Punknews.org

South By Southwest

South By Southwest: live in Austinlive in Austin (2008)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: colincolin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

South by Southwest is a festival of sorts that always interested me, but never enough to actually travel to. Living in Austin this year, I'd heard a lot of hype behind it and was anticipating it greatly. Then, it actually happened. I'll get the bad out of the way first; I've pretty much come to t.


South by Southwest is a festival of sorts that always interested me, but never enough to actually travel to. Living in Austin this year, I'd heard a lot of hype behind it and was anticipating it greatly. Then, it actually happened.

I'll get the bad out of the way first; I've pretty much come to the conclusion SXSW is just so snobby media types can continue to be such. There's an air of exclusivity with what people can and can't go to, there are corporate sponsorships and, for the most part, the whole thing just appears to be a big joke. For what I thought was a festival for unsigned bands, it certainly seemed like it was just a place for the industry to play circle jerk.

But now that the negative is done with, let's get to the positive.

The biggest event of the weekend for myself (and, I'd assume, people who frequent this site) was the Hot Water Music reunion show. Hot Water put on an amazing, and quite lengthy, set. The venue, Red 7, was fine with the amount of people jumping from the speakers and stage and let the show go off without security getting too uptight, which deserves a tip of the hat. The band seemed to be having a good time; Chuck was grinning ear to ear and the crowd was making the most of every second of the set. I got a shot of the 'official' HWM setlist, below:



Opening for Hot Water was Tiger Love, who were an odd selection but not bad musically. They were definitely more of the indie rock vibe, and while I didn't mind them, nothing really made me want to go home and listen. Drive By was next, and the only redeeming quality of their set was the lead singer's self-depricating remarks, as he seemed to know early on nobody was enjoying what they were listening to.

The Gaslight Anthem came on and were flat out amazing. I'm not a fan of the new EP at all, but the songs do translate well live. Highlights of the set were "We Came to Dance" and "Angry Johnny and the Radio," and the fact that the band was just having a great time. These guys just flat out love it all, and that makes their live show that much better.

Paint It Black is a band I listen to occasionally on record, but love seeing live. Dr. Dan and company did not disappoint, thundering through a 15 (or so)-song set, encouraging activity and positivity. He made points about the Shirts for a Cure foundation without being outspoken, and the band's intensity was nonstop.

I haven't mentioned Dead to Me yet because, well, I had to sit through three of their sets. I don't really understand why they were always so high up on the bills, as they're fun to watch but musically they seem like a boring Lawrence Arms. Chicken spent about as much time talking shit as the band did playing, and I really have no desire to see them again. Their new songs sound like the old ones, for anyone anticipating their new album.

I saw NOFX a couple times. The first was in a small venue where the band played 'Half-FX,' meaning they cut their songs off after the first chorus. It seemed to piss the fans off to no extent, but I laughed as it was something that probably won't ever happen again. The second time was the complete opposite: a huge outdoor park and the crowd was huge and quite annoying. The band was playing Punk in Drublic in its entirety, but watching NOFX play from 50 yards away on some colossal stage wasn't my idea of a good time (I didn't brave the massive crowd as I had my camera with me).

I caught a couple songs by Colour Revolt, and while I've never enjoyed them recorded, their live sound is quite aggressive and enjoyable. It wasn't going to make me a fan, but I did like watching them while waiting for God Is an Astronaut to set up. The Irish post-rock band had an electrical problem after one song, but for the most part thundered through a lengthy set. My only complaint would be the drummer didn't seem as into the music as the other two musicians, and the drums seemed to be far more passive than the bass and guitar.

Fucked Up played an amazing set which featured a few songs with Keith Morris. Entertaining as hell and abbreviated for a few mediocre songs by Attack in Black, Fucked Up provided my favorite Day 2 set. Jay Reatard was spazzy and fun with a slightly annoying crowd of fans, Pissed Jeans was nothing worth writing home about, and while I've never been able to get into their music, Lucero can really put on a live show, trading whiskey shots for song requests. I caught Saviours doing an in-store at Waterloo Records, and while the 2 P.M. start time was a bit early for such heavy music, they're too good to not watch. Certainly a strange venue but their set was quite worthwhile.

In the end, I'd say if you're ever given a free pass to SXSW, you'll probably get to see some really great bands in unique situations. And, if you're ever like me and find yourself living in Austin randomly, it's not a terrible thing to check out. But I can't see a great reason on dropping a lot of money to visit exclusively for the festival or buying one of those wristbands or badges. Also, I was taking pictures the whole time and included a link at the right to the bands that had any come out half-decent, so you're welcome to check those out. I'd like to thank anyone that let me sneak in front of them to get some shots as I didn't have one of those photo pass things.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! - is Reinventing Axl RosePolar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearJimmy Eat World - Chase This LightThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Rocket from the Crypt - R.I.P. [CD/DVD]Bob Mould - District LineCrime in Stereo - Is DeadAppleseed Cast - PeregrineThe Blood Brothers - Young MachetesThe North Atlantic - Wires in the Walls

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
damnitsderek (March 21, 2008)

Also, do not misconstrue my comment as defending NoFX fans. I like them, and I know plenty of nice people who like them, but, as a whole, NoFX fans are the biggest gaggle of irritating dickholes you've ever seen.

That statement makes me super excited to see them in May.

piratecanada (March 20, 2008)

did someone seriously give this reviewer 2.5 stars for not seeing 2 of the hundreds of bands in austin last week?

and did you only hear that no age were one of the best bands there or did you actually see them there? i saw them down there and didnt think they were anything to write home about. i thought they were pretty bad actually.

NotPatriotic (March 20, 2008)

I like No Age a lot.

Scandelicious (March 20, 2008)

NOFX always finds ways to piss people off. they don't care who. i think it's funny. this is why they are still around, they get their kicks by doin this stuff haha and i dont blame em

10-4Eleanor (March 20, 2008)

I drove 1000 miles from Fort Collins to see the HWM show, and I have to agree that it was the highlight of the entire festival. NOFX was fun as well, but I don't get the Dead To Me hate, those are some stand-up fellas. The best was when some guy shouted "Death of John Smith" at Fat Mike and NOFX played 15 seconds of the song and stopped. The look on the dude's face was priceless. Other highlights were the Fainting Fancies and Gogol Bordello, Kimya Dawson, Joey Cape, and Jon Snodgrass.

theyounginfluential (March 20, 2008)

neither of the bands i consistently heard were the best were mentioned in this review, those being:
No Age
Monotonix

holy_hack_ben (March 20, 2008)

When I went up to Austin, I wanted to punch 90% of the people I saw in the face. Nothing but a bunch of asshole hipsters all trying to be unique little butterflies. It made me so happy to go home to San Antonio where people are who they are. Fuck Austin!

allison_le_gnome (March 19, 2008)

My dad happened to be in Austin during SXSW this year. I doubt he even ever knew it was going on.

noiinteam (March 19, 2008)

What song is listed as "better" on the set list? I'm confused. And I was there.

maverick (March 19, 2008)

"man man and gaslight were the only redeeming things about that ap party. its way over priced."

I'm assuming you're talking about the day show at Emo's on Saturday? It was free, so if you gave someone money, you got hoodwinked.

-Scott

Redscare (March 19, 2008)

You can't really bust this guy's balls about the review or the bands he saw. There's a 1,000 bands playing this and there's no way you can see 10% of 'em. When you take the world's highest concentration of hipsters and self-appointed taste-makers you are gonna have some differing opinions. But as for Jay Reatard's fans, the fact that he's backed by Vice Magazine probably brings some real pricks around. I'll take Neanderthal NOFX fans and their wallet chains any day over Vice kids.

wrongstring (March 19, 2008)

score is for hwm show. epic!
billy bragg at anti thing was amazing and saul williams at that fader debacle of a show was entertaining too.
man man and gaslight were the only redeeming things about that ap party. its way over priced. hwm show for free was the highlight of the whole experience.

CBSrocksteady (March 19, 2008)

nice photos man.

maverick (March 19, 2008)

Hot Water Music were really, really good -- I can't decide if it was better than the Chicago reunion show I saw or not, but it was definitely equal to it. It was cool to have the stage be so small and have there be no security, that really made their set (and Paint It Black's) 10 times more enjoyable.

NOFX at Red 7 the night before was top-notch, too -- they performed their set as "Half FX," where they'd only play the first verse and the first chorus of a song before stopping and playing something else. So instead of hearing 20 full songs in an hour, we got something close to 40-50 half songs in an hour (well, they did play two songs all the way through - "Kill All The White Man" and "Fuck The Kids," which is only, like, 5 seconds anyway). I couldn't believe how many fights there were during their set, though.

The Weakerthans at the Paste/NPR party were pretty good, although the crowd was really subdued.

Paper Rival were great, too.

I only saw a few songs of Municipal Waste, the Spits and the Night Marchers, but all were really, really enjoyable.

I can't even remember everything I watched right now.

-Scott

holy_hack_ben (March 19, 2008)

Last weekend was the 1st time that I saw Fucked Up and I thought that they really sucked. The lead singer was an asshole. He kept on talking about straight edge this and straight edge that. What that dude needs to do is go diet edge. Keith Morris was pretty badass though.

suburbanxcore (March 19, 2008)

Photo gallery is cool though.

suburbanxcore (March 19, 2008)

If anyone wants to give a more detailed account of anything, I'd love to read it. Summing up 3-4 amazing days in that short a "review" is a crime.

Blog links? Sites? Post em here?

Scruffy (March 19, 2008)

Also, do not misconstrue my comment as defending NoFX fans. I like them, and I know plenty of nice people who like them, but, as a whole, NoFX fans are the biggest gaggle of irritating dickholes you've ever seen.

Scruffy (March 19, 2008)

"You're slightly confused, those were mentally retarded NOFX fans ruining Jay Reatard for people with tastes in music that have progressed further than that of a middle schooler. "

I'm not going to slight anyone's musical taste. If you like Jay Reatard, that's cool. BUt he's not even the slightest degree more musically progressive than NoFX. All of his songs, both in songwriting and production, ape a sound that is 30-40 years old. He may be a good songwriter, but it's nothing new. Just because a guy covers himself with blood and sings songs you wouldn't have liked in "middle school" doesn't mean he's any more respectable.

xote (March 19, 2008)

ALL of you mother fuckers missed out on the best shows and the best bands. SXSW suck real fucking hard. But the house shows around the town durinf it rule. Thats all I did. I didn't pay a fucking dime for one show or one drink and saw many of my new favorite bands.

colin (March 19, 2008)

You're slightly confused, those were mentally retarded NOFX fans ruining Jay Reatard for people with tastes in music that have progressed further than that of a middle schooler. I can't believe you didn't even mention the bridge show. That by far blows everything else you talked about away.

i couldn't tell, i mean, the girl in pink was a fan and she was annoying. there were a couple crusty kids that were also nofx fans but honestly, it was more that for every other set that day - fucked up, etc., people weren't just blatant assholes. it could have been a random influx of nofx fans but, that's just how i saw it.

i've heard stories about the bridge show but couldn't make it. i was drunk by 6 due to hot water music, had to be up by 10 a.m. and tried to stay up and didn't. i wanted to go out to the bridge and i heard it ruled.

WellFedFUCK (March 19, 2008)

"Jay Reatard was spazzy and fun with a slightly annoying crowd of fans"

You're slightly confused, those were mentally retarded NOFX fans ruining Jay Reatard for people with tastes in music that have progressed further than that of a middle schooler. I can't believe you didn't even mention the bridge show. That by far blows everything else you talked about away.

HonestAbe (March 18, 2008)

This is just a question that really maks no difference in my opinion about them but is Colour Revolt a Christian band?

I just got their ep and full lenght and love both of them and almost all the lyrics talk about biblical figures....just wondering, cause I know they're on fat possum(also weird) but not a christian label

SloaneDaley (March 18, 2008)

Colour Revolt

SloaneDaley (March 18, 2008)

the times I've seen most of the bands you've mentioned have been really great (the Color Revolt, Pissed Jeans, Attack In Black etc.) and I love HWM but have never seen them so I'm sure I would have a great time seeing the bands you went to see, I don't think there was anything shitty about your choices even if you didn't seem to like them all.

colin (March 18, 2008)

seriously, how fucking good was hot water music?

man, i hadn't seen them since 2002 i think, and holy shit, so good. i'll now be okay if they don't do a final reunion 'tour.'

what's not to like about the new gaslight ep?

the first three songs.

the band was called Tiger Lou not Tiger Love and if you want a comparison they reminded me of Engine Down

yeah, i could see the engine down comparison there. i did screw up on a few details and one was their name. but i don't think they had the energy of engine down, but i did enjoy it.

did keith morris sing on existing fucked up songs? did they do circle jerks or black flag songs? were they new songs? etc etc

from what i remember, black flag. 2 or 3 songs i think? the whole set was sort of weird and cool and i was concentrating a lot on protecting my camera during most of it because of the energy so i couldn't give you a complete set list.

wallofyouth (March 18, 2008)

did keith morris sing on existing fucked up songs? did they do circle jerks or black flag songs? were they new songs? etc etc

twelve12pm (March 18, 2008)

the band was called Tiger Lou not Tiger Love and if you want a comparison they reminded me of Engine Down, and for any one interested if you go to sxsw dont pay for anything just go to free shows during the day.

and the comedy stage sucked at mess with texas because you couldn't hear the jokes because of people talking and shit, unless you were really close to the stage

JTravolta (March 18, 2008)

what's not to like about the new gaslight ep?

damnitsderek (March 18, 2008)

That setlist from HWM is great. I wish I could have seen that.

llmp (March 18, 2008)

Missed the HWM/Gaslight because I was moving into my new apt. Torture with it being only 30mins away.

dugan (March 18, 2008)

yeah she got what she deserved during the waste though.

seriously, how fucking good was hot water music?

colin (March 18, 2008)

you can suck it if i annoyed you. i didn't drive drive 18 hours to sit there with a blank stare on my face.

movement and people running around didn't annoy me. the girl in pink did and the kids throwing beer at people did.

dugan (March 18, 2008)

oh and thanks for the fucking awesome picture of me during paint it black

HonestAbe (March 18, 2008)

"that's fine, i don't like 90% of the music most people on this site do.

also i'd like to say that if i had to travel more than the two mile walk from my house to this festival the score would have been drastically lower. but since i only had to walk down the street to see all this, it wasn't as disappointing as it would have been had i traveled from out of town and/or paid anything other than bar tabs."

i just wanted to be polite about it. some bands you didn't watch i would have and vice versa

dugan (March 18, 2008)

Jay Reatard was spazzy and fun with a slightly annoying crowd of fans

you can suck it if i annoyed you. i didn't drive drive 18 hours to sit there with a blank stare on my face.

skanknsmile (March 18, 2008)

1. Hot Water Ruled
2. Gaslight are shite
3. "nights like these" via whiskey was my request and was awesome.
4. NOFX should have diversified their set more
5. I'm never paying for a wristband again, didn't this year and had a great time.
6. I got on the cover of pitchfork for putting randy from no age on my shoulders. Take that indie snobbery!

William_Jess (March 18, 2008)

You didn't go to Raygun? Blaspemy.

osloboditelj (March 18, 2008)

Not the shows I would have gone to, for the most part, but still a solid review.

colin (March 18, 2008)

I don't like your taste in music. Just thought I'd tell you that.

that's fine, i don't like 90% of the music most people on this site do.

also i'd like to say that if i had to travel more than the two mile walk from my house to this festival the score would have been drastically lower. but since i only had to walk down the street to see all this, it wasn't as disappointing as it would have been had i traveled from out of town and/or paid anything other than bar tabs.

HonestAbe (March 18, 2008)

I don't like your taste in music. Just thought I'd tell you that.

inagreendase (March 18, 2008)

summa dis review cray zee

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go