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Thursday, March 17, 2011

SXSW Day One - 2011

Posted by Raquel Nasser on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 1:49 PM

tUnE-yArDs Outside At Red 7
  • tUnE-yArDs Outside At Red 7

Greetings from the dregs of the post-Wednesday haze;

Total Number of Bands Seen:
Starting off slow with only seven (unless, of course, you count the Crabcore band I terrifyingly stumbled upon, as well as the live saxophonist playing along with a house DJ at a rooftop bar. You don't? Okay.): The Head and the Heart, The Dig, Hoots and Hellmouth, Quiet Life, Idle Hands, Elk & Boar, and tUnE-yArDs.

Total Number of Tacos Consumed:
Two expensive and surprisingly mediocre tacos. Today, I am holding myself to much higher taco aspirations.

Notable Shows That I Was Unable to See:
Three. Tennis, Portugal. The Man, and Jack White in a parking lot.

Celebrity Sightings:
.2: Darwin Deez. And sadly, he was totally basking in the fact that a friend of mine had recognized him in the crowd of onlookers rapt with the Crabcore band (which will remain unnamed... forever). I also just missed Jack White in the hotel lobby of the Four Seasons, and I blame my slow-pedalling pedicab driver. What good are those sculpted calf muscles if they can't get me and three of my overweight friends to Jack White in time, hmmm!?
(Whatever, White will probably play in a bank, or a public bathroom, at some point today; there's hope for me yet.)

On a related note, today seems to be a much more promising day for celeb-spotting, starting with the fact that Moby just walked into the swag tent that I'm sitting in. I guess Duran Duran is here, too. I may try to find them and perform the dance routine I choreographed to "Ordinary World" in second grade. (I still remember every move, every dramatic pause... but I probably won't do that.)
UPDATE: Batman just walked in. Fuck, I'm hungover.

As a newcomer to this famed festival, where the music industry puffs up its broad chest and struts around the Lonestar state capital for a nearly a week, I am admittedly floundering around in the chaos of it all. I spent 12 hours pacing the streets of downtown Austin yesterday, totally overwhelmed by all of the people and places and pairs of free sunglasses I was handed. I believe that number is seven by now.

As far as show highlights go, tUnE-yArDs definitely took the cake. Aside from the massive amounts of technical difficulties experienced (the venue was so unbelievably shitty), as well as the fact that it was the first show Merrill Garbus and co. had played in a very long time and there were a few sputtering starts, it was an excellent—though all too brief—showcase of some new material from w h o k i l l. And good lord, that record is amazing. Also, Garbus' haircut is still wonderfully asymmetrical and her voice fully capable of that skull-shattering crescendo. Be very excited for the April 28th show at Doug Fir.

Okay, that's all for now. I have to spend a fair amount of time nursing myself back to health before I spit back out into Thursday's high tide. Wish me luck.

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