejandro Escovedo's Saturday day party at Maria's Taco Express.

Bill Covaleski, brewmaster at Downingtown's estimable Victory Brewing Company was making the rounds as well at SXSW, which is generally a place where people drink a lot of beer - mostly Shiner Bock, the Yuengling of Texas. Covaleski's top five made me hungry: 1) Philadelphia roots band Hoots & Hellmouth at the Belmont 2)  The Roasted Lamb Sandwich with arugula & minto aioli at Haddingtons 3) Drinking Victory Lager with Bill Milhizer of The Fleshtones at the Ginger Man 4) the Flatstock poster exhibit at SXSW at the Austin Convention Center, and 5) Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 playing "Days Of Wine and Roses" at The Ginger Man.

Bruce Warren, program director at WXPN, tipped me on Lord Huron, the British tropical-pop band that were among the best I saw at the fest. Warren, who also writes the infuential Some Velvet Blog, broke down his list into the categories of "old" or established artists, and fresh faces. In the old category, he put TV On The Radio, the Brooklyn art-rock band who killed it at Stubb's, and Kanye West, who, as always, rewarded the close attention he demands, at the Seaholm Power Plant. Warren's newbies including Brit duo Joy Formidable, Lord Huron, Dry The River, dubstep soul man James Blake, and Odd Future.

When I talked to Kristin Thomson of the Future of Music Coaltion, she was hoping to catch Wild Flag, and had been mightily impressed by OFF!, the heavy rock politically-minded supergroup of sorts featuring members of Rocket From the Crypt, Circle Jerks, Redd Kross and Philadelphia's Burning Brides. And Jackie Zahn, the former WKDU deejay who now lives in Texas prasied Austin math-rock outfit White Denim and New Orleans bounce hip-hop group Partners-N-Crime.

Samples of many of the aforementioned are below. Eitzel, Blake and Partners-N-Crime are unmarked. Anybody who was there and would like to share, please do.

Previously: RIP, Pinetop Perkins